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Command Training

Beagle Command Training

Beagle dog sitting
The Age to Begin Training

You can, and should begin command training your Beagle puppy from the day you bring your new family member home. This is usually at the age of 8 weeks old. Do keep in mind, that to bring your Beagle outside were there may be other dogs or to any other activities, it is best to wait until your puppy has had all of his "Puppy Shots". 

Command training is not just for young pups, there are many instances where an owner has an older Beagle. Never believe the expression that "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"...Because of course you can. 

With an older Beagle, that learned certain patterns before coming to live with you, he will need some time to adjust to the new surrounding, however a dog of any age can be taught many commands...It just needs to be done in the right way.

Tip: Choose a time for command training when your Beagle is in between meals and hungry. Training directly after a meal is not the best time...your dog will not be hungry and those treats that you offer for listening to commands will not mean so much!

The Most Important Element

An owner must understand that their dog has absolutely no idea what is expected. Your puppy does not know what sit, stay, come, roll over, heel or any other command means. Beagles are perfectly willing to listen, but cannot follow a command that they don't understand. It will be your job to show your Beagle in a patient way. It is unfair to become frustrated at a puppy for not understanding something that was never taught to him or for adults, taught in a proper way.

It will be your happy tone, your actions and proper training techniques that will allow your Beagle to learn in a fun way. Making command training enjoyable will encourage your dog to want to learn. Treats and your praise will prompt your pup or adult dog to keep coming back for more training.
That First Command to Fetch

One of the first commands that you should teach to your Beagle is "fetch". Due to the instinct of this breed to hunt, if you, as the puppy's owner, teach this command which your pup has such an inner desire to know, your puppy will be much more open to learning other commands also!

Let's discuss the importance of one of the first commands that you will teach your puppy:  To Fetch

1) Put a rather long leash on your dog and bring him or her outside.

2) Bring with you an object that your Beagle loves the most. This can be his favorite toy, etc.

3) Take the object and toss it a small distance from your dog.

4) Give the command, "Fetch," and allow your Beagle run after the toy - encourage this with happy, excited words.
Beagle fetching
5) Once he has it in his mouth, give the command to "Come"; however you must likely will need to gently pull your pup to you with the leash, since the "Come" command has not been taught yet. NOTE: This type of training may very well teach your dog 3 commands, if you are lucky: "Fetch, Come & Release"

6)  Once your dog is next to you, show him a yummy dog treat and give the command to "Release"

It is very important that you do not take the object from your Beagle. For this training to work the proper way, your dog must be the one to "Release" the object and willingly give it to you.
7)  If your dog seems reluctant to give up his favorite object to you, encourage this by waving the doggie treat excitingly, give the "Release command in a happy, up-beat tone and give great praise once he does so.

8) Once you are given the toy or it is dropped to the ground, act as if your dog just did the most wonderful thing in the entire world, give the dog treat immediately and then be sure to repeat the fetching. It is very important that your Beagle sees that giving you the object was only temporary and that he will be able to chase after it again.

9) Once your session is done, be sure to allow your dog to keep that object.

Continue to practice this over and over. Command training should be done each day for at least 20 minutes.  You will find that teaching your Beagle commands can be quite fun; you will be proud of your Beagle for learning so much... and your dog will gain self confidence. Eventually, your dog will understand and will begin fetching all kinds of things.
Training Elements to Keep in Mind

Due to centuries of breeding, the Beagle is already predisposed to listen to command and take lead from his owner. At the same time, Beagles can become easily distracted due to sights, scents and sounds that the breed instinctually pays attention to. For that reason:

1) Choose a good area to do your training. You'll want your Beagle to obey commands both inside the house and also when you are both outdoors. It's best to begin indoors where there are fewer distractions. 
Once he seems to be getting the gist, move to some outdoor command training as well. This is when he'll really build his skills.

2) Keep sessions just short enough so that your Beagle will not be tired of learning. End when things are going well and he'll be more apt to want to do some more the next day.

3) Nothing motivates a dog more than praise and treats. So, do stock up on the healthy rewards but remember that once a dog performs an action enough times it will become automatic and snacks will not be needed for him to listen to you.
See also:

Beagle won't stop digging - When a Beagle is tearing up the yard
Beagle Separation Anxiety - Helpful tips for when you have to leave your puppy or dog home alone.
Beagle keeps running away - Why this breed may try to escape and steps to stop this from happening.
Beagle is drooling a lot - Reasons why there may be excessive drooling. Treatments. 
How much a Beagle costs - Expected price range for Beagle puppies.
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