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House Training

House Training a Beagle

Preparing to House Train Your Beagle

The most important element for success in housebreaking your Beagle will be your consistency. For the fastest route to success, choose a method and stick with it...every day...every time...without fail.

When a dog is shown the same routine over and over, even the most stubborn dog will learn what is expected.

Your puppy (or adult dog that needs house training) will have no idea what is expected & will not know the difference between your yard or the living room floor...until you make it clear to him/her in an instructive & supportive way.
Reasonable Expectations

You may begin training when your Beagle puppy as soon as you bring him or her home, this will generally be at the 8 week mark. At this young age, it will be a slow yet steady process; not an overnight success! Owners should have reasonable expectations, take the Beagle outside frequently and reward them for any progress.

Training should be done by following these rules: A Beagle puppy can hold its needs for 1 hour per month of age, up to 8 hours maximum. Example: A 3 month puppy can hold its needs for approximately 3 hours. A full grown Beagle dog can usually hold its needs for up to 8 hours (no health issues permitting). 
cute 10 month old Beagle dog
Dusky, 10 months old
Photo courtesy of owner: Rena T.
How Often to Take Your Puppy (or Dog) Outside

If your Beagle is not taken outside at the proper times and not often enough, house training is doomed to fail. Unless your dog is older & you have a doggie door that your Beagle can use,  it will be up to you to "offer use of the bathroom" to your dog. Therefore, taking him or her outside on a regular schedule will be very important.

It is recommended that you take your dog outside:
  • Immediately after any confinement
  • When he/she first wakes up (from both overnight sleep and from naps) 
  • About 20 minutes before bedtime
  • 15 to 20 minutes after your Beagle eats
  • Anytime your Beagle makes a motion to go
  • Every 2 hours for a 2 month old, every 3 hours for a 3 month old, etc.
As your Beagle matures, you will allow for more time in between trips outside, to allow his/her bladder and bowel muscles to strengthen.
This is an important step to properly housebreaking a puppy... If he is taken out too often, he will never learn to hold his needs.  
Indoor VS Outdoor

The Beagle is not a breed that does well with indoor training at all. However, there are sometimes extenuating circumstances in which outdoor housebreaking will not be feasible. In most situations, it is not worth the time and effort to train a puppy to use pads indoors when within just a short amount of time (8 month old mark) the Beagle will be able to hold his needs for just around 8 hours. It is hard enough for a puppy to learn the outside potty training rules; trying to learn different rules for both outdoors and inside is just too much for most to handle.

For owners who need to leave for work, a Beagle at 8 months and older will often do just fine being taken out in the morning before you leave for work and then as soon as you arrive back home. 

Leaving pads in the corner of a nice, gated off area when a Beagle is home alone, allows the pup to possibly hit that mark (especially when it is placed far from toys,food and sleeping spot)... But do not worry too much about this. It is the outdoor training - when a Beagle urinates or eliminates in the designated area - that should be reinforced and rewarded. 
Let's Look at the 2 Methods for Outdoor Training

The main idea here is that you will need to choose a method of keeping your Beagle from going to the bathroom all over the house in between the times that you take him out. This, of course, will be for days/time that you are home with him.

The 2 methods are:

Umbilical Cord - You will fasten a 6 to 8 foot leash to your Beagle and the other end to you. In this way, your dog will have the freedom of walking around; however will always be close enough to you that you can easily see when he is about to urinate or eliminate. You will use this method to catch any potential "accidents"; while you bring your Beagle outside at all of the designated times.

Gate Method - Using indoor canine gates, set up an area for your Beagle that is easily accessible.  This will be where he stays when home alone. Until he is sleeping through the night and fully trained, he should sleep in his indoor area as well.  If you will be setting up this spot in a carpeted room, you can obtain a piece of linoleum from a home supply store to use as a base so that flooring is not ruined.
small Beagle pup
Google, 11 months old
Photo courtesy of owner: Abhay Rana
When you are home and busy, you can keep the entrance closed. When you are keeping an eye on your Beagle, you can leave the entrance open so that he can come and go as he wishes. It's good if a puppy gets used to this area and sees it as a fun place with great toys and a nice place to rest. If he is only put there when you are leaving the house, he will associate it with an unpleasant event as opposed to seeing it as his own, comfortable retreat.  Interpreting it as a negative thing only exasperates any separation anxiety issues. 

Tip: If you just brought home an older Beagle, do not rely on any previous house training. You may not know the dog's "signals" for having to go outside. In addition, your new dog will not know the area you wish for him to use and will need to be trained to follow your schedule.
Helpful Hints

Your Beagle can be trained to go in any area you choose, within a matter of several weeks, he should be doing well. Here are some tips to help things go smoothly:

1) You must carefully choose the designated bathroom area. Simply 'outside' will not be sufficient. For example, your dog will become very confused if led out to the front yard one day, and the back yard the next. It's best to choose a specific area. This should be a location that will be easy to go to no matter what the weather (remember this if you are training your Beagle puppy in the spring since that spot might normally get buried under a foot of snow in the winter). 
This also should not be a spot that is normally used for the dog to play or for any other activity by either pets or humans. For example, not close to a barbecue area. 

2) While you will choose the bathroom area, allow your Beagle puppy to pick the perfect spot within that area. Stand (or sit in an outdoor chair) in the middle of it and allow your dog to sniff around and decide exactly where he's like to go. When a dog has a choice in the matter, he does much better.
3) If you'll be heading out to take your Beagle for a walk, bring him to his bathroom area before you leave. If you don't and he relieves himself along the way, this is a missed opportunity for a potty training lesson.
4) When your Beagle is very young, you may need to pick up your dog to quickly bring him outside. The bladder and bowel muscles are not fully developed and it is difficult for a little pup to "hold on" while you find the leash, put on your shoes, etc.

Be ready to pick him up and gently put him down in the designated area outside at a moment's notice. In this way, you will not feel frustrated with any accidents and your Beagle will gain the self confidence of knowing that he did "Good". 
5) Stay outside long enough. It can take a dog up to 10 minutes to pee and up to 15 or even 20 minutes to have a bowel movement. If you are not dressed right for the weather or if you forgot your phone inside, you may lose your patience and come in before your Beagle has had a chance to not only choose his spot to eliminate but also to relax his bowel and bladder muscles.
6) If your puppy seems to always pee right after you get back into the house, this can easily be fixed. Wait the 10 minutes or so and if nothing happens outside, bring him back inside, but hold him on your lap. He will be hesitant to have an "accident" on you! Then, in 5-10 minutes, go back outside again. 

7) Don't grow tired of offering praise. Some owners show tons of excitement during the first week or so of house training, but that seems to get less and less as the days go by. Puppies really need to hear your super excited words and enthusiastic praise to put effort into being fully housebroken. And it is best to remind adult dogs that they are doing well. 
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