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Biting

Beagle Biting

Overview

Your Beagle may seem out of control, however biting, nipping and chewing problems are issues that can be resolved. It is just a matter of:
  • Identifying the cause
  • Implementing proper training or taking proper actions to resolve it
There are several reason why a Beagle may bite:
  • Teething
  • "Play" biting, learned while with littermates
  • Separation Anxiety biting
  • Aggressive biting
  • As a method of testing to see who is in charge

From Your Beagle's Point of View

If looked at from your dog's point of view, they have valid reasons for biting. These are either instinctual reasons or learned behavior. Even with aggressive biting, a dog needs their owner to show them correct and incorrect behavior. Aggressive biting is actually generally caused by the dog's insecurities. Teaching self-confidence will resolve this. In every instance of biting (Except for very rare cases of extreme aggression) a Beagle will want to please their owner/s and will stop biting when properly trained.

Teething

Teething can be a very frustrating time for both owner and Beagle. This phase will generally occur from 4 to 8 months old, however do keep in mind that some puppies will be early or late "bloomers". When your puppy is teething, all they can focus on is "what can I chew on to relieve my discomfort?". Therefore, if your Beagle puppy is biting you, during the teething phase, this is not an intentional bite.
teething Beagle puppy
Proper teething toys (at the proper temperature) will greatly help with this time. However, even if you have the correct puppy teething toys, your Beagle needs to be taught to use them. A puppy teething toy is of no use if your Beagle is happy chewing on your sofa or your hand!

If your puppy nips or bites at you (or rather tries to chew) when teething, it can help to clap your hands once, loudly, to get his attention, give the "No" command in a firm tone (no yelling) and then to offer a toy. 
Since your pup cannot learn what he is not taught, by replacing your clothes, foot, hand, etc with a toy, you are showing your Beagle what he did wrong and then, importantly, showing him what he is allowed to chew on. 

Cold objects will be of great help to a pup that is teething. It numbs the gums and keep the discomfort level down. Offering an ice cube often helps, especially if you have linoleum floor on which your puppy can chase after the sliding ice.

In this way, he is keeping busy with play and at the same time, the cold ice cube will ease their sore gums. If you wish to add a bit of flavor, just mix some low-sodium chicken broth with water and freeze this solution in ice cube trays. A few hours later, you will have a yummy teething treat for your little one.

Play Biting

When puppies are young, in the first 8 weeks while they are still with their brothers & sisters, quite a lot of play biting is taking place. It is during this time, that a Beagle is learning some very valuable lessons. As the puppy's littermates are constantly romping around and biting, a puppy is learning when a bite is too rough. Whenever a pup bites down too hard, its littermate will let out a loud "Yelp". This is followed by a brief period of the bitten pup ignoring the biter.

When a Beagle puppy is no longer with its litttermates and is at his or her new home, gone is the immediate flag that biting is done too roughly. It is at this time that an owner must take charge. If you have a Beagle puppy who bites you, it will be up to you to show your pup when biting gets out of control or is done too often.

Tip: When with its litter mates, a puppy learns that they are biting too hard when another pup lets out a loud "yelp" and then withdraws from play. If your Beagle puppy is biting you too hard during play, you can train them to stop doing so by mimicking the response that they are used to... let out a rather loud "Ouch" and withdraw from playing for a minute or so.  Backing away from interaction shows that zero attention will be gained when biting is involved.

Separation Anxiety

Many owners are baffled when their puppy or dog bites at their ankles or feet as they are trying to leave the home. At first, this appears as an aggressive biting and some owners wonder if their Beagle is angry that the owner is leaving the house. However, this is not the case. When a pup shows this type of behavior, it is due to Separation Anxiety. 

The puppy is trying to say, "Don't leave me!". Therefore, training for Separation Anxiety will also fix the problem of nipping or biting in these circumstances.

Aggressive Biting

This is not an aggressive breed and therefore it is very rare for a Beagle to act out with purposeful biting. With this said, there are some exceptions. There are 2 types of biting which are in the category of aggressive biting:
  • Biting in response to unfamiliar stimuli
  • True aggressive biting due to an instinct of self-protection or territorial protection
Unfamiliar Stimuli - When you bring a Beagle into your home, everything is new. Not only is your home a new environment that the pup must get used to...but also the whole world is filled with new stimuli.

People, animals, cars, birds...any element in the "outside world" will be new to a puppy. It is during this type of exploration of its "new world" that a puppy must be shown how to properly react to these elements. It will be the slow & steady introduction to the "world" that will be the opportunity to train your Beagle how to behave and that biting is not acceptable.

True Aggressive Biting - The Beagle is normally a very happy-to-lucky, friendly dog. It is very rare for a Beagle to be overly aggressive. Therefore, if this breed becomes very aggressive there is a strong possibility that it is due to a health issue. When a dog is in pain, the # 1 sign will be aggression and this included biting, snapping and growling. 

There will usually be other signs as well, such as withdrawing (the dog will tend to retreat to its pen, dog bed or other), lack of appetite and other symptoms depending on the exact cause of the injury or illness.

In these cases, the dog should be taken for a full and complete medical checkup to rule out any health issues. Only once that dog is deemed to be 100% healthy, should specific training be given for severe aggression.

Severe dog aggression (not due to health issues) will either be caused by:
  • Lack of proper socialization
  • The status of the Alpha Dog is not clear. This can happen in homes with only 1 dog. All dogs, of any breed, have a deep instinctual need to be in a "pack". For dogs in both single and multiple dog homes, the order of the pack must be established. This relieves stress that dogs feel when this boundary is not clear & great helps with behavioral problems.
True Aggressive Biting - The Beagle is normally a very happy-to-lucky, friendly dog. It is very rare for a Beagle to be overly aggressive. Therefore, if this breed becomes very aggressive there is a strong possibility that it is due to a health issue. When a dog is in pain, the # 1 sign will be aggression and this included biting, snapping and growling. There will usually be other signs as well, such as withdrawing (the dog will tend to retreat to its crate, dog bed or other), lack of appetite and other symptoms depending on the exact cause of the injury or illness.

In these cases, the dog should be taken for a full and complete medical checkup to rule out any health issues. Only once that dog is deemed to be 100% healthy, should specific training be given for severe aggression.

Severe dog aggression (not due to health issues) will either be caused by:
  • Lack of proper socialization
  • The status of the Alpha Dog is not clear. This can happen in homes with only 1 dog. All dogs, of any breed, have a deep instinctual need to be in a "pack". For dogs in both single and multiple dog homes, the order of the pack must be established. This relieves stress that dogs feel when this boundary is not clear & great helps with behavioral problems.
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