Redirecting Focus - When out with your Beagle, be prepared in case he runs, even if you believe that you have taken precautions to keep him on leash. A treat that emits a dense scent may pull back a Beagle that is running. One slice of pre-cooked bacon, microwaved to a crisp and sealed in an air-tight plastic bag can quickly be taken out and used to urge a Beagle back if he escapes from leash and is taking off. Stoop down, hold out the treat and call your Beagle in an authoritative voice. Do not allow anger to show in your tone, however call out his name with confidence and authority.
NEVER scold your Beagle for coming back to you if he ran off. After all, he ran due to instinct but reigned that all in to listen to your command to return. While you may not be happy that he ran away, do give praise when he comes back to you, and do give him the treat .
Games and Activities
We can't take away a Beagle's instincts to sniff, chase and run… so we can allow a Beagle to follow through with those instincts in a controlled, safe way. An easy way to do this is to play a game of "Find". Anyone with a yard can play this with their Beagle; although the larger the yard, the more challenging the game can be.
You'll need to plan ahead by preparing something for your Beagle to "hunt down". The above mentioned bacon works well, although chicken or any healthy meat that when cooked also creates juices will work well.
If you choose to use chicken, boil a piece of white, deboned chicken in a small amount of water or bake it, while catching the juices. Spread just a LITTLE BIT of the juices on a dog toy
- Use a STURDY toy and do not smear much on it - the goal will be for your puppy
or dog to track it down, not to then find it and try to rip the toy apart! You can save the chicken meat to later add to your Beagle's next meal.
If you use bacon, you can gain enough grease from just 1 piece that is fried. That grease - when cooled down- can be smeared on a toy - remember that just a little bit goes a long way! A smudge just about the size of your fingerprint is all that is needed.
No matter which method you use to create a scent, keep some to the side that will be saved to give that scent to your Beagle, so that he knows what he is supposed to run after!
Hide the toy in the yard. The first time that you play, you may want to make this easy, but don’t be afraid to make this challenging. Stashing it in the nook of a low hanging branch or deep into a bush is just fine. Do not allow your Beagle to see you running outside to do this!
Once you are ready, put your Beagle on leash (off leash is fine if the yard is enclosed and you have checked the fencing for any weak spots).
Standing close to the door that leads to the outside area, dip the corner of a paper towel into the juice (or grease) and encourage your Beagle to sniff it. (He won't need much encouragement!) Open the door and command "find"…encouraging your Beagle to track the scent. Don't put too much concern on false trails… part of the fun for the Beagle is to find the trail and by trial and error, find the toy.
Doing this on a regular basis can allow a Beagle to satisfy his urges to chase while staying at home. Some worry that this might encourage a Beagle to run… to "remind" him about chasing after scents. However, we must remember that a Beagle needs no reminding! Those instincts are there whether or not you play this game. Therefore, when allow your dog to do this at home, he can then follow through with those instincts in a controlled, safe way.