In this article, we will be discussing how to train a beagle to hunt. Beagles were originally bred to hunt and as such are instinctively very good at hunting.
Being hounds, they are active, energetic, and have the exceptional skills to track down scents. This makes them a perfect companion for hunting rabbits, squirrels, deer, and other small animals.
It is important to first train your beagle how to detect the scents of these animals, before training it to hunt them. It will be advantageous for both of you if you teach your beagle to hunt rabbits. First of all, it’s a great method for him to direct his energy toward something useful.
He will learn discipline from this kind of training, and he will grow up to be a well-mannered, obedient dog. It’s also a great method to develop a relationship with your new dog friend. Not to mention that it may greatly enhance your hunting outcomes.
At What Age Can I Start Training My Beagle?
Some trainers start to train beagle puppies as soon as they are weaned. Yet, the recommended age at which you can start training your dog is between 5 and 8 months old.
You’d have to start with obedience training so your dog learns to obey basic commands. If your dog tends to disobey your command while hunting, you can imagine how quickly things could go south.
Training Your Beagle To Detect Scent
Before you begin, you’d need some items such as rabbit decoys, scent spray and a few tasty treats to reinforce good behaviour. Make sure you have access to an open space like a yard or a local field for training.
Training should be for about 15 minutes a day and most importantly, you should be consistent as this is the only way to an assured outcome. You also need to be patient and optimistic throughout every training session. Now that you have everything you’d need, here’s how to about it.
Create a Decoy
You start by spraying rabbit scent on your decoy toys. You and your dog should spend a few minutes a day playing with the toys. After a while, you can leave them in your dog’s bed.
Create a Trail
You should then leave into a yard or an open space. Leave decoy toys along the path, creating a trail that leads to a hidden decoy toy. Gently guide your dog along the trail and teach it to use the scent to follow suit.
Take Your Dog to the Start of the Trail
Now fasten him to the leash and walk him to the trail’s beginning. He should follow the track, so point to the ground and nudge him in that direction. Pull him back on whenever he starts to get sidetracked. You must guarantee that he always reaches the conclusion and discovers the decoy. He needs to understand that if he keeps going, there will always be a reward in the end.
Give Your Dog Treats for Good Performance
When he does reach the trail’s conclusion, congratulate him aloud. You could even play with him for a few minutes while giving him some tantalizing prizes. He will be more willing to play again the happy he feels.
Switch Things Up
Every week, take him on a few scent trails. Then you may progressively increase their difficulty, and after a few weeks, you can start placing them in nearby fields. Keep rewarding him until he spontaneously begins to detect rabbits on his own.
How To Train A Beagle To Hunt
Once your dog is able to perfectly pick the scent of the rabbit, it is time to train it in the act of actual hunting. Here’s how;
1. Start with Obedience Training
As mentioned before, obedience training is fundamental to whatever relationship you’re going to have with your dog. before anything, you must teach your dog to trust you and obey such basic commands as ‘come’, ‘go’, ‘sit’, etc. These are fundamental in ensuring successful hunting.
Once your beagle pup is familiar with some basic instructions, teach him the “recall” command so that he will know when it’s time to go hunting. You must train your dog to come to you when called by using the recall command. To do that;
Get your dog’s attention and show him a treat when he is playing or chewing on anything. In order to receive his reward, he will run in your direction. Give him a treat (and click the clicker or use a motivating phrase like “good boy”) as he approaches you.
Add a word to action now. Give your beagle a goodie and call out “come back.” When he approaches you, acknowledge him and give him a treat. Stop offering treats after a few days and simply call out “come back.” Do this several times each day.
Till he is 5 to 6 months old, think about teaching your beagle various tricks and commands. By doing this, you and your dog will develop a deep friendship based on trust.
2. Use a Training Collar
With the aid of a training collar, you may converse with your beagle while out hunting. Modern collars now have GPS to help you find your dog. It is a walkie-talkie for you and your beagle, to put it simply. Simply put, they make hunting considerably safer and simpler.
A beagle may become distracted during the early stages of training by another small animal or scent. In such a circumstance, having a training collar on your dog will make it easier for you to find him. The market is filled with a variety of training collars. Get one that has a GPS and a walkie-talkie.
Once your beagle has learned to be obedient and obey you, it’s time to place a training collar on him and train him to obey you while wearing the collar. Here’s how to go about it:
- You’ll need an additional friend for this. Your dog should wear the collar, and you should keep him in a room with someone.
- While using a training collar to speak with your beagle while you are in another room.
- Give your beagle an order and watch to see whether it obeys. If he does, then let the other person treat him. Your beagle will learn to obey your commands even when you are not around thanks to this.
- Next, confine your beagle to a room by himself and “call” him from a different room. Reward him when he comes coming back to you.
- It’s time to move outside once he has mastered this indoors.
- When taking your beagle outside for training, ensure sure the space is contained and securely gated. Beagles have a reputation for bolting. In light of this, exercise particular caution when teaching your beagle outside.
Even when you are not around, your beagle must obey your commands over the training collar. Until you are certain that your beagle will obey your commands, do not let him out in the open without a leash.
3. Introduce an Animal
When your dog has mastered tracking scent, it’s time to add an animal scent. I’d advise starting with a trained rabbit. Wild rabbits can be a little too aggressive, and they can hurt your beagle puppy by scratching it.
Start the training in a gated area or in your backyard to prevent your dog and the rabbit from running away.
Beagle, feel free to sniff the bunny. Let your beagle sniff the rabbit while you are holding it in front of him. Don’t let your rabbit play with it or become acclimated to it. Simply allow him to sniff.
4. Let Your Beagle Chase the Animal
Once the pooch has had a good sniff, is time to urge him to chase the animal (rabbit) (rabbit).
- Tie your dog up so that he can see both you and the bunny.
- Let the bunny go
- Commence pursuing the bunny. Your beagle will want to join you if you do this. He will attempt to break the leash to express his joy.
- After he shows signs of excitement, let go of your dog and allow him to follow the rabbit.
- Make sure to compliment your dog while it chases the rabbit. Even you should try to join the hunt to capture the rabbit. This will encourage your beagle to run the rabbit down faster than you can.
It will take a few months of doing this for your beagle to become accustomed to the scent of the rabbit and start chasing it when he sees one.
Gradually widen the area so that the rabbit has room to hide and your dog can utilize scent to track and pursue the rabbit.
During these sessions, wear the collar and make an effort to communicate as much as you can. You two will become closer as a result of this.
5. Ready your Dog for Hunting
Your beagle puppy’s endurance will increase after several months of pursuing bunnies. Take your dog out for some practice hunting right now.
When you are positive that your beagle is safe to be left unattended in the outdoors, take him to an area where you know there will be plenty of rabbits and no other animals.
Keep an eye on your rabbit and encourage him to sniff out the aroma.
If at all feasible, let him run free with an older, more seasoned beagle. If your beagle is around an older beagle, he will pick things up more quickly. Ask your neighbour or inquire about the neighbourhood dog group.
Help him get acclimated to the sound of gunfire. Do this for about a week, then stop.
6. It’s Time to Hunt
In the beginning, be sure to take your beagle right to a location where it is simple to find a rabbit. Early in the morning or at dusk would be the best time for this. Your dog should be aware of his duties by this point. He will therefore detect the rabbit scent right away and begin looking for its source.
When he locates the rabbit, the pursuit will start. Rabbits frequently circle close to their houses. Don’t worry if your beagle starts after the rabbit since he will circle and you just need to be ready for him to return.
The beagle’s abilities will advance as he ages and gains experience. Your beagle needs about a year to become an expert hunter. If you enjoy this sport, it will all be worthwhile.
Things To Do And Things To Avoid
Establish trust: You must earn your beagle’s trust. The greatest method to develop it is through training and a rewarding system.
Take care not to overtrain your beagle: When you see that your beagle is becoming disinterested in what you are teaching him, stop and resume training the next day.
Be tolerant: Be persistent in your training and patient as it can take months to see results.
Don’t misunderstand them: One thing at a time, teach them. Avoid attempting to teach your beagle multiple things at once.
Below are some frequently asked questions and answers;
Can Beagles be easily trained?
Beagles are relatively difficult to train, compared to other dogs. This is because they can get easily distracted due to their inquisitive nature, stubbornness, and sharp sense of smell. With many odors distracting them all the time, it can be difficult for them to focus.
What do Beagles Hunt best?
When it comes to hunting skills, the Beagle is unquestionably top dog. The breed’s talent was developed over centuries of hunting gopher, rabbit, and small game. In the 1800s, the Beagle’s popularity began to dwindle as fox hunting became popular and the Foxhound stole the limelight.
How long does it take to train a Beagle?
All puppies are different, and the time it takes can vary from puppy to puppy. It can take as little as two weeks to house train your beagle if you are consistent and follow the necessary steps.
Can you train a 2 year old beagle to hunt?
Yes you can train a year old Beagle to hunt, especially if they are motivated to do it. However, it may take a little more time and patience to teach an older dog how to hunt rabbits for you, and as part of a team.
Can hunting beagles be house dogs?
Beagles can be both a family pet and a hunter’s assistant. In fact, it pays to keep your Beagle as part of the family to bond with the dog(s). This bond can help in the training for hunting and in the recall of the dog (which is a big issue for a scent hound that loves to trail).
When should I start training my beagle to hunt?
Usually, the best time to begin training your Beagle is when he is a puppy sometime between the ages of 5 to 8 months old seems to be a perfect time although some trainers begin as soon as the puppy is weaned. Most trainers agree that a pup should have some basic obedience training before beginning to hunt any game.
It takes time, perseverance, and training to get your beagle ready to hunt alongside you. A beagle needs about a year to effectively learn to hunt alongside you.
Additionally, be careful to review and abide by all local, state, and federal regulations pertaining to hunting and hunting with dogs.
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