Ask a Vet

Can You Let A Beagle Off The Lead?

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There is nothing impossible to him who will try – Alexander the Great 

It’s a popular misconception that you can’t let a beagle off the lead while you’re out exploring the big wide world together. You can let a beagle off the lead, but whether or not he’ll come back when you call him is another matter altogether.

It’s not that he won’t want to come back when he hears you calling his name; he almost certainly will, but if he picks up an interesting scent, his biological programming will take over, and he’ll follow it, regardless of where it leads him and how long it takes him to track it down. 

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The problem with beagles, recall, and off-leash training, is that their nose can, and often does, get in the way of their ability to follow even the most basic instructions. He can’t help it; he’s just following his instincts and doing what he was bred to do, following a scent to the bitter end.

Beagles were bred to be hunters; they were born to track their prey, and their brains are hard-wired to block everything else around them out, ignore every possible distraction, and just focus on whatever the scent that has made them revert to type is. It makes them stubborn, single-minded, and incredibly good at what they do. 

But even though it’s difficult to train a beagle to walk off-lead, it isn’t impossible. It can be done, it just takes a lot of patience and time, and your training program will have to revolve around the one thing that beagles love more than anything else in the world, food.

A reward-based training system, in which you reward your beagle every time he does what you ask him to, is the only way that you’ll ever successfully be able to train him to walk off lead, and even then, it isn’t guaranteed to work. 

Let’s assume that it will, though, and that your beagle isn’t purely driven by instinct and that his innate love of food is enough to overcome his biological programming. Armed with that assumption, it’s important to reward your beagle with a tasty treat every time he listens and does exactly what you tell him to.

Start small, get him used to the idea that he’ll get something nice to eat when he’s a good boy by teaching him to sit on command, walk to heel around the house and stop when you ask him to. Beagles are bright, intelligent, and inquisitive dogs, and he’ll soon learn that if listens and does as he’s asked, he’ll get a treat. 

When you’re confident that he’s mastered the basic commands, you can begin to teach him to walk off-leash outside by practicing everything that he’ll need to know in an enclosed, outdoor area that he can’t wander off from.

Then when you’re ready, start taking him for walks using an extendable dog leash which will let him have enough space and put enough distance between both of you so that you can practice and perfect all of the commands that he’ll need to know in order to be able to trot next to you, free of the leash and ignore everything else that might otherwise attract him and remain focused on you and his rewards for being a good boy. 

Only when you’re sure that he will listen and will return, even if he’s discovered the most interesting scent of his life, can you then start letting him off the leash. There is no time frame, and it’ll take your beagle as long as it takes him to master the command system that you use, but if you do want him to walk off-leash, be patient, as he’ll get there in the end. It’ll just take time and a lot of treats to make sure that he knows that you are more important than whatever it is that his nose is telling him to do.

Can You Train A Hound To Walk Off Leash?

Can you let a beagle off the lead

No dogs are impossible to train, but some dogs are more difficult to train to walk off-leash than others are, and hounds are some of the most difficult dogs of all to train. While they’re loveable, loyal and devoted house dogs, as soon as they’re out in the big, bad world, their breeding kicks in, and everything they do is centered on their nose and where it’s going to lead them next. 

The trick to training a hound to walk off-leash is reward-based training. He needs to learn to overcome his instincts and focus on you rather than his instincts, and the most direct and straightforward way to do that is with a program of treat-based training. Every time he listens and does what you want him to, he gets a reward, and every time he doesn’t listen, he doesn’t get a reward.

The power of the treats should eventually be enough to help him overcome his innate stubborn nature and learn to walk off-leash successfully. It will take time and a lot of dedication and patience, but eventually, he’ll get there with a lot of help from you and his favorite treats. 

Can You Train A Beagle Not To Run Away? 

It’s time that we cleared something up – it’s not that your beagle wants to run away, he doesn’t, but when he falls victim to his nose and his breeding, he can’t help himself and he’ll follow whatever intriguing smell has caught his attention until he either loses the scent or he finds what he’s looking for. 

Can you stop him from running away? Absolutely, but you need to start training him using a treat-based reward system as soon as possible. 

It’ll be a slow and arduous process, but as long as you reward him every time he does what he’s supposed to instead of what his nose tells him he “should,” eventually you’ll be able to curb his impulses, and the urge to follow his nose and run will be overcome by his desire to stay with you and enjoy his treats. 

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.