Book First Walk Free!
The Root of the Behavior
Both names seem to make logical sense given the breed's distinctive "bark" during periods of excitement and particularly when on a hunt. History shows evidence of Beagle-like dogs in existence prior to the Roman invasion of England in 55 B.C. As such, it is considered an English dog. The Beagle is highly prized for his keen hunting ability, making him the ideal companion for Englishmen who enjoyed rabbit or fox hunting as a leisure activity. In earlier times, Beagles were particularly attractive as hunting dogs because of their ability to traverse vast amounts of terrain under their own steam. They were low maintenance dogs for their owners. Because of their gentle natures, they also got along well with other dogs and easily travelled and worked in large groups during a hunt. Though today Beagles are not limited solely to functioning as hunting dogs, they are still highly esteemed for their skill in scent detection though they are not categorized as scent hounds exclusively. The Beagle falls within the category of a "foot hound" which is indicative of their role on a hunt.
Encouraging the Behavior
It is well-known that Beagles love to eat, and their digestive systems are designed to process food differently from other dog breeds, resulting in the feeling of satiety taking longer to achieve. YOU are the source of food and all things good in your home, and your Beagle knows it. Wherever you are, the good stuff is going to be too, and he wants to get in on anything you might be offering. Sound a little mercenary? It is! But Beagles are incredibly food motivated and are intense and stubborn in their pursuit to acquire more of it. Of course, it is important to note that Beagles have been selectively bred through centuries of purposeful breeding to function in a pack of dogs who work in tandem with an owner on a hunt. Though Beagles can be prone to wandering off on their own, they rarely lose the connection to their owner entirely. In fact, if a Beagle ever manages to escape your yard, you are likely to find him a few feet from his escape hatch, sniffing something delicious or that smells like prey.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Communication with the Beagle's owner is critical and remaining with his pack a powerful and true instinct. The baying sound a Beagle makes when tracking prey served as an alert for the hunter, so while the hunter and his pack of dogs might become separated during the hunt, they were always readily connected via that distinctive Beagle call. A Beagle will wander if allowed to do so, but his instincts always draw him towards home. This is not a breed that craves independence, quite the opposite. Though many Beagles live in homes as pampered pets and no longer perform hunting responsibilities, the desire to fulfill this role still remains alive and well in them. For this reason, they may choose to stick nearby their "master" as this would be their proper place when out on a hunt. You may have no intentions of hunting and killing your very own Easter bunny, but Fido is ready and willing just in case you decide it's a good idea.
Dogs also respond exceptionally well to positive reinforcement, and Beagles do love to please. If you show delight every time your Beagle is near to you, he will quickly learn that this behavior leads to a positive response, and you will continue to see it time and time again. Fido might be sticking to you like glue simply because he loves you, and he can tell that you love him too. Equally possible is the fact that your dog is bored and looking to you for something fun to do. Dogs are creatures of habit, and if Fido knows that you always take him for a walk at a certain time of day, he just might be following you around as a reminder that it's getting close to the time when you need to lace up your shoes and grab his leash. Our dogs can become expert canine "naggers" indeed.