How to Train Your Beagle Dog to Not Bark

How to Train Your Beagle Dog to Not Bark
Hard difficulty iconHard
Time icon1-4 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

Your Beagle is a character and no mistake, there's nothing half-hearted or mealy-mouthed about these furry individuals. One of the many things you love about your Beagle is how he embraces life and throws himself headlong into situations without a care in the world. 

Unfortunately, this can also mean he barks at the drop of a hat (literally) , which is made all the worse because he loves the sound of his own voice. Sometimes it sounds like you have a crazed hound trapped in the house, which doesn't endear you any to the neighbors. 

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Defining Tasks

Being vocal is a big part of the Beagle character. While you don't want to crush his spirit, it is important that the dog's barking is kept under control so that he doesn't become an antisocial canine citizen. 

This can be done with a little savvy training and the help of food to reward silence.  

At the outset know you are waging an uphill battle against Mother Nature, but with consistent instruction, patience, and repitition you will succeed and silence will reign.

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Getting Started

You are going to need a bucket load of patience in order to quiet down a Beagle! However, while this is a hard task it's not impossible. You can also help yourself by avoiding triggers to barking such as yelling at the dog to be quiet or giving him an unrestricted view of the street. 

Fortunately, you need very little equipment to teach a Beagle to stop barking. Most of the skill is in timing and motivation. Here's what you'll need: 

  • Pea-sized tasty treats
  • A treat pouch for easy access to those rewards
  • A cafe curtain or frost glass effect sticker
  • A collar and leash
  • A rolled up newspaper, a cardboard box, and sticky tape

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The Prevent Boredom Barking Method

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Understand the idea

Beagles are notorious barkers and howlers. They love the sound of their own voice and need very little excuse to launch into a Beagle song. A bored Beagle is doubly likely to 'sing' as a means of entertaining themselves (plus there's no distraction to stop them from barking) so preventing boredom is key to a quiet household.

2

Pleasantly tired

An active Beagle is a happy Beagle (and a quiet one). Be sure to give your dog adequate exercise. Since the Beagle is a breed bred to run all day, you are going to need to have plenty of stamina...or else teach the dog to play fetch or catch so they do three times the distance you do. Take the dog out two or three times a day and exercise them to the point of being pleasantly tired.

3

A chewing outlet

A Beagle isn't bothered whether they exercise their mouth by barking or chewing. The clever thing is to provide your eager Beagle with a lasting chew toy so that he can settle down in silence rather than barking. Never leave a dog unattended with rawhide or other chews as they pose a choking risk.

4

Puzzle feeders

Provide vital mental stimulation by using puzzle feeders. Beagles are greedy dogs and will magic food out of a bowl in seconds. Extend their mealtimes by using puzzle feeders so the dog has to work out how to access his food. This alleviates boredom and makes for one less reason to need to bark

5

Toys and puzzles

Other boredom busters include leaving the dog with toys and puzzles. Since Beagles are food -motivated, try tricks such as enclosing some biscuits inside a rolled up newspaper and taping it together. The dog will then expend happy energy chewing his way to the goodies. Another good idea is to put treats inside a sturdy cardboard box and tape it closed, so again the dog has to chew their way to the reward...and then settles down to a satisfied sleep afterward.

The Eliminate Cues Method

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Understand the idea

Barking is like breathing to the Beagle... something they don't think about before doing. Certain triggers are almost guaranteed to launch your Beagley pal into a volley of barking, so be sure to take steps to remove those triggers and peace will reign.

2

People passing the window

A Beagle will bark at people passing by. This is self-rewarding behavior as the dog perceives that his bark made the people pass on by. Short circuit this whole noisy charade by restricitng the dog's view of the window. This can mean placing furniture so that he can't sit on the window ledge, or using cafe-style half curtains or stick-on frosted glass to obscure the view.

3

Don't leave the dog in the yard

Avoid leaving your Beagle unattended in the yard for hours on end. He will quickly become bored and people walking past give him the ideal outlet for energy as he barks at them.

4

Don't shout at the dog to sttop

Tempting as it is, don't shout at the dog to be quiet. Bizarrely, this rewards the dog with attention (much like publicity, any attention is good attention in a dog's mind) and ramps up the excitement. In fact many dogs interpret this as you trying to bark along with them, which only makes them more likely to bark. Instead, ignore the barking or briefly acknowledge it with an "OK Buddy, thank you for telling me there's someone at the door."

5

Give the dog an alternative action

Prepare for that barking by teaching the dog an action, such as fetching a toy or going to lie on a mat. Most dogs will quiet down when they have another activity to do.

The Teach 'Quiet' Method

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Understand the idea

By teaching the dog to bark (!) you can teach the opposite command of 'quiet'. This enables you to put "not barking" on cue as a behavior that gets rewarded, which makes it attractive for the dog to offer.

2

Teach the 'bark' command

First. put barking on command. Work out a way of triggering the dog to bark. Try using your fist behind your back, to knock on a door or wall. When the dog barks, praise him and say "Bark" in a happy, enthusiastic voice. Reward him with a small treat.

3

Practice 'bark'

Keep practicing. After several repetitions, say "Bark" ahead of knocking on the door. If the dog obliges, give him lots of praise and a reward. Keep working on this until the dog is reliably barking on command.

4

Now teach 'quiet'

Have the dog bark. While he's eating his reward, he's silent. Say the word "Quiet" and when he's finished chewing, gently hold his mouth closed, and repeat the word "Quiet". Then give him another treat. Repeat.

5

Alternate 'bark' with 'quiet'

Keep working on both commands alternately. Eventually, "Quiet" will become so ingrained that you can use it to silence the dog when barking for other reasons.

By Pippa Elliott

Published: 12/12/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Sonic

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Pomeranian

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Five Years

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Are bark collars an effective way also to help train dogs to not bark at unwanted times?

July 14, 2022

Sonic's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello, Depending on the type of bark collar, they can be an effective way to enforce pup not barking, especially when you aren't present to enforce it yourself, but pup still needs to be taught not to bark and how to be quiet while you are there to teach and enforce. The bark collar just helps you be consistent about reminding pup not to bark while you are away or right there. If you use the bark collar on its own without prior training, some dogs will make the connection between their barking and the correction - like a dog who barks just for the fun of barking without an external trigger, but other dogs will assume the correction is connected to whatever they are barking at - like that noise upstairs or dog out the window, and assume the other dog or noise is what causes the correction rather than their own barking, which can make the reactivity worse. For example, if pup is barking out the window at something, first you would teach pup the Quiet command, then you would practice pup getting Quiet when they start barking at the window, you would then also work up to rewarding pup for staying quiet for longer and longer, then rewarding just when pup doesn't bark at all when something goes past the window, desensitizing pup to things out the window. After pup learns the Quiet command and is barking a bit less, if you wanted to use a bark collar, you would use the collar to correct pup when you tell then Quiet and they don't immediately stop the barking - so the correction is clearly related to them disobeying your quiet command. Once pup understands that the new rule is no barking, has the skills not to bark through practicing the desensitizing with treats, and knows that the bark collar correction is connected to pup not being quiet, then when pup is corrected with the bark collar when you are out of the room or away at work, pup is able to respond correctly to the bark collar by not barking, instead of assuming the correction is just because a dog went past the window. Bark collars tend to work best for dogs who bark because they find the barking itself rewarding, or who start barking and have a hard time stopping because they have worked themselves up so much - the barking serves as an interrupter right when they start so they don't escalade it, or for dogs who are barking to demand something - in which case you also need to teach them a better way to ask, like sitting to ask. The collar makes the barking no longer rewarding, and it works best when combined with rewards for quietness, like treats during practice or giving pup a dog food stuffed kong to reward pup's quietness while you away, so quietness becomes preferred also. I find that stimulation based bark collars are much more effective than citronella also. Citronella is very harsh for a dog's sensitive nose and the smell lingers a long time, so the lingering smell can continue to correct pup even after pup stops barking - making the training confusing. With any corrective device, you want the correction to stop right when the behavior stops, so pup makes that association between unwanted behavior and correction, and stopping the unwanted behavior and the correction going away. Always use the lowest level of stimulation that's effective and use only high quality brands. This is not an area to go cheap!! Cheap bark collars that aren't made by reputable companies can be associated with burns, inconsistent corrections, breaking quickly, or corrective levels that are too harsh or too low. Some well known brands include SportDog, Dogtra, Garmin, and E-collar technologies. These are not the only options, but do your research before purchasing (external review sites, not reviews that can be faked the sales page), to ensure you are getting a genuine and safe model. Give breaks wearing the collar and take it off at night, to avoid it starting to chafe pup's neck. If the barking is boredom based, an automatic treat dispenser or dog food stuffed kong can also reward quietness to enforce pup not barking while you are away. By combining the bark collar with one of those you are giving pup a choice - bark and get corrected or stay quiet and be rewarded - making the training less stressful than don't bark or else, without giving an alternative. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

July 15, 2022

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Copper

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Beagle

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3 Months

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My beagle barks and loves to bark at the cats and chase them! He also barks a lot when our family is sitting down to eat. How do I get him to stop this behavior?

June 9, 2022

Copper's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Kassandra, For the barking, check out the article I have linked below and the Quiet method and Desensitize method.https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Also, check out this video series of videos on desensitizing a dog to various things they bark at. For the cats I would use the training in the videos where the dog is barking at other dogs, working with your cats being around instead of another dog being around during practice. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a For the cat chasing: Check out the videos linked below for teaching calmness around cats. Mild cat issue - teaching impulse control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWF2Ohik8iM Moderate cat issue - teaching impulse control using corrections and rewards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPIC3Jtn0E Work on impulse control in general with pup, by teaching things that increase impulse control and calmness - such as a long Place command around lots of distractions. Practicing the command until you get to the point where pup will stay on Place while you are working with the kitty in the same room. I recommend also back tying pup while they are on place - safely connecting a long leash attached to pup to something near the Place just in case pup were to try to get off Place before you could intervene. Make sure what the leash is secured to, the leash itself, and pup's collar or harness are secure and not likely to break or slip off. This keeps kitty safe while practicing and reinforces to pup that they can't get off the Place. The leash should be long enough that pup doesn't feel the leash while they are obediently staying on the Place because it has some slack in the leash. You want pup to learn to stay due to obedience and self-control, and the leash just be back up for safety. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Below are some other commands in general you can practice to help pup develop better impulse skill/self-control - impulse control takes practice for a dog to gain the ability to control herself. Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 9, 2022


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