How to Train Your Beagle Dog to Stop Biting

Medium
7-21 Days
Behavior

Introduction

There is arguably nothing quite so sweet as a Beagle puppy...those big floppy ears, the big brown eyes...and everything they do is cute. When he was little, it seemed cute when the puppy attacked your hand. His lips were soft and his whiskers bristly, and it was funny that this little scrap was bold enough to take you on. Besides, which, those bites didn't really hurt, just scratches really.

Only now he's grown into an adult dog and those play bites aren't quite so funny. In fact, they hurt. Clearly, he isn't being malicious, the tail wags and he seems generally delighted by the game, but you don't find it amusing anymore. You've tried pulling your hand away, shouting, and even resorted to smacking, but all that happens is he gets more excited and ramps up the fun. 

What to do? 

Defining Tasks

Biting behavior, whether in fun or something more serious, should never be tolerated. But, this doesn't mean punishing the dog (which is liable to increase tension and make matters worse). Instead, it's important to know the appropriate way to react so that the dog calms down or redirects his mouth to a more appropriate object, such as a toy. 

Ideally, start by teaching bite inhibition to a puppy. This can require you to use techniques such as timeout out or redirecting play onto a toy. An adult dog, with the potential to do harm, is a more serious prospect to deal with. Consider the suggestions below, but also know that for safety's sake it may be necessary to consult a certified behaviorist and have a safe strategy put in place. 

Getting Started

Teaching a Beagle not to bite is mostly a matter of how you react and timing, rather than special equipment. However, you will find the following training aids a great help.

  •  Pea-sized training treats
  • A treat pouch or bag, for easy access while retraining
  • A tug toy
  • Balls or toys to play fetch with. 

The Teach Bite Inhibition Method

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Step
1
Understand the idea
Puppies learn acceptable behavior from the reaction of their littermates. When playing rough and tumble games, if a puppy bites, his playmate will squeal, sending out the message that the nip was too hard. Next time the puppy plays using a softer mouth, having learned 'bite inhibition'. This can also be taught by an owner to their dog, in order to have a puppy (or dog) that isn't mouthy.
Step
2
Help the puppy understand
Your Beagle needs to learn that teeth against human skin hurt, and that it's not appropriate behavior. Play with your dog, but if he bites your hand, let out a high-pitched squeal and let your arm go limp. The dog should look startled and stop in his tracks. Your squeal has told the dog in a language he understands that the bite was too hard.
Step
3
And if he doesn't back off...
However, if the Beagle doesn't get the message say "Too bad" in a stern voice and withdraw from the game.
Step
4
Practice and praise the pup
Let's say the pup bit, you squealed, and he backed down. Now praise him and give a small reward. Then continue the game. What you are subtly doing is rewarding the good (non-nipping) play, which makes the dog more likely to repeat it.
Step
5
Time out
If the dog is slow to catch on or gets over-excited by the squealing, the next option is to withdraw attention and institute "Time out." This is a matter of ending the game, folding your arms, and ignoring the dog when he bites, you yelp, and he carries on. If the dog continues to throw himself at you, for the worst offenders, you may need to leave the room. Again, the message the dog receives is that the game ends if he plays rough...and since Beagles love play and fun, he won't want the game to end.
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The What NOT To Do Method

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Step
1
Don't ignore biting
Never be brave and tolerate biting. If you let the dog bite, even in play, he won't understand that human skin is fragile. Instead he'll think you aren't feeling anything and may nip even harder next time. Always take appropriate action, such as squealing or time out, so that he gets the message.
Step
2
Do NOT attempt to manage an aggressive dog yourself
Rare as a truly aggressive dog is, you should never try to manage the problem by yourself. There's a good chance you may make the issue worse, which could be dangerous. Instead, seek help from a certified animal behaviorist, who will assess the dog's triggers and put a plan of action in place to keep everyone safe.
Step
3
Do NOT jerk your hand away
Short, sharp movements, such as jerking your arm away, may be mistaken by the dog for play. Reacting with a jerk may accidentally encourage the dog to bite, rather than deter him. Instead, be sure to let your arm and hand go limp, or slowly fold your arms putting your hands out of sight.
Step
4
Do not strike or hit the dog
Physical punishment when he bites may excite the dog further or make him fearful of you. Since anxiety is a common cause of biting, this is liable to make the situation far worse.
Step
5
Don't encourage him to play with your hands and feet
It sounds obvious, but it's easy to overlook: don't actively encourage the dog to view your limbs as toys. If he shows interest in chasing your feet, stand still and produce a toy from your pocket to distract him. By doing this, it discourages teeth from contacting skin.
Step
6
Do give an outlet for chewing
And last but not least, give your dog plenty of opportunities to chew, since this satisifies a deep-seated need to exercise the teeth and jaws. By expending energy in a healthy way, the dog is less likely to nip things he shouldn't, such as your hands.
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The Redirect the Bite Method

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Step
1
Understand the idea
It is a rare Beagle that is truly aggressive. Instead, it's more likely his bite is inappropriate play behavior. Indeed, Beagles are dogs that love to mouthing objects and holding something in their mouth. This method focuses on redirecting biting behavior onto a toy or something more appropriate than your skin.
Step
2
Substitute a toy
If your Beagley-friend wants to play and nips at your hands, distract him with a toy. Wiggle the toy so that it moves, which instantly makes it more interesting to the dog. At the same time, hold still the hand that has the dog's attention, which makes it less enticing as a toy. When the dog switches his attention to the toy, praise him and engage in an active game of fetch or tug as a further reward.
Step
3
Encourage non-contact play
If your dog keeps making lunges for your hands then desist from games that involve direct touch, and play fetch or tug. Keep a tug toy in your pocket, and then when the dog shows signs of being mouthy, redirect his energy to the toy. Eventually, the dog will look for a toy to latch onto and will leave your hands alone.
Step
4
Teach self-control
Basic obedience training such as 'sit', 'stay', and 'look', can save the day. By teaching these commands the dog learns to listen and focus on you.To do this he must control impulsive behavior, such as biting, hence giving him time to calm down.
Step
5
Provide opportunities to play with other dogs
If your dog gets over-excited but isn't aggressive, then giving the dog the opportunity to play with others can give him feedback of the canine-kind to help him understand his bite is unwanted. However, if the bites are aggressive, then this option is not appropriate and instead you should seek the advice of a professional dog behaviorist.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Kasper
Beagle
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Kasper
Beagle
2 Months

My dog bites very much

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mahi, check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. At the same time however, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. The order or all of this is very important - the bite inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite When pup gets especially wound up, he probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help him calm down and rest. Also, know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep at it. Commands that increase self-control in general and teach pup calmness are also good things to teach, such as Down, Place, Sit, Heel, Leave It, ect... Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Tami
Beagle
3 Months
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Question
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Tami
Beagle
3 Months

Our 3 month old Beagle is a male who loves to bite everything and everyone. Obviously he is excited and thinks it is play time but I do not want this behavior to be considered acceptable. We have tried the loud yelping but that just seems to get him more excited. We have tried giving him an alternative toy to bite instead but for some reason he loves our toes hands. I realize that his teeth are breaking the gums but we are desperate for any tips to help our little one.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
133 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is some information on nipping that is an extension of what you are already doing. If the below ideas don't seem to help within about a week or so, you can start to completely remove yourself from the room when the nipping starts. Because it is often a form of play, when you remove the one item they want (you!) from the area, they quickly learn to stop. No touching or pushing the dog away... that is typically the response they are looking for eventhough it's a "negative" reaction. You get up, no eye contact, and go to a location where your dog can't reach you. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Question
Andi
Beagle
15 Weeks
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Question
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Andi
Beagle
15 Weeks

When Andi doesn't get his way and is redirected he tends to do go back to doing things he's not suppose to do. Which will result in me picking him up (I do this only if he doesn't listen after the third time) in which he will growl even more aggressively and try to bite me. I have tried screaming ouch when he bites me as it also breaks my skin and causes me to bleed. This tends to happen when he rushes up to people and we don't allow him to be touch because he's being very vocal and growling or when he's eating things he's not suppose to or nipping too harshly. I've even try saying no firming and he will still not stop. Worst case scenario I normally use my hand to close his mouth and will do a single shake left to right, saying "no bite Andi" and will release right after. Sometimes this will calm him down and he will stop and other times he will be more aggressive to bite me harder.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
133 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am sending you some information on nipping/biting. If you adapt the methods and the mindset below, that should also help with the acting out that he is doing as well. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Question
Bella
Beagle
7 Months
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Question
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Bella
Beagle
7 Months

Why is my dog biteing I just got him at the age of 7months what can I do to help him not bite he dose not bite a lot he only did this today July.10.2020 and if he stops I get to keep him plz help me he only bites when we try to grab him u know how they jump on u when we grab his hands he try’s to bite plz help thanks

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
133 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is some information on nipping/biting Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Question
Benji
Beagle
1 Month
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Benji
Beagle
1 Month

my puppy is 41 days old and we have no access to the mother so puppy bite inhibition isn't established.
He doesn't let go of my hand,doesn't respond to yelps. I thought he was responding well to timeouts until he bit me really hard and my hand started bleeding.
I don't jerk myhhand or anything. i don't know what to do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sohan, At this age there is going to be some biting either way, pup is still just gaining control of his mouth and isn't ready to make instant progress with some more formal training in this area - that doesn't mean that you shouldn't keep working at it, just know that it is going to take longer to see progress because part of this is developmental. Pup only has so much control over their muscles right now. Check out the Bite inhibition method from the article linked below. Know that pup probably won't respond great right away, it's going to take a couple of weeks for pup to start to have enough control to respond, but it's still important to continue the training because it can pay off in huge ways with ongoing work. Bit Inhibition method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite When puppy is over 8 weeks, you can also start teaching the Leave It method from the article linked above. The main goal right now is not to stop the biting completely but help pup learn how to control the muscles in their jaw to soften the bite. When pup is a little older, Leave It can help pup learn not to bite completely. Pup needs to learn control of muscles first since they are not getting that from other dogs right now. Developmentally, that won't be a quick process. Expect it to take a few weeks, and for very gradual progress to be made. Check out the free PDF e-book AFTER You Get Your Puppy for further explanation on bite inhibition vs. stopping biting and how to do both. Don't worry about what you can't control like mom's presence, instead focus on what you can do proactively to help make up for that. My own dogs are often rescues so I miss certain socialization windows, and work extra hard to simply do what I can where we are at when they join me. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads If you have any friends with young puppies, invite them over often and let the puppies play. Pups learn bite inhibition most from interacting with other puppies. Either way, as soon as pup is old enough enroll in a puppy play group or class that has time for moderated off-leash play with other puppies. No class will be perfect but check out the article linked below for what to look for in a class, and tips on timing and safety. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ Finally, practice handling with pup. Use puppy's dog food and gently touch an area of pup's body like an ear and give a little food. Touch a paw - give food, touch muzzle - give food, touch tail - give food, touch collar - give food, touch belly - give food, ect...Practice this daily to teach tolerance of handling and provide gentle stimulation. Pup can be fed a meal this way each day that you are able. Continue doing this regularly throughout the first 6 months. Continue is periodically for at least 18 months. When puppy does latch down onto your hand and doesn't know how to open their mouth back up at this age, if you apply very gentle pressure with your other hand's index finger onto the area at the back of the mouth between the upper and lower teeth/jaws, where the upper and lower gums come together, pressing on that pressure point can help pup open again without having to pry the mouth open. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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