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Why Is My Beagle So Stubborn? Breed Temperament Explained

Written by: Lindsey Lawson

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

beagle dog inside crate

Why Is My Beagle So Stubborn? Breed Temperament Explained

Beagles are incredibly friendly, curious dogs that are the most popularly kept hound breed in the United States. These cheerful little dogs have many captivating qualities that make them wonderful pets but they also tend to be a bit stubborn. So why is it that your beagle is so stubborn?

Beagles are scenthounds by nature that were bred to hunt rabbits, gophers, and a variety of other small game. Their hunting technique involves a certain level of independence which makes them critical thinkers and problem solvers that are perfectly comfortable going off on their own to get the job done. Read along to learn more about this less-than-endearing trait and what you can do about it.

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A Beagle’s Stubbornness

Since Beagles are scent hounds, they come pre-programmed to go after the scent and have a built-in drive for the chase. Their stubbornness is a completely normal part of their genetics. They have been selectively bred for many years to exhibit these traits that make them excellent hunting dogs.

When they pick up on a scent or other stimuli they can block out all else around them and follow the trail. These traits are great when paired up with hunters, but this can be quite frustrating when they are kept as family pets.

Not only are they a bit more difficult to train but they also tend to be escape artists that will run off when the opportunity presents itself. Because of this, Beagles require patience and consistency with training and a very secure environment. They should never be allowed off-leash unless they are in a fully fenced area.

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Possible Contributing Factors to Stubbornness

In addition to genetics, some other factors can play a role in their stubborn tendencies. Here’s a look at some other reasons why your Beagle is acting so stubborn and what you can do about it.

1. Lack of Training

One of the most important aspects of dog ownership is the commitment to training your new dog. If you fail to properly train your Beagle, they may prove to be a bit more stubborn when they don’t know what is expected of them.

In addition to their independence, they are also highly intelligent. They require socialization and obedience starting at an early age and thrive on reward-based training that is clear and concise. Never use harsh training techniques, as this breed does not respond well to this style of training.

Make sure to be creative and keep training sessions around 15 minutes long to prevent them from becoming bored. You will want to establish yourself as their leader and ensure they know what is expected of them to help prevent disobedience.

2. Distractions

Beagles are notoriously curious and that can easily lead them to become distracted by any scents or anything else that stimulates their hunting response. If you notice that your Beagle is acting a bit more stubborn than usual, keep your eye out for what could be capturing their attention.

To get their focus back on you, you should either remove the distraction or remove your beagle from the situation and start over. If distractions become an issue with training, try taking your training indoors to keep the scents from the outdoors to a minimum.

Beagle puppy 2 months old
Image Credit: Tony Kan, Shutterstock

3. Lack of Exercise or Mental Stimulation

The Beagle is an active and energetic breed that requires at least one hour of exercise per day. If they don’t get enough physical activity and regular mental stimulation, they may become destructive and exhibit more of a stubborn streak.

Keep a good supply of toys handy and engage in daily activities to keep their minds sharp and their energy well utilized. They may be small to medium in size but unlike a lot of dogs in their size range that are bred to be companions, Beagles are not the type of dogs that can go without an outlet for their energy. They can make wonderful house pets as long as their physical needs are met.

4. Anxiousness or Fear

Stubbornness can also be a result of anxiety or fear. If you become harsh or negative during training sessions, they may not obey out of fear of punishment. This is another reason why positive reinforcement and reward-based training are highly recommended for the breed.

They may also display a bit of a stubborn streak due to separation anxiety. Beagles hunt in numbers, so while they are independent they also like to be among their companions. They may become very uncomfortable if separated from their human caregivers or other canine companions.

If left alone for long periods, you may notice they become more stubborn and bullheaded and they may also become more destructive while you are out. It’s a good idea to have another dog for companionship to help alleviate anxiety. You should also keep up with their exercise needs and supply them with toys and activities that will keep them occupied while you’re gone.

pregnant beagle sitting inside the house
Image Credit: Nina Buday, Shutterstock

5. Pain or Illness

Health ailments or pain can lead to changes in behavior. If you notice your Beagle acting more stubborn than usual it could be the result of pain or discomfort as the result of an illness or injury. Be sure to keep an eye out for any other unusual symptoms or behavior changes.

The best thing you can do is take your Beagle to the veterinarian for an evaluation. It’s a good idea to get any health issues ruled out from the get-go so that you can get to the bottom of their behavior.

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Most Beagles are naturally stubborn because they are independent and curious scent hounds bred for tracking and chasing. While their independence suits them well as hunters, it makes them a bit more challenging to train and leaves them with a tendency to run off.

Just because they have a stubborn streak does not mean they can’t make great family pets. Beagles are friendly, cheerful, and loyal dogs that just need to be trained and socialized from a young age. Of course, always keep them well secured on a leash or in a fence so their nose (and curiosity) don’t get the best of them.

Featured Image Credit: Jagodka, Shutterstock

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