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How to Train a Beagle to Hunt: Two Effective Methods

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

Beagle on a walk

How to Train a Beagle to Hunt: Two Effective Methods

A hound dog by nature, Beagles love to scout for rabbits. They’ve been employed by hunters for centuries, and rabbit hunting can become a special bonding hobby between you and your dog. While it’s possible to teach an old dog new tricks, it’s best to start training your Beagle as soon as possible, preferably while they’re still a puppy. We’ve sniffed out a couple ways to teach your eager Beagle how to track down rabbits using their powerful nose and baying bark. You can use a combination of these methods or pick the one that’s best for your dog.

Before You Begin

If you adopted a Beagle puppy, we recommend waiting to train them to hunt until they’re around five months old. Until then, you can build them a foundation of obedience classes and let them play with rabbit-scented toys, so they become familiar with the scent.

Older Beagles can also learn how to hunt, but it’s still important to make sure they have a solid foundation of trust and basic training with you before you begin. It’s actually dangerous to have a disobedient dog in the field because they could run away or accidentally get shot by another hunter.

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How to Train Your Beagle to Hunt: Method #1

1. Take a Walk

woman walking beagle dog in the park
Image by: New Africa, Shutterstock

Go somewhere with your beagle where it’s likely to see a rabbit. A field or a long walk through the woods is a good place, especially if it’s somewhere you can let your dog run off leash. Keep your dog leashed for the first few training sessions, however, especially if they haven’t completed obedience classes so that they’ll come back when called.

2. Find a Rabbit

Once you see a rabbit, point it out to your Beagle. Make a scene. Chase it while flailing your arms and speaking in an excited tone. Your beagle will probably pick up on these cues and follow suit.

3. Reward your Beagle

training a beagle with treats
Image by: Aleksey Boyko, Shutterstock

If your Beagle catches onto the thrill of the chase, reward them with lots of praise and a treat. Never punish your beagle if they don’t. Beagles have sensitive emotions, and they’ll begin to associate hunting with a bad experience if you chastise them for failing.

4. Let Them Chase the Rabbits Off-leash

Once you feel confident that your dog will return when called, you can begin to let them chase rabbits off-leash. Just make sure you’re hunting on property that allows your dog to run free.

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How to Train Your Beagle to Hunt: Method #2

1. Spray Rabbit Scent on Their Favorite Toys

beagle chewing a toy
Image by: Nick115, Pixabay

You can begin this part of the training exercise while they’re still a young pup playing a home. Building a fond familiarity with a rabbit’s scent can help them recognize the smell when they’re in the field later.

2. Hide the Scented Toys Around Your House

After your Beagle has been playing with the toys for a few days, start to hide them throughout the house. Treat it as a game, engaging with your beagle, and encouraging them to find the toys. You might start small by hiding one toy behind the sofa cushions in plain sight and letting them find it easily. Gradually work your way up to more challenging hiding places.

3. Take the Chase Outside

beagle hunting
Image by: olginaa84, Pixabay

This step is similar to conducting an Easter egg hunt for children. Scatter the rabbit-scented toys outside in random hiding places while your Beagle is inside taking a nap. When they wake up, take them on the “trail” and let them find the toys. Congratulate them and give them a treat with every find to give them some positive enforcement.

4. Find New Places

Continue the hunt in unfamiliar places, eventually taking your Beagle somewhere there’s likely to be actual rabbits. Celebrate their victory the first time they catch a real one.

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Encouraging your Beagle’s natural love of rabbits should build them up as successful hunters. Even if your pup doesn’t get it immediately, give them plenty of love and positive enforcement as this is the best way to train your sensitive Beagle.

Featured Image Credit: Alexey Androsov, Shutterstock

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