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Why Do Beagles Howl? 6 Common Reasons

Written by: Lindsey Lawson

Last Updated on July 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

a howling beagle

Why Do Beagles Howl? 6 Common Reasons

The Beagle is a breed with a natural-born tendency to howl. Whether these small hounds are being used for hunting or are strictly house pets, there’s no getting around this trait. They aren’t the only breed infamous for howling, however, and dogs that exhibit this behavior do so for various reasons.

In this article, we discuss why your Beagle may be howling and share helpful tips on controlling it if it has become excessive or disruptive.

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The 6 Reasons Why Beagles Howl

1. They Picked Up a Scent or Located Prey

Beagles are born and bred to be hunting dogs and are among the most incredible scent hounds you can find. Those who train their Beagles as hunting dogs will be well aware that howling is an indicator that they have either picked up a scent or spotted prey.

Beagles that are raised as pets will also be likely to exhibit this behavior because it is in their nature to do so. So, if you have a pet-only Beagle that you catch howling every so often, they have smelled or spotted something that piqued their interest.

2. They’re Attention-Seeking

Dogs are highly social pack animals that thrive on love, affection, and time spent with their family. There are many ways that a dog may try and grab your attention, including nudging, whining, bringing you a toy, jumping up at you, barking, and even howling.

Certain breeds are more prone to howling than others, and Beagles are one of them. Other hounds, like Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, and Bloodhounds, are also common howlers, along with Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes.

There is definitely a chance that your Beagle may resort to howling to ensure the focus is put on them.  Once they realize their howling has gotten them the attention they desire, it is more likely they will continue this behavior.

Image Credit: Przemek Iciak, Shutterstock

3. They’re Responding to Certain Sounds

You may have noticed that once one dog begins to howl, others will follow suit. So, if your Beagle were to hear another dog begin to howl, whether they are nearby or off in the distance, chances are that they will take part in it too.

You may also notice your Beagle will howl when they hear high-pitched sounds like sirens. This is a common behavior among many breeds, and the howling typically stops when the sound stops.

Howling in response to noise is an instinctual behavior that has been passed down from wolves. Wolves will typically howl to alert them of their location or potential danger and to mark their territory, and it’s perfectly normal for domesticated dogs to do the same.

4. They’re Alerting You of Something Suspicious

Most dogs bark to alert their owners if they sense a potential threat. This typically happens when they hear an unexpected sound or someone knocks at the door. Since Beagles are howlers by nature, they may howl in addition to or in place of barking to sound the alarm.

Image by: Przemek Iciak, Shutterstock

5. They Have Separation Anxiety

All dogs are pack animals and prefer to have company as opposed to being left alone. If your Beagle is alone for long periods, they may develop separation anxiety, which is triggered when they are not near their family members.

Separation anxiety not only causes the dog a lot of stress, but it can also lead to destructive behaviors and many other signs related to high stress levels. Beagles do best with companionship from other dogs or even a cat if they are raised together.

Having a housemate can help prevent separation anxiety altogether since they will have a friend during your absence. This isn’t always possible, though, so if you believe that howling is due to separation anxiety, there are tips and tricks to help solve this issue.  In severe cases, it is recommended that you also speak to your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer for assistance.

6. They’re Ill or Injured

While howling is usually not a cause for concern, it could indicate a medical issue, such as an illness or injury. Signs that your dog is in pain can vary but typically include lethargy, panting, whining, trembling, flattened ears, and reluctance to participate in normal day-to-day activities.

If your Beagle is howling and exhibiting other unusual signs or they have suddenly begun howling out of nowhere or are howling much more than usual, it’s a good idea to have them examined to rule out any issues.

sleeping beagle
Image by: João Victor Xavier, Pixabay

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The 7 Tips for Getting Control of Excessive Howling

Since Beagles are hound dogs, they are naturally going to be more vocal than most other breeds. This is something that potential owners should consider before bringing home this breed. If you don’t like howling and aren’t prepared for a highly vocal dog, this may not be the right breed for you. There is a reason that Beagles are not recommended for those who live in apartments.

Now, if you are a Beagle owner who has found yourself in a position where your dog is howling excessively and you need to get control over the behavior for the sake of your sanity (and that of others), we have included helpful tips on what you can do to solve the issue.

1. Get to the Root of the Howling

First and foremost, you need to figure out why your Beagle is howling so much and so often. You can do this by observing what is going on around them when they begin howling. Once you have narrowed down the root cause, you can then implement strategies to help with the issue.

2. Focus on Training

All dogs should be taught obedience and certain commands starting at a young age. Beagles tend to be stubborn, and it is very important to put a lot of focus on their training from the get-go.

Since they are such vocal dogs, it’s a good idea to teach them a “be quiet” command. This is the best way to get control of your dog’s excessive barking and howling. Remember the importance of positive reinforcement training, and remain consistent throughout the process. 

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

3. Eliminate Triggers

One way to combat howling is to identify the triggers and eliminate them. While certain triggers, such as sirens, unexpected noise, and knocks at the door, cannot be avoided, you can still work to reduce certain ones.

If you have visitors coming, have them give you a heads-up when they arrive so you can greet them at the door before they knock. If your Beagle is stimulated by certain prey animals outdoors, try to keep them in an area that has fewer critters running around. If they tend to howl at the window, try shutting the blinds and using curtains that prevent them from seeing out.

4. Provide Enough Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Since Beagles are highly intelligent hunting dogs, they have certain exercise requirements that other breeds do not. Keeping your dog both mentally and physically stimulated is not only great for their overall health but is also beneficial in reducing unwanted behaviors.

Try going for a walk each day or setting aside time for outdoor play. If you need to stay indoors, invest in some puzzle toys or other forms of entertainment to keep them active and entertained.

5. Ignore the Howling

If your Beagle howls to capture your attention, you should ignore the howling to show them that this behavior does not lead to their desired outcome. This can be difficult, especially when you want to shower your dog with the love that they are so desperately seeking, but it’s a necessary step in resolving this issue.

This discourages them from the behavior since the immediate positive reward is not there. Withdraw your attention from them entirely, and either leave the room or look away. Only give them the desired attention when they are not actively howling at you. Beagles are stubborn, so remember that consistency and patience are the key to success.

beagle dog barking
Image By: mrnok, Shutterstock

6. Resolve Anxiety Issues

If your Beagle howls as a result of separation anxiety, you will want to tackle the root cause. If they do not have an animal companion in the home and are having a difficult time being separated from you, there is hope. Take the necessary steps to help solve separation anxiety, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.

7. Seek Professional Help

If you feel that you have tried everything to get control of excessive howling but seem to be getting nowhere, reach out for professional help. If you have taken your dog to the veterinarian and ruled out any medical concerns, you can speak to your vet about this behavioral problem to see what kind of advice they provide.

You can also request the assistance of a trained animal behaviorist or professional dog trainer. They can work with both you and your Beagle and provide helpful tools to resolve any issues you have.

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Beagles are hound dogs that were initially bred for hunting and scent tracking. Howling is a common natural behavior among the breed and is one of the ways they alert to scents and prey.  There are many reasons that Beagles howl, even if they are not used as hunting dogs. There are ways to get control of excessive howling if it has become an issue, but Beagle owners should expect this instinctual behavior as part of their beloved pup.


Featured Image Credit: tetiana_u, Shutterstock

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