Are Beagles Good Family Dogs? : A Nurturing Guide
Are beagles good family dogs? Generally; it’s a pretty safe bet, my friends.
That being said: Babies are too young to teach about appropriate behavior around beagles. Their curiosity will undoubtedly lead to crawling after the dog incessantly, possibly grabbing/hurting the dog, or even startling a sleeping dog; but that doesn’t mean they cannot interact.
It is your absolute responsibility to keep them separated, using such things as crates, exercise pens, a fenced yard, baby gates, or a separate room. Encourage positive interactions when you are with both the dog and the infant and are able to supervise their time together.
As they get older, beagles and children can be like two peas in a pod. That is — if your dog has learned how to behave properly around kids and vice versa. Many beagles will love almost unconditionally. Even though: Any beagle will need proper training and socialization to establish their boundaries, and to be better prepared for any extraneous stimuli.
If you have babies living in or frequently visiting your home, it’s imperative to always ensure the safety of the little kiddies. Let’s discuss in detail.
Start Socializing Your Beagle Early
All beagles go through a crucial development phase between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks old. It is during this time, that they tend to acclimate to a wide variety of people and situations if they are presented during this time. If your children are well-behaved, feel comfortable introducing them while keeping an eye on both child and beagle.
If your beagle is already an adult, by all means — be proactive and socialize them. However, the process should go in a slower, more calculated fashion. You’ll want to remove your beagle from a situation if they start to exhibit any signs of stress.
Adhere To A Obedience Training Program
Your beagle will be and is a product of their environment. A well-behaved beagle that knows basic commands, such as sit, stay and down; will be much more controllable when around some overly-exuberant kids. Example: if his or her initial desire is to jump up excitedly on anyone who walks through the door, a lie-down command will serve as a great redirect. Be sure to provide praise and/or treats when appropriate.
Throw Them A Few Curveballs
Okay, not literally. What I mean is when aren’t necessarily children around, you may wish to try to test your beagle’s sensitivities to different stimuli. Example: you may want to tug gently on your dog’s tail, hold a paw in your hand for a few seconds, or overindulge them with petting, kisses, etc. This will help familiarize and acclimate them to receiving this type of attention before a child does it. If they seemed overwhelmed by the attention by exhibiting anxiety or fear, it is logical to keep the kiddies away until they further improve. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Present Children’s Toys To Your Beagle
You know what I’m talking about. The lights, the sounds, etc; can all be rather exciting. With that being said, it’s understandable that they might get very tempted to steal, chew or chase them; consequently leading to a greater probability of a child getting nipped or knocked-over by a rambunctious beagle.
I’d highly encourage you to present kids’ toys around when kids aren’t around. It’ll be a great time to teach them commands for effective redirection, such as ‘leave it’ or ‘stay’. You needn’t redirect them into not having any fun, you just need to redirect them to their own toys.
Time To Be A Kid Again
With this, I mean that you’ll want to introduce your beagle to how a younger child could be around them, except you are acting like a child. When I first started: I used to run around my house like a crazy person, jumping up and down while yelling; while I was trying to train my dog to stay in one spot. Now, I just run around my house, jump up and down — Hmm? I guess some things don’t change.
Once your pup has successfully graduated to be unfazed by your playful antics, you should feel more compelled to bring them with you to a park or playground. Start slowly by keeping a marked distance from the activity, gradually working your way closer and closer to the playing children. It might be difficult at times since many kids (and their parents) tend to gravitate toward small dogs — especially cute ones like beagles. Yes, I’m biased. What you’ll want to be very mindful of is how your beagle is interacting with these other people. They should never appear skittish or anxious. If you observe this, take a few steps back and try again.
Ask Children To Approach Slowly
When you walking your beagle on a leash, remind any kids you encounter to not run toward your dog. No one should encroach on you and your dog’s personal space. Let your beagle go to them partway, if they so desire. Your beagle will likely want to sniff the child. Stoop down to the dog’s level if needed.
Don’t Be Afraid To Crate The Great
If your beagle is familiar with being crated, you’ll notice how frequently they appear to be very comfortable, as they come and go from the crate as they please, when you leave the door open. That is their safe place, as you need to ensure that any children in your home respect that when your pup is in their crate, the crate is off-limits. This way, he or she can interact with people when and if they want to.
It’s Okay To Just Say No
Any child old enough to ask — should always ask to pet your beagle. With that being said, it’s perfectly fine to not allow them to pet your dog. They should learn to be mindful of your beagle’s body language. Need a refresher yourself? Well, we’ve got you covered: Beagle Body Language: What Are They Saying?
Teach How To Pet The Pup
As a beagle owner, it’s your obligation to teach children (either your own or a visitor) the proper way how to pet your beagle.
Start by gently stroking the dog’s chin or chest. Light scratching is also perfectly okay, but avoid putting hands over the dog’s face and head. If those were tolerated well, graduate them to petting or scratching their back or neck. Go in the direction of the fur. This will build up trust slowly, but surely.
Let Things Happen Naturally
Ever notice a pet parent picking up their pup to introduce them to a stranger closer to eye level? Not the best idea. If your beagle feels uncomfortable with this unfamiliar person, they may get defensive to the point of growling or snapping in order to express their displeasure. In addition, the restricted movement while being held may consequentially push their stress level up. To avoid this scenario ever occurring, you’ll want to allow your beagle the opportunity to approach strangers on their own terms.
Feel The Positive Vibes
Secure, loving dog + child relationships are built with positive reinforcement. Be sure to provide attention, praise and treats for good behavior. Your beagle will make a positive association for when children are around. Sooner rather than later, you’ll notice that they will seek children out while being on their best behavior.
Establish Ground Rules For The Kids
This article has been predominately about ensuring proper training for your beagle. However, they aren’t the only ones in need of training. Any children that will be interacting with your dog must be instructed about how to behave around your dog. Some general rules of thumb should include:
- No kids are allowed to be around the pup unless an adult is present in the same room.
- The dog crate is off-limits. This is their safe haven, and that should be respected.
- Any attention should not be forced. Hey — if they’re not into them, let’s not push it.
- Do not tease the pup. Don’t pull on their tail, grab their paws; etc.
- Avoid running away from your dog, in addition to yelling or screaming excessively. This may needly scare or excite them or evoke a predatory response.
- Do not approach them while they’re eating or chewing on a toy. They may feel you are trying to take it any from them. This is called resource guarding. We discussed this in more depth here if you’re interested: Beagle Resource Guarding: A Complete Guide
- Leave them alone while they’re sleeping. Hey, do you like being woken up needlessly? I didn’t think so. You’d be aggravated too.
Of course, you won’t address this list with children in this fashion. It’s purely situational. Find the best ways to approach these topics individually.
Teaching kids [your own or others] how to decipher and respect your beagle’s body language, will help form positive, long-lasting relationships with one another.
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