Stubbornness is a subject that crops up from people who have done a bit of research and then question “trainability.” There are beagles who compete in agility and obedience (click here and look for training) and many owners also successfully take part in the Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Dog Scheme (click here for details).
And, yes - beagles can be walked off a lead! I can let my eldest off the lead with no worries as I admit to putting more time and effort into her training than I did with the others, when ringcraft then became more of a priority. I take mine to several extremely large fenced areas in Fife in the middle of nowhere where they can run about to their heart’s content.
One of these areas is where I took five month old Jenni, who had received next to no obedience work off the lead. On the track leading to the fenced area she was on an extended lead, shadowing her mum closely, so I thought I’d try her off the lead as she couldn’t really go anywhere on the section of enclosed track we were on. She was OK for a few minutes and then lagged behind slightly having a good sniff. She suddenly turned heel and scarpered off in the direction from which we had come, nose to the ground all the way, obviously following our scents. I gave chase, shouting all the way, until she reached the starting point of our journey - the car - where she sat down happily waiting for me to catch up. This story highlights two points. Firstly, a beagle’s highly developed olfactory system (that’s sense of smell to you and me) seems to compensate with selective deafness. Secondly, don’t let a beagle off the lead without prior training!
Some call it stubborness, I prefer “doggedness.” My beagles do most of what I ask of them whether it’s “bed!”, “come here!”, etc. I only have to say the magic word “biscuits” and they all eagerly trot behind me to the kitchen as if I was the pied-piper! If they’re out in the garden I just clap my hands and they come running in. My favourite command has to be “out” as in “get out of that!” It covers the proverbial multitude for an inquisitive breed who sometimes venture where you’d often prefer them not to. To summarise training - as with most things you will get out of it what you put in (and a pocketful of biscuits will work wonders!)