I have a Beagle and I want to know how smart he is.
I know that the Beagle breed only ranks average on intelligence testing for dogs, but I want to know how that relates to real-world smarts.
With a passion for knowledge about my dog, I decided I would look for more information on the internet today and here is what I found out.
How Smart Are Beagles?
Beagles are smart dogs but do not do well on intelligence tests because they have different motivations than the “smartest” dog breeds. They may seem easily distracted due to their hunting background, but their skills and intelligence make them an exceptional dog breed if given the right task.
Beagles are strong-willed with an independent streak that is driven by their instinctual intelligence which comes with their breeding.
Bred to be hunting dogs they adapt well which makes them very smart in real-world situations.
They can have tunnel vision when they catch a scent and are following it, and this may make them appear lacking in smarts, but in truth it makes them focused.
Their intelligence is just different from that of other dog breeds.
Hunting dogs are required to be alert, adaptable, have good instincts, and act on them, this makes the Beagle a very smart dog, regardless of the results of any test.
Beagles were bred to hunt and be hunting companions.
With strong instincts and a highly sensitive nose, there are many who rate them as the best hunting dog out there.
Even though this is the case, this dog breed does not score well on intelligence testing, but this is not a direct reflection of their intelligence.
Intelligence is measured in many ways and cannot be solely determined by any one test or skill.
Hunting dogs, which Beagles are, are known for having deep instincts that drive each action they take.
They are independent in nature and have a strong-willed mind that can make them hard to manage and train at times if the wrong person is doing the training.
To be an effective hunting dog adaptability is a must, and Beagles are highly adaptable, with their intelligence shining in the real world survival and hunting arena.
While they can have tunnel vision at times and seem easily distracted it is not for lack of intelligence but more about their deep focus and taking their job as a scenting and hunting dog seriously.
Therefore, there may be moments where they are playing a game of catch and suddenly get distracted and wander off to the woods behind the house and disappear for a few minutes.
This is not because they are distracted and unintelligent but because they are highly focused and likely caught the scent of something exciting that they are tracking.
This is one of the reasons they are such expert hunting dogs that many consider the best of the best.
Their breeding requires that they be alert, adaptable, with good instincts and the driving force to act on them when needed.
This makes them a very smart dog breed even if the testing says otherwise.
Pet parents and families that have a Beagle for a fur baby should familiarize themselves with the breed background and include some of their need for hunting and tracking into their daily lifestyle for the Beagles’s happiness and wellbeing.
This will bring out the best in them and make their intelligence shine.
Is there anything I can do if my Beagle refuses to be trained?
Yes, there is much you can do if your Beagle refuses to be trained.
This behavior is not untypical of a Beagle as they tend to have a strong will and independent nature.
Training should be done by someone who is secure in their abilities and standing, which leaves no room for negotiation with the Beagle.
Once this is established a very necessary part of any dog’s training is social skills so your Beagle should be socialized regularly with other dogs and various others.
To effectively train a Beagle they need lots of stimulation.
This is to prevent them from getting bored with what you are teaching them, so they do not wander off and find something else that they thought looked better to do.
Their independent nature will have this happening from time to time and boredom will likely be the cause.
The Beagle needs to be engaged mentally and to keep his or her mind on the task at hand so he or she focuses and absorbs what is being taught to him or her.
They also require exercise and love being outside so taking breaks during training can be helpful to let them just do their own thing for a few minutes.
Since they are so smart the Beagle will often ask the question during training, what is in this for me? Or why should I do this?
This breed lacks the inner need to please those around them because they are independent and will not be motivated by such.
Therefore, it can be helpful to reward them with a fun game where they scent something or some outside time to chase something when they go through a series of training for the commands of sit, stay and come.
Treats may be motivators, but they will likely need to be interesting and to their liking.
And as with anything, when you are dealing with a dog that is not motivated by pleasing humans, the motivator may need to periodically be changed or they will get bored with that also.
Beagles had the occupation of being a hunting companion where they had a job to do. They knew what was expected of them, and what was going to happen when.
Therefore, a routine is necessary, not just your everyday lifestyle routine of when they eat and go outside, but a routine for training.
When training is going to happen is important so putting it in the daily schedule will help a Beagle accept it is part of their lives.
What I mean by this, they eat breakfast, go outside to run around, and then train. After training they play a fun game that plays on their hunting skills and innate nature, then it’s lunchtime, and so forth.
A routine is also needed within the training.
For instance, they may learn commands, then get a break to play a fun game or go run around, then they come back again for more training and so forth.
This schedule is what will eventually keep them motivated to complete the task at hand just like hunting.
They learn that if they focus and learn what is being taught, they get to go for a hike in the woods where they can use the scenting abilities of their own free will.
After that, they come back and do some more training with some treats and then a fun game in the backyard.
This routine is inspiring for the free-thinking Beagle as it keeps their needs in mind, changes things up often so they don’t get bored, and lets them know what to expect when.
When this is done by a trainer who is secure in their training shoes the Beagle will be trained, although there might still be a few bumps in the road.
Consistency is important for any dog, therefore anything that the Beagle is being trained in should also be expected in the real-world setting.
Refusal to be trained is not a reflection of their smarts or abilities but a reflection of their resistance to the activity itself.
This in and of itself shows their high level of intelligence and smarts and pet parents must be one up on their fur baby and keep interest high for success in the training arena.
Is there anything I can do to make my Beagle any smarter?
Yes, there are plenty of things that you can do to make your Beagle smarter.
Playing games with your Beagle can help make them smarter than they already are by stimulating their mind as well as their body.
They can be simple games that align with their hunting background, or by using special toys to enhance their smarts.
Every day, all dogs including your Beagle should have mental stimulation which keeps their brain sharp and their mental capacities high.
Special games and toys can be used from puppyhood and continue well into a Beagles senior years to keep their mind sharp.
Smarts can never be measured by any one test or activity.
Instead, it is often the combination of many things within a dog.
Their instincts, their adaptability, their ability to think and act on their feet as well as who they are as a dog and what they have learned from the world around them.
While tests may show one breed or another inferior, no dog is unintelligent and all are smart in their own way.
Beagles are a highly intelligent dog breed, when given the right motivation and activity to show their smarts!