Entertaining your beagle doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. There are plenty of easy ways that you can keep your pooch’s mind occupied while also keeping them healthy and happy.
Here is our list of 13 tips on how to keep your beagle mentally stimulated and out of trouble!
Beagles are a lot like humans. They need mental stimulation and entertainment to remain happy, healthy, and well-behaved.
It can be difficult to find the time to keep your pooch entertained when you work all day or have kids running around the house, but there are ways that you can do it in small chunks throughout the day or week.
Why is Mental Stimulation Important for Beagles?
Keeping your pup entertained is important for them and for you – a bored beagle can be a destructive beagle!
Not forgetting, you are their main source of entertainment, which means they are at your mercy for when it’s fun time. And if you don’t give them fun, they’ll find fun on their own!
Keeping your beagle entertained can reduce the likelihood of them developing destructive habits such as chewing or barking, and generally causing mischief around the home.
Beagles are also commonly crated, so it’s important to ensure that they are both physically and mentally exhausted. Read our Crate Training Guide and Crate Training Do’s and Don’ts for further information.
What are the Signs that your Beagle is Bored?
When beagles are bored they naturally resort to doing all the things that are not desirable in a pet, such as tearing up the couch, eating things they’re not supposed to, digging holes in the yard, or chewing the legs of your dining table.
Here are some tell-tale signs that your beagle may be bored:
- Pacing back and forth
- Pawing at you
- Barking, howling, or whining
- Excessive licking or scratching
- Panting without physical exertion
- Escaping and running away
- Destroying things around the home
Note: It’s important to be able to differentiate between when your beagle has a health problem and them being bored. This list becomes more relevant if your beagle has very little interaction with other dogs or humans.
13 Ways to Keep Your Beagle Mentally Stimulated
Mental stimulation for your beagle can be as good as physical exercise (if done well). Plus, we can’t always get out, so keeping them busy indoors is the perfect way to keep them busy between walks.
When using treats we recommend smaller pieces of food or healthy alternatives such as chopped carrots or apples. This will ensure that sniffing out the goods become a little more difficult, plus they are less likely to pile on the pounds with indulgent treats!
1. Makeshift Beagle Toys
If there is one thing most beagle owners know, it’s that you can turn almost any disposable item into a makeshift beagle toy!
Water bottles are by far one of the easiest. Just fill it with one of their favorite tasty treats and see how long it takes them to get the lid off. Unless they decide to go through the bottom!
Using makeshift toys is a fantastic way of keeping beagles entertained as they typically get bored with their old ones. You can also rotate toys to prevent boredom from creeping in.
Always supervise your beagle when they are chewing on plastic to ensure you can deal with any potential issues quickly.
2. Fetch, Hide and Seek
Beagles may not be the best retrievers, but they do like a tease!
Traditional hide and seek is just far too easy for this breed (thanks to their supersonic nose), whereas this spin on the original makes it a little more fun for you both!
Fetch, Hide and Seek is a fun game where you throw a ball out into the yard and then you run and hide inside the house. The beagle comes bounding in with a victory parade and then you chase them around until you have the ball back.
Rinse and repeat!
3. Use a Stuffed Kong
This is one of our Top Beagle Chews and favorite things to do when leaving our beagle at home.
Give them a Kong stuffed with banana or peanut butter and they won’t even realize that you’ve closed the door behind you!
Kongs are great as they are non-toxic, beagle-proof, and dishwasher safe. Just make sure to choose these ones (most robust for beagles!)
4. Hide Treats around the Home
Hiding treats is a great mental activity for your pup because it requires them to use their natural hunting instincts!
As beagles have incredible noses, you’ll need a strategy when hiding treats around the home.
The best way to do this is to scatter some treats in the backyard to keep them briefly out of your way. Then you’ll need to start hiding treats around the home in difficult-to-reach areas.
If you can make sure they do not know you are hiding the treats then the game becomes entertaining for the whole household!
Then they just have to follow their nose and sniff out all the pieces! Easy peasy!
Tip: Make sure they are supervised at all times to prevent any scratching or damage to surface areas.
5. Let Beagles Sit by the Window
Beagles can be nosey little beggars, so letting them sit by the window and watch the world go by is a mental activity that many of them enjoy.
Tip: Crack the window open slightly, they’ll love the waft coming in and trying to match the scent to the hound or human!
It is best to do this when you are at home with them to supervise and control any potential barking at passers-by!
6. Teach Your Beagle New Tricks
Teaching your beagle new tricks is a great way to keep them (and you) entertained! It can be as simple or complex as you like, and it will keep your pup engaged for a long time.
Plus, learning all of these new tricks can be mentally draining for your beagle, guaranteeing a long snooze when you’re done!
Consider trying out some effective online courses that teach your beagle new skills whilst also addressing certain behavioral issues.
Here are some of the best online courses:
For an in-depth look at the most suitable courses for behavioral issues in beagles, read our 13 Best Online Dog Training Courses or 7 Best Courses for New Puppies
7. Create an Obstacle Course
Beagles are very intelligent and love to solve problems, so making an obstacle course for them is a mental stimulation game they’ll love!
Start by laying down a number of their toys in different places around the home or garden. Then add some obstacles using cushions, towels, blankets etc. to get from one place to another.
The more complicated it is, the more mental exercise it will provide for your pup!
If you really want to take it seriously enough, you could look at picking up more suitable agility course items such as:
Alternatively, if you’re super-serious about getting your beagle agility trained, this Online Agility Course is (by far) the best.
8. Play The Cup Game
They are not the most patient of breeds, but beagles can be totally capable of playing along with The Cup Game!
All you need is a treat or bit of food placed under one cup, with two further cups that are empty (all upside down), and then shuffle them around.
The goal is then to train them to identify which cup has a reward underneath by getting them to indicate with their nose, or if they’re super trained – with their paw!
This mental stimulation game is a great way to keep the kids entertained too, providing hours of fun for everyone!
9. Pick the Hand
Similar to the cup game, but your beagle now has better odds at finding the treat!
All you need to do is hide a treat in one hand, and then extend your arms out together to see which one they pick. Although the reward is finding the treat itself, be sure to praise them at the same time to reinforce the rules of the game.
TIP: Using less smelly treats (such as dehydrated vegetables) will make this game a little trickier for your beagle!
10. Teach the Names of their Toys
This is probably an advanced level skill for beagles, but it’s not completely impossible!
All you need is a bunch of their toys (starting with their favorite) and then begin repeating their names.
For example, pick up the stuffed bear and call it ‘Mr Bear’ in your cute doggy voice. Over time, you can point and say ‘Go get Mr Bear’ and hopefully they’ll get it!
This will take time to get right, but once they catch on it’ll be worth all the hard work!
11. Give them Ice Treats
Freezing your beagle’s favorite treats is a great way for them to enjoy it for a little longer. One of the best things to use is liver cake pieces which are still deliciously smelly enough when encased in ice.
Frozen carrots or apple slices also make for healthy, slightly longer-lasting snacks.
Just be sure not to give them ice treats when the weather is really warm, as this can be harmful to dogs that may be suffering from heatstroke.
12. Leave the TV on when you Go Out
Beagles love any type of mental stimulation, so leaving the TV on for them when you go out is a great way to reduce any separation anxiety they may suffer with.
But make sure it’s not too stimulating! When you’re not at home you don’t want to create a barky environment due to your beagle being threatened by the lions of the Serengeti on National Geographic!
Choose a channel that is less likely to evoke reactions, such as the news or a music channel.
13. Give Them a Treat Dispenser
Yep, you guessed it. Another treat-related game!
As beagles are extremely food-obsessed, giving them mental stimulation games like treat dispensers or puzzles can keep them occupied for hours.
All you need is a few of your pup’s favorite treats and then place them in the ball or puzzle. You can use anything as long as it closes properly to contain all the food inside – this is the most indestructible and beagle-proof treat dispenser.
Warning: Do not leave your beagle unattended with treat dispensers. If a treat rolls under the couch, then you may have to kiss goodbye to said furniture upon your return!
Summing Up Ways to Keep Your Beagle Busy
Beagles thrive on interactive play, and it has a huge impact on their overall health and wellbeing.
These tips can be used to make life more enjoyable and less destructive for them, and with a little effort, you can keep your beagle mentally stimulated throughout the day! If you’re looking for the ultimate list of beagle products, here’s our 49 Must-Have Items for your Beagle and your Home.
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