Today’s beagle training tip is all about positive interruption. In other words, we are going to explore ways of making your beagle pay attention to you and interrupt the unwanted behavior by doing things other than yelling, punishing or saying “no”.
My Beagle Training is all about positive reinforcement: reinforcing the desired behaviors and teaching your beagle to do what you want them to do.
All of this starts with the right mindset: your beagle is intelligent and can be trained. Blaming your beagle is not the solution. Thinking that you cannot train your beagle is actually an excuse for the poor training of the owner.
Does negative interruption and punishment work? Of course. Dogs are not stupid so you can train them to be afraid of you and your punishments.
However, a more useful question is: What kind of relationship do you want to create with your beagle?
Going back to positive interruption, it is simply a nice sound that you use to get your beagle’s attention. You have the choice of using an annoying sound or a “NO” to get their attention or to use a pleasant sound. The choice is yours.
The benefit of using a nice sound is that your beagle associates you with something pleasant. If you use an angry “No” to interrupt their behaviors, you are associating yourself with unpleasant things and your beagle will want to spend less time with you.
The procedure is actually pretty simple:
Step 1 – Choose the sound you will want to use to get your beagle’s attention. I like to use kissing sounds, for example.
Step 2 – Use the sound and as soon as you get your beagle to pay attention to you, reward them with a treat.
Step 3 – Train eye contact. Produce the sound and train your beagle to look at you and to keep eye contact.
Once your beagle has mastered these 3 simple steps, add a distraction to test your interruption training. If the distraction proves to be too strong, you can either increase the value of the reinforcement (you could offer better treats, for example) or decrease the value of the distraction by making it less appealing.
You want your beagle to succeed in their training to motivate them to learn. Once they are successful at paying attention to you, you can try a stronger distraction.
BONUS BEAGLE TRAINING TIP 1– You want to reinforce desired behaviors all the time. If your beagle does things that you consider “good behavior”, praise them.
Don’t wait for your beagle to do something that you don’t like to pay attention to your dog. The association you are creating in your beagle’s brain is “If I want attention, I should chew your shoes”.
BONUS BEAGLE TRAINING TIP 2 – When you feed your beagle a treat WAIT until your beagle has their 4 feet on the floor. You don’t want to accidentally be reinforcing “jumping”.