Beagle Exercise Requirements
Beagles are a scent hound and were bred to hunt in packs over long distances. They are therefore fairly energetic dogs and are very sociable. Beagles need to burn off lots of energy and practice scenting.
It is often said that the Beagles brain is ruled by their nose and their stomach. They have a strong instinct for hunting, tracking and searching, as Beagles have a magnificent sense of smell. Due to their love of food, many Beagles can become overweight.
There are three main types of exercise that you should provide for your Beagle
1. Daily walks
2. Free play and Purposeful activity
3. Mental stimulation
Walking a Beagle
A Beagle requires a daily walk of between 20 – 40 minutes at a comfortable pace for them. As many Beagles have lots of stamina they can go for much longer distances if you wish.
By observing your Beagle you can assess how long of a walk they need. If they are panting excessively, are falling behind, or stop and lay down they have probably had enough. It is probably a good idea to end the walk. If they are happily trotting along you can choose to walk a bit further.
This can be a walk on a leash around the block or can be off leash exploring at the local park. Ensure your Beagle has good recall if walking them off the leash. When a Beagles nose hits the ground their ears tend to switch off and they can be hard to get back.
The daily walk is not only a good way to release some pent up energy, but is also a good opportunity for training and is great for building your bond with each other. It also provides mental stimulation by way of the sights, sounds and smells they come across and social interaction with other dogs you meet along the way.
A short daily walk is more beneficial that nothing all week with a long walk at the weekend. If you prefer you can take your Beagle for two shorter walks instead.
Obviously, every dog is an individual even if they are the same breed.
Free play and toys
The Beagle is a playful little dog. They enjoy a good game with people, other dogs and often by themselves. Provide an opportunity for them to play whenever possible. This will help burn energy, stimulate their mind and strengthen their bond with you. Some suggestions for free play include;
The Beagle in most cases is what we term a light or moderate chewer. This means they tend not to be overly destructive with their toys. Dogs like this quite often favor Plush Toys. To learn about the best type of toys for Beagles see here.
Beagles generally love to chase a ball. In fact, you could throw the ball a hundred times and they would still want more. If you Beagle falls into this group you may want to consider getting them an automatic ball launcher. Due to their intelligence and love of treats, they can learn to use one of these fairly quickly. Read “Automatic Ball Launchers” for more information.
Most dogs can chase and catch a ball. But a Frisbee requires a little bit more skill, coordination, and timing. Roll the Frisbee on the ground towards your dog. They will instinctually want to grab it in his mouth. Once you’ve accomplished this, try tossing it at a very low level first to your dog. If you feel like your dog is ready to go to the next level, toss the disc a little higher and further. Great energy burner and you may be amazed at your dog’s agility and acrobatic skill.
Dog toys that move on their own
There are many dog toys that rattle, roll and move about by themselves. These are ideal for your Beagle to get them having fun and active play. Read “Dogs toys that move on their own” to learn more.
Self Playing Dog Toys
There are a variety of dog toys that your dog can use to play by themselves. These are great for times when your dog is home alone, you don’t have the time or you are otherwise occupied. This way your dog can still get some physical activity and mental stimulation without your direct involvement. See “Self Playing Dog Toys” for some ideas.
Play with other dogs
Provide the opportunity for your Beagle to play with other dogs. They are a loving and very social dog. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills.
Set up an agility or obstacle course in your backyard. You can use items you have around the home, build your own agility or you can get reasonably priced agility sets on Amazon. You can include tasks such as the weave, hurdle jumps, tunnels or jumping through hoops or a platform to jump on and stay.
There are countless fun games that you can play with your dog. Check out “47 Boredom Busters and games for dogs” for ideas.
Your Beagle will get some mental stimulation and enrichment from their daily walk and time spent with free play. However, it is a good idea to provide other activities that stimulate the mind. Mental exercise can burn as much energy as physical exercise.
Many dog behavior problems are the direct result of boredom. Read “Mental enrichment and mind stimulation for dogs” to learn about the six categories of enrichment for dogs.
Some ideas to provide mental stimulation include;
Puzzle toys are a great way to test your dog’s intelligence and improve their problem-solving skills. Check out “Top 7 puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.
Kong toys which you stuff with food and treats work in much the same way. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.
Puzzle toys are great for times when your dog is home alone. If your dog is home alone while you are at work or out you may find some helpful information at “Leaving a dog alone while at work”
Scenting and Nose Games
As the Beagles nose is so powerful, playing scenting and nose games is an excellent way to provide mental enrichment and have fun. Read “12 Scenting and nose games for dogs” for some games to try with your Beagle.
Teaching new commands and tricks is also excellent to provide mental enrichment. A popular game that involves learning is to teach them the names of their toys. Dogs can learn hundreds of words and names.
Chewing is a natural instinct for dogs and has many benefits including keeping them busy and occupying and stimulating their minds. To learn more about the benefits of and the best chew toys see here.
Turn mealtimes into an opportunity for your Beagle to get a mental challenge and enrichment. Instead of feeding them from a bowl, give them activities that require them to work for their food. To learn more about feeding enrichment for dogs see here.
Enrich their environment
Environmental enrichment is the process of making a dog’s living space more engaging and interesting. To learn more about environmental enrichment for dogs see here.
Over exercised dog symptoms
Beagles can go hard and keep going, often not knowing when to stop. With any dog, it is possible to over-exercise them. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a dog that has overdone it. Read “Overexercised dog symptoms” to learn more.
How much exercise does a Beagle puppy need
The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Beagle. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing.
Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. An activity that is high impact on the joints should also be avoided.
The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys. Socialising with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.
As your Beagle puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash. Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.
The general rule of thumb for walking a puppy is around 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor you Beagle puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.
Mental stimulation is important for puppies and can tire them just as much as physical activity. For more on mental stimulation for puppies see here.
For more on exercise for your Beagle puppy read “How to exercise a puppy”
How much exercise does an older Beagle need
As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and mange their weight. Read ” Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.
Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.
So, how much exercise does a Beagle need?
So, how much exercise does a Beagle need? Being a scenting and hunting breed they are relatively active, have fairly high energy levels and love to play.
Daily exercise should be at least one walk either on a leash or off leash at the park for 30 minutes or more. In addition to the daily walk, plenty of free play and games and mental stimulation, especially scenting activities are required.