Snapping Beagle

Posted by Kari
Sep 6, 2007
My main concern with my beagle is when he grabs something and becomes possessive over it (a chicken bone from the trash, a napkin that fell from the table, a plate of food someone put on the ground at a picnic). When an unsuspecting person (our one year old, a neighbor, etc.) tries to take this from him, he will bite them. Although he doesn't aim to cause them damage (he doesn't break the skin), I am concerned about his behavior regardless. My husband and I have learned not to grab the item or threaten our dog in these instances and try to persuade him away from it with various means (sometimes successful, sometimes not), but others who are around our dog are not always aware of this or are too young too understand. I want to break our beagle of this behavior for the safety of our family and friends and am looking for effective strategies to use in training him. I would appreciate knowledgeable advice on this topic. Thank you!
Posted by eyeluvdogs
Sep 14, 2007
Hi there....what a distressing situation for you. It's not uncommon for dog's to become possessive over certain items, and sometimes it can be with the craziest things such as used tissues raided from the trash. The first thing you will need to do is make sure that you are using the Alpha techniques effectively to assert your dominance over your dog. He needs to know that you are the boss, and if so he should be more responsive to your commands and corrections.

Next, you should start practicing the Drop It command with your dog. Take an item that he is not possessive over but that he likes such as a ball or soft toy. As soon as your dog drops the ball when told, praise him and give him a yummy food treat from your pocket. Practice this over and over again until your dog's response is consistent and reliable.

Next, I recommend that you ensure your trash bins are securely closed so that your dog cannot scavenge and find an item he might be possessive of.

Make sure that you let visitors know that your dog has a tendency to be possessive, and ask that they prevent their young children from trying to take anything from your dog, or approach him when he has something in his mouth.

If there is a particular toy or item that your dog reacts badly with, you should throw it away.

On the occasions that your dog growls or snaps please make sure that he is given a firm reprimand so that he learns that his behavior is not appropriate. Physical reprimands are not recommended, however.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your Beagle.