To train a beagle to hunt rabbits, begin to train a beagle puppy from about 8 weeks of age. Allow the puppy to play with the foot of a wild rabbit or a rabbit skin. After a week or two, play “hide and seek” by tying the puppy up and teasing him with the rabbit fur, then dragging the fur along the ground and hiding it out of the puppy’s sight. This encourages the puppy to track the scent trail.
Once a beagle puppy takes interest in the scent of a rabbit, train the dog to smell and chase rabbits by spotting wild rabbits and putting the dog on the rabbit’s track. Do not allow the dog to see the rabbit, but rather encourage the dog to rely on his nose alone. Later, progress to allowing the dog to hunt on his own in a confined space where rabbits are abundant. The beagle should now be able to run a rabbit for many minutes at a time.
When you have trained the beagle puppy to run a rabbit for about 10 to 20 minutes, begin to run the puppy with a group of good rabbit hunting dogs. With time, the beagle will respond to the barks of the other dogs and run with the other dogs. This may take up to two months. Combine pack time with solo time in the field so the puppy grows his confidence. Keep in mind that the process of training a beagle to hunt rabbits takes about one year.