Consider these questions before purchasing a beagle:
Can you handle a dog that may only listen to you when he isn't busy following a luscious scent trail or howling at wildlife?
Will you be happy with a dog that will only work for food?
Can you manage a dog who can't be trusted off the leash or outside the fence... ever?
Are you rattled by excessive barking, baying, and even a little howling now and then? What about your neighbors?
Can you just say no to that cute pleading face when you know perfectly well your beagle has had enough treats already?
Beagles are smart, independent, and self-confident, and work best with owners who have those same qualities. Beagles know how to make their own decisions and while they are happy to consider your input, they don't necessarily consider it the law of the land. Consider that independence makes for a more self-sufficient, less needy dog that doesn't require your constant attention to feel secure. Those who don't like clingy, fawning dogs tend to appreciate the beagle's independence.
The beagle's favorite form of exercise is following a scent trail, so if you have backyard wildlife, be prepared for your beagle to be very, very interested. Beagles can get a lot of exercise tracking squirrel, possum, raccoon, and especially rabbit trails around the yard. If an animal wanders onto your property, your beagle may become consumed with the desire to chase, so be sure you have a fence to keep him safe, preferably with an escape route for smaller animals. Confrontations with wildlife can not only get messy, but could injure your beagle if he gets too close to an animal who wants to fight back. Remember, beagles are bred to chase rabbits, and rabbits don't normally turn around and bare their teeth and claws.
Old-fashioned militant-style training techniques demanding perfection don't work well on beagles. Punishment in the form of hitting, yelling, or yanks on a choke chain will only make your beagle fear and distrust you. Seek out obedience instructors who use positive reinforcement training and learn from them. A good juicy treat for a job well done is something beagles understand.
Throughout their history, beagles have had to spend endless hours running after a scent trail. They had to have great endurance and be true athletes: strong, coordinated, and energetic. Deny them the chance to fulfill their genetic destiny, and you are asking for trouble. Couch-potato beagles become overweight. Beagles aren't made to lounge around all day. They are made to run and run some more, with no thought to anything else, in pursuit of a smell. If you don't provide your beagle with enough opportunities for exercise, he will find other ways to get all that energy out of his system. He may dig up the yard or under the fence and run off to find something more interesting to do. He may start barking and howling, purely out of boredom. Chewing is a perfectly reasonable form of entertainment for a dog, and when there is nothing else to do, he'll look for the best candidates: your shoes, your child's favorite teddy bear, or your pillow. Beagles need long walks, active playtime, training sessions, and time in the dog park, if you have access to one. Don't skip a day. Well-exercised beagles are much less likely to engage in unwanted behaviors. They will behave more calmly and be nicer in the house, they won't make as much noise, and they won't destroy things (at least after the puppy teething stage is over).