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How to Train a Dachshund

How to Train a Dachshund

Dachshunds, commonly referred to as “doxies,” “wiener dogs” or “sausage dogs,” are a breed that packs a lot of personality into their small, elongated bodies. Originating from Germany, these small dogs were initially bred for hunting badgers. Their long, low, narrow shape allowing them to burrow into tunnels with ease. Dachshunds are known for being incredibly loyal companions and are tend to be exceedingly confident, playful, social, and clever. Despite their small size, they possess loads of courage, often getting themselves into amusing adventures, and at times situations where there bark is a lot more than what’s there to back it up! With their irresistible looks and amusing personalities, it’s no wonder that Dachshunds have captured the hearts of dog lovers everywhere.

Dachshund Puppyhood

As puppies, dachshunds are curious and energetic and require structure from their guardians to prevent them from developing bad habits. For example, Dachshunds can often be very vocal and quick to react to stimuli. So it’s important to discourage these habits at an early age. Teaching your pup that calm and quiet is the best way to get your attention should be a high priority. It’s also important to teach your puppy that nipping and biting will not get your attention, but will in fact do the opposite. Any time your puppy nips or barks, find a way to remove attention by turning away, looking away, walking away, going into another room, or putting the dog in another room for a very brief 10-20 second time out. You should also consider keeping your Dachshund puppy on a light leash indoors when supervised until they are all grown up. You can use the leash to give timely and effective feedback if they nip or bark by holding the leash gently at arms length. Your pup doesn’t have access to you nor the environment or toys for about 10-20 seconds. This helps them learn that certain behaviors result in them losing access to what they want. 

You should also establish a schedule and begin training at an early age (as young as 8 weeks). In this way you focus on guiding your pup in the right direction from the start, rather than allowing unwanted behaviors to become habit and then having to work to extinguish those habits later. 

During this age, you will also want to focus on habituating your dachshund puppy to lots of different environments and stimuli. This simply means allowing for gradual and positive exposure to lots of things outside of the home so your pup is comfortable with the world at large and less likely to suffer from fear, anxiety, and related behavior issues like reactive barking.

This is also the time to provide your pup with loads of opportunities to meet calm and friendly people outside of the family. Adult Dachshunds can be discerning about who they feel comfortable with so they more you focus on early socialization, the better equipped your adult Dachsund will be to handle passing by and meeting all sorts of people and other animals. Like habituation, socialization will help decrease the likelihood of future reactive barking and other behavior problems.

House Training

Create a schedule based on your puppy’s age and a plan for where the puppy will be when you aren’t able to monitor them. This will help you to set a strong foundation for your new Dachshund’s potty training routine. As a general rule of thumb, most puppies are able to hold their bladders for about one hour per month that they are old during the day up to about the six month. Overnight puppies can hold their bladders approximately 5-7 hours. Given those guidelines, you can create a schedule that helps you to predict when your puppy is likely to need to potty. Your job will be to help your puppy get to their designated potty area to go when they need to. 

Using a crate can be a great tool for potty training. The crate will allow you to confine your puppy when you are both sleeping and when you are unable to monitor them. For the first several weeks (or months), while your puppy builds up confidence being home alone, you may need to adjust your schedule or hire a sitter if you are unable to be at home at those times when they need a potty break. Begin by feeding your pup in the crate and having them rest in there for very brief bits of time when you know they are tired. Immediately after resting in the crate for a reasonable amount of time, you know your pup will need to be taken to potty. This is why a crate is such a vital part of a good house training plan…it allows you to most accurately predict when your pup needs to eliminate.

When you bring your Dachshund to their potty spot, keep them on leash and try to pace back and forth in a small area for no more than 15 minutes. If they do not go, bring them back inside and hold them for 15 minutes and then try again. When your puppy does go to the bathroom in the correct spot, reward them lavishly with praise and a few tiny treats. This will teach them that going in the right place will result in them getting rewards and so will give them reason to go again in that spot in the future. 

Your puppy will need to potty if they have just woken up from a nap, about an hour after eating, after running around (because physical activity causes elimination activity), and if they have been excited (for example, by greeting someone). By tuning into your dachshund’s particular needs and schedule they tend to follow, taking them to the right place, and reinforcing successful potties, you will be able to get your pup potty trained in a reasonable amount of time.

Dachshund Puppy Teething

Teething usually occurs between the ages of three to six months and can be quite an uncomfortable period for puppies. Puppies do not chew out of anger or aggression, but merely as a way to self soothe. Puppies also often mouth while they play due to teething and because that’s what nature programmed them to do. When you have a teething dachshund puppy, there are a few things you can expect to see:

  • Chewing: Puppies at this age are inclined to chew as a way to alleviate the pain in their mouths from their new teeth coming in. In preparation for your dachshund puppy, be sure to “puppy proof” by putting away items that may be appealing but forbidden to the puppy. You may also want to block off areas of your home using gates. 
  • Loss of Appetite: Some puppies may experience a temporary loss of appetite during teething, as chewing and eating can be uncomfortable. If this occurs, consult your veterinarian on how to best proceed. 
  • Behavioral Changes: During this period, your puppy may become more irritable or restless due to the discomfort they’re experiencing as their bodies are changing. They might also be more prone to whining or seeking extra attention from their owners. As Dachshunds can be a vocal breed, it will be important to discourage vocalization from day one by being careful to not inadvertently reinforce this with talking to or petting your pup when they vocalize.
  • Missing teeth: Occasionally, you might find a tooth or you may see small spots of blood on your puppy’s toys as they lose teeth. This is typically from minor bleeding as the new teeth break through the gums. It’s normal, but it can be surprising and is good to be aware of ahead of time. 
  • Leash indoors: Use a leash indoors so that you have a way to better manage your puppy. If they nip you, hold your arm straight out and look away for 20 seconds and then let the puppy try engaging again. Help direct them towards appropriate behavior by practicing hand targeting, sits, downs, or stands, or give them an appropriate chew toy.

Dachshund Basic Training

Dachshunds are highly intelligent which means they are great at learning new behaviors. They are also incredibly determined and persistent when they have their minds set on something. This is why they are commonly referred to as having a stubborn streak. In reality, they aren’t stubborn, they just need your assistance to motivate them to play the training game with you. 

When beginning training, you will want to make sure that the work your Dachshund is doing pays well. A high rate of rewards and high value rewards to start is highly recommended. One your pup has a solid foundation of learning, you can go to a variable rate of rewarding and use a variety of rewards from low, to medium, to high value. Food and toys are usually the most valued rewards for a Dachshund.

When beginning training with your dachshund, start with impulse control behaviors such as leave it and stay which will promote calm and patient behaviors in the future. You will also want to begin to develop a basic vocabulary of behaviors that will allow you to communicate with your Dachshund. Starting with sit, down, and come when called are all great ideas for basic manners. You will also want to begin to teach your Dachshund how to walk on a loose leash. Loose leash walking requires patience and dedicated practice as Dachshunds are highly inquisitive and may be easily distracted by the smells, sights, and sounds on a walk.The trick is to make following you on leash a highly rewarding activity that your dog enjoys!

Dachshund Adulthood

Adult Dachshunds can be prone to obesity, so it’s important to continue to implement a daily exercise and enrichment routine. Doing so will keep their bodies and minds in shape. It is also very important to keep your Dachshund fit so they have the muscles needed to adequately support their long back. Dachshunds thrive in dog sports that involve using their sense of smell, such as nosework and barn hunt. Keeping your dachshund engaged in activities like these will ensure that they live long and healthy lives. 

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