How to Train a Dachshund
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How to Train a Dachshund

Training a dachshund puppy is quite similar to training any other dog breed. The majority of professionals suggest using positive reinforcement and tons of encouragement as incentives. There are the basics that you do, such as potty training, obedience training, crate training, and more, but there are some things that you should not train a dachshund to do during the training sessions. Try not to make them jump too much, and the reason is due to their unique stature that is an elongated body and shorter limbs.

We’ll touch on all the basic training, tricks that can make the process easier to help dachshund owners around the world. Let’s get started!

Are Dachshunds Easy to Train?

Are Dachshunds Easy to Train?
Image by Katrinbechtel from Pixabay

The first thing going through your mind when you first bring a dachshund puppy home or if you are considering one is if they are easy to train. To answer this question in as much depth as possible, we will need to take a trip back in time, back to when Dachshunds were first bred.

Also referred to as a Doxie, records show that this adorable canine was first introduced back in the 15th century, as hunters if you can believe it. Their origin is interesting because you wouldn’t think a dog with a longer body is very agile and mobile, but you would be shocked at how fast these little creatures can run.

Many hunting breeds are considered more difficult to train. This stems from their inherent nature to be very determined to reach a goal and their prey drive. When their natural instincts take over, Dachshunds are not very easy to train. Of course, this will vary from dog to dog as they all have different personalities.

Other general personality traits this breed exhibits include intelligence and independence. These traits paired together could give dachshund owners the misconception that the dog is difficult to train, but it can make it easier to train them if you know what to do. Like some other stubborn breeds such as the Siberian husky, dachshunds need to know what they’re working for.

A flash of a treat or their favorite toy will go a long way with your dachshund puppy. They feel a sense of accomplishment when you’re pleased, which is due to their perseverance, but we’ll be honest and say your dog is more likely working for the treat than for you. But hey, as long as it works, right?

Dachshunds are very eager to learn. It doesn’t matter if you have a puppy on your hands or an adult Dachshund, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Tips for Training Your Dachshund

Dachschund treat during training
Image by Kyle Mackie from Unsplash

Before we get into the individual training, we need to equip you with the knowledge needed to make training sessions more pleasurable.

Use Positive Reinforcement above All Else

As we said before, always use positive reinforcement for training. We do not condone punishment training, and especially anything that could harm your dog or traumatize them emotionally and mentally. Don’t use force, use incentive. The key is to get your dog to want to do what you want and trust you. In a way, you can look at it as using their love for you to your advantage.

What you don’t want is to scare your Doxie, harm him, or make him associate you with anything negative. The positive reinforcement usually comes in the form of a treat – a treat they cannot say no to.

You need to have the best, the juiciest, the most flavorful, and irresistible treat in your arsenal. What this is will depend on each pup, as they all like different things. We have found that meaty treats have worked the best for training sessions. The reward you choose should only appear during training. It should not be offered to your dachshund for no reason.

Related: Benefits of Positive Dog Training

Limiting exposure to the training incentive will make your dachshund puppy appreciate it more when he finally gets it. It will also encourage him to work harder in order to obtain it. These irresistible treats are referred to as “high-value” by experts and should be withheld from everyday encouragements.

Since the time your dog gets to spend with the high-value treat is limited, there is less of a chance he may become tired of it. However, this is always a possibility we want to prevent, so try to keep a few of these treats in rotation. There is also the rare case when a dachshund puppy is not motivated by food. In this case, their favorite toy or a round of their favorite playtime game will do the trick.

Create an Ideal Training Environment

Create an Ideal Training Environment
Image by Dominika Roseclay from Unsplash

Not only should training also follow a consistent format, but it should also be done in a space free from distractions. This is less of an issue if your dachshund puppy is not easily triggered. If you have a reactive fur baby, then you will need to take the extra step to ensure the training area is free and clear from triggers.

Doing so could entail closing all the blinds and windows and setting up in a room with only you and your dog. None of his toys or other treats should be allowed in the area aside from the ones you are using to motivate him. Audio distractions such as a loud TV, and family members laughing right outside the door should also be avoided.

You don’t want to give your dog any excuse to take his attention off of you, your command, and his reward.

Don’t Overdo It

All dog breeds, including Dachshunds, will reach mental exhaustion at some point. There is only so long a dog can keep focused before they get tired, irritable and annoyed. The key to avoiding this is to know when to stop. Keep the obedience training short, and the tricks even shorter. When we say short, we mean around 5-10 min at most. If your dachshund is constantly frustrated from training, then he will be less and less inclined to keep up with it.

Keeping the sessions short doesn’t mean you can’t train a dachshund multiple times throughout the day. In fact, it’s preferred to have shorter but more frequent training sessions than one long one.

How do you know if your dog is tired? Pay close attention to his body language. He may start to whimper, growl and maybe even bark. If they start wandering off or nipping at your hands and jumping for your attention, then it’s a good time to stop and catch your breath.

It’s all about Consistency and Patience

It's all about Consistency and Patience
Image by vmdj2002 from Pixabay

Professional trainers can’t say this enough. You must be patient when training your dachshund, and you must be consistent. Dogs are not as intelligent as humans sometimes, and they can get confused about what you want them to do, especially if your methods are changing. You might choose to use a clicker one day and a code word the next, but this will just confuse your dachshund puppy.

You must also be prepared for constant repetition when training your dachshund puppy. Dogs require tons of practice and usually won’t master something in just a few days. You should be geared towards the long haul and set time out every day to do some training.

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We also don’t recommend teaching your Dachshund puppy everything you want him to know all at once. There is almost no way he will be able to discern and master more than a few commands at the same time. If you are doing a series, try to change up the order so your dog understands which codeword is for which command.

For example, if you want to teach your dog to roll over, the process starts with learning how to sit, then go down, and then comes the roll. Ideally, you would assign a word to each movement. Sit means to sit down, lie, or down means to go on their bellies, and roll means to roll over. If you always do things in this order, your dog might not associate the correct word for the corresponding movement. He may just end up thinking that it’s one single routine.

Socialize Them

Socializing your dachshund puppy is a great way to help them develop into wholesome and well-rounded adults. Let them get to know what a car ride is, the grass, the trees, the other animals and humans that inhabit the neighborhood, and more. Spend the first few months of your dachshund puppy’s life introducing him to new things.

This will make training easier in the long run as your dog won’t be easily distracted, enticed, and he also won’t act up when he sees something that excites him.

What do I Need to Get Started?

What do I Need to Get Started?
Image by Nicooografie from Pixabay

We talked about treats as the number one prize for mastering a command, but we’ll go into more detail about the kinds of treats we recommend and what to avoid. We’ll also suggest a few other training tools that can help your dachshund puppy master potty training and more.

High-Value Treats

We talked about meaty high-value treats, but make sure to only give your dog bits at a time. Many protein-rich treats are not the most slimming. It’s important to take into account your dog’s regular diet and carve out a portion of the daily allowance for training. Tiny treats are very low in caloric content, even if they are made from freeze-dried real meat.

Another high-value treat that can be very healthy is human food. Many people frown upon giving your dog human food, but there are plenty of options that are very good for your dog. Even if it’s something like broccoli, which is famously disliked by some kids, your dog will find it novel and interesting.

Some excellent human-grade high-value treat options are carrots, celery, apples, blueberries among others. Make sure you don’t feed your dog too much at once and start by giving them just a little to see how they react.

Related: Health Benefits of Dog Treats

Finding the right treat will take trial and error, but you will eventually figure out what’s palatable for your dog.

Avoid treats that contain a lot of artificial ingredients, additives, flavors, and coloring. It also pays to know what’s harmful and shouldn’t be fed to a dog. Some human foods dogs should avoid include onions and chocolate. Steer clear of rewards with rawhide as well.

A Clicker

A clicker is optional, but we know many dog trainers that swear by it. When used correctly, the clicking sound will notify your dog that he’s doing the right action right when he does it. You can, of course, choose to use your words. Clickers can eventually be phased out when your dog understands what’s expected of him.

Important Types of Training for Your Dachshund Puppy

Dachshund puppy on a hammock
Image by Erda Estremera from Unsplash

How you want to raise your dachshund is completely up to you. Some dog parents love to let their puppy sleep with them in the bed well into adulthood, while others would like a quiet space to themselves that is free of their pup. Different households will set different rules for their dachshund puppy, but there are common threads that permeate them all. We’ll take a look at the essential types of training every dog owner should be aware of.

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Potty Training

We really don’t have to go into every detail bout why potty training is important. Train your dachshund puppy as early as possible. The longer you allow your puppy to go wherever he pleases, the harder it will be to break the habit later on. Unfortunately for Doxie lovers, potty training a dachshund can be more difficult. This does not mean it is impossible by any means, but you may be to be just a tad more patient.

The beginning is the most difficult when your puppy needs to go every 20 min. You will need to have a designated spot for your dachshund puppy to go, whether it’s indoors on a puppy pad or outdoors in your yard. You will need to take your dog to the spot right after he eats and drinks and plays. Do not let up until he does his business. Over time, he will understand that is where he goes to relieve himself.

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If you do see him soiling the wrong spot, you must catch him in the act, stop him halfway if you need to. Scold him loudly and take him to the right spot. If you catch him in the middle of the act, don’t let him leave the right spot until he finishes his business. If you catch him right when he’s finished, you will still need to take him to the spot and let him know that’s the correct pee-pee area.

Do not punish your dog, especially if you find the urine or feces a while after the fact. Punishing them at that point will only instill confusion as your dog won’t know why. The best time to teach them is during or right after the event.

Crate Training

Crate Training
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Crate training is the ultimate way to keep your sanity as new dachshund puppy parents. However, it will take quite a bit of time and patience to enjoy the benefits. The crate’s role in your dog’s life is to be his “room” his safe spot and his safe haven. It’s a place that he will ideally find comforting and he will eventually not put up any resistance to being inside.

As said, it will take time to break the crying and the want to come out. Don’t leave them in there for too long. Start the process slowly by letting them inspect the crate, eventually going inside with the door still open, and then closing the door for short periods and extend from there. Don’t forget to take advantage of his favorite high-value treats to make things interesting for him.

Crate training is also very handy when you need to leave the house and your dachshund puppy is still in the destructive phase. It’s also good when you need some time to yourself and not have your puppy hound you for attention every minute of the day. It’s especially useful if you are doing something that could be dangerous with a rambunctious puppy n the house such as cooking.

Because you want your puppy to love the crate, do not use it as punishment. You don’t want your dachshund puppy to hate the space, because then he will never stop complaining, crying, and whimpering when he’s left in there. Luckily, dachshund puppies are not as destructive and strong as other breeds such as a German Shepherd or Siberian husky, which is notorious for their escape artistry.

Obedience Training

Obedience training is what we have addressed in the first part of the article. It’s the type of training where a dachshund puppy responds to your commands. Obedience training is necessary to keep your dog in check and sometimes even keep them safe.

Simple commands you must teach your pup include: sit, stay, heel, and come. You can also incorporate other commands you personally think are vital to your dog. Don’t forget that positive reinforcement is key and never forget to motivate your dog with encouraging words.

Leash Training

Brown Dachshund on leash training
Image by Claudio Schwarz from Unsplash

Leash training can be lumped in with obedience training, but we decided to take a section out to focus on it. To behave while on a walk with a harness and leash is one of the most basic skills your dog needs to have. Every single dog breed in the world requires exercise, and your Dachshund is no different. Your new puppy will be curious about this long accessory that is attached to his back.

He may want to inspect it, which is okay, and he may want to yank, bite and pull, which are not okay. You eventually want your Dachshund to see the leash as a part of him on walks and have it fade into the background. This can be done easily because he will most likely be very busy exploring the world around him.

The few times he does glance up and bite at the leash, you can use the word “no” or any other codeword you associate with negativity to correct him. Accepting the leash is one thing but learning how to walk nicely without tugging and pulling will take extra work.

One of the things you can do to make your dachshund easy to train on a leash is to pick the right harness. Harnesses that clip on the front are known as “no-pull harnesses”, and they discourage pullers on walks. Taking part in puppy classes will also help you learn the basics of this and you can participate in real-world training exercises that can help your dachshund learn quickly.

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Puppy Classes

Speaking of puppy classes, we thought we would give a shout-out to the puppy training classes offered by trainers and pet store chains. You can take your pick from group classes or one-on-one for the more difficult pups, but the benefit of these training classes extends beyond just training. Being around other pups is a great form of socialization and it helps your dog learn better because he will learn to tune out the distraction.

We have also seen pups become competitive and want to outdo each other to win the rewards. This is adorable behavior, but sometimes it won’t translate to good behavior in the house or on a walk just with you. Puppy classes are also affordable ways to get your puppy acclimated to life in general, and it’s a great way for you to bond with your dachshund.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you discipline a dachshund?

The way you discipline a dachshund is quite similar to any other dog breed. The dachshund owner will show discontent and voice their displeasure. Depending on the type of mishap that’s happened, the following actions will vary. If it’s a potty training accident, then you must take your dachshund to the correct spot immediately.

Do not laugh, smile, or do anything that will show your dog that it’s funny or cute. You want him to understand the gravity of the situation, and dogs are sensitive enough to pick up on these subtleties.

Why are Dachshunds so hard to potty train?

Dachshunds are hard to potty train because of their nature. Like other hunting dogs and curious fur babies in general, your Dachshund may want to spend more time during the potty break sniffing and exploring than doing the deed. It doesn’t matter if you plan on potty training outdoors, indoors or both, it may take a bit longer to potty train your dachshund.

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Can dachshunds be left alone during the day?

Yes, dachshunds can be left alone during the day, as most dogs can. What will make them less ideal candidates to have free reign of the house is their personality. Strong, independent and obedient dachshunds are easy to train, and can generally handle being by themselves.

Clingy dachshund left alone inside a car
Image by Niki Sanders from Unsplash

However, you also have the more clingy types that suffer from separation anxiety and can be prone to destruction. In this case, it’s best to leave your dachshund in his crate if you’re not around. This is not only to protect your home from being torn apart, but it’s also for your dog’s safety.

At what age do Dachshunds calm down?

It will take about a year for your dachshund puppy to calm down. We get asked this question a lot, and the answer is most dogs will calm down when they reach maturity. It’s about a year for Doxies but it can reach 2 years for some other breeds. We must also stress that calming down doesn’t mean your dog won’t have his or her playful bouts, but their demeanor for the most part will be a lot calmer.

Why do Dachshunds cry so much?

Dachshunds are considered more clingy and needy dogs, with some becoming certified Velcro dogs. You will see this common tendency within pack dogs, the ones that are less independent. They are also very loyal dogs and can develop a special bond with just one person, who will take the brunt of all his affection. This can be a positive and negative thing because your Doxie won’t ever want to leave your side, which can manifest in the form of separation anxiety and lead to other issues.

How do you pick up a dachshund?

We usually pick up dogs via their armpits or lift them up by the chest. Due to the unique structure of your dachshund and his elongated spine, doing so can be damaging. For a dachshund, you must do it the second way, by lifting his chest, but make sure you cradle his lower body as well. No matter how you hold him, always make sure his entire torso is supported.

Conclusion

Congrats on your new dachshund puppy! Or if you have a mature rescue, we’re glad you visited us to get the low down on how to train your dachshund. Keep in mind that positive reinforcement, consistency, and patience are the golden keys to unlocking the potential for a well-behaved pup. We know it can be taxing at times and we sympathize, but basic training is necessary for safety, sanity, health, and happy coexistence.

Expert Tip

Try not to let your Dachshund’s weight get out of hand. Because of their stature, a heavier dachshund will have a protruding belly that can get very heavy. Since they are “stout” dogs, their bellies can drag on the ground and/or cause extra strain for their spines that can result in health issues.

Did You Know?

Did you know that dachshunds come in two sizes? This is a fact not commonly known to other dog owners. There is the standard and the miniature dachshund. The standard can get up to 35 pounds, which is quite substantial. The smaller mini Doxies are around 10 pounds.

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