Regardless of size or type, you will only be able to control a Dachshund’s weight and strengthen their back using two methods, exercise, and diet. A puppy, elder dog, and those with underlying health concerns should have less physical activity and be minimally capable than a high-energy or healthy adult dog.
These are not meant to be sedentary animals but instead physically and mentally stimulated both indoors and outdoors with varied activities to keep their interest.
What Amount Of Exercise Does A Dachshund Need With Each Stage Of Life?
Those new to pet parenting Dachshunds need to learn how to exercise the dogs from an early age and what activities are safe for their unique body structure. Engaging in too little exercise puts the animal at risk of becoming overweight, a significant hazard for the back for a dog already prone to IVDD or Intervertebral Disk Disease.
However, over-exercising as a puppy poses a risk to the animal’s physical development. A dog’s needs will change with each stage of life, as you can see below.
How Much Exercise Does a Dachshund Puppy(0-12 months of age) Need?
When a dachshund hasn’t fully developed, the recommendation is to exercise the pup roughly five minutes per month of age. Play will consist of household activities or romping in the backyard until approximately six months before you gradually move to take walks.
You don’t need to be growing tired of working up the sweat so don’t judge based on that. This little puppy is getting a workout. Some pet parents believe they need to start with walking their pups for extended periods immediately, but it’s essential to build up gradually to set the stage for the full-grown Doxie.
How Much Exercise Does an Adult Dachshund (1-7 years of age) Need?
Whether you have a standard or mini Dachshund will determine the level of exercise to a degree. A standard Dachshund needs roughly 60 minutes each day, while a mini would require only half of that at around 30 minutes.
The indication is that growth plates close once the dog becomes fully developed by the age of one, so there’s less chance for over-exercising like when the pup was still growing.
That means your dog can be as active as its energy allows whether she wants to engage in household or backyard playtime or take longer than usual walks.
That doesn’t mean to push activities; let the animal rest when she becomes tired. The Dachshund will let you know when they’re ready to call it a day.
How Much Exercise Does an Elder Dachshund (7+ years of age) Need?
The Dachshund will begin to slow down at this age. The suggestion is still to keep the animal moving at approximately 30 minutes each day for the ideal muscle and bone strength. Walks should hold to a couple of brief outings or perhaps the usual option at a slower pace.
What Are Some Exercises To Do With Your Dachshund Each Day?
Given the Dachshund’s history, as a hunting dog bred to sniff out its prey and dig into its habitat, the dog is a high-energy, active pup in need of roughly 60 minutes of exercise each day as a full-grown, healthy dog (standard – mini 30 minutes.) Recommendations for an exercise regimen for the animal include:
- Mental and physical stimulation
- High Intensity, Purposeful Activities
- Regular Walks Each Day
How To Walk A Dachshund Each Day
A daily walk with a high-energy Dachshund is essential for the breed to help release some of that energy and help with mental stimulation as the pup engages with her surroundings – the smells, sights, and sounds plus the other dogs and people.
You can break it into twice each day or one long walk, but it should equal roughly 30 to 45 minutes minimum.
How far can a dachshund walk? A Dachshund can walk as much as five to even 10 miles in a day, but it’s essential to pay attention when she grows exhausted. The Dachshund will warn you with her body language. Educate on the signs so you know when exhaustion has set in.
You’ll learn, though, that most adult Dachshunds including minis can walk as far as you take them, considering their fitness level, health status, and once you help them develop stamina for distances. The pup will be content to walk on until she gets tired and she will tell you when that point comes. Be prepared.
Can A Dachshund Run Healthily?
If you engage in jogging or running activities, a Dachshund doesn’t have the stamina to participate as a running partner for long distances. The animal can grow tired rapidly.
The activity deems exceptionally high-impact, meaning it can strain joints considerably, risking resulting back injuries. For a Doxie, running and playing in the backyard is enjoyable. These guys can run super-fast but not far, like short bursts, and then take a break.
High-Intensity, Purposeful Activities
The Dachshund needs other activities that can stimulate their mind, preventing boredom, causing behavioral issues. A bored Dachshund can be a destructive Dachshund.
The best activities for the Doxie will cater to their inherent athleticism, brilliance, and hunting instinct. These don’t merely burn energy but enrich the animal since she feels she has work to complete.
- Toys: Toys for a Dachshund need to cater to their natural instincts, being strong, solid, and durable since the dog has a distinct prey drive and desire to dig, plus you need to respond to their need for stimulation for a high level of intelligence.
- Diggers: As hunters, Dachshunds would dig to get to the habitat of their prey. It can prove problematic in the household or the garden. Toys need to help constructively direct that instinct. Specific toys (Digg or Snuffle Rug) are designed for the digging dog to uncover special treasures hidden inside the toy. These are ideal for mental stimulation and burning energy.
- Fetch: Dachshunds generally love to chase the ball or toy and are willing to fetch for far more throws than you wish to toss. This activity will get them running in the backyard but watch for signs of fatigue.
Mental stimulation is as crucial for pups as physical stimulation, especially for dogs like the Dachshund, who are highly intelligent. If not given a chance to challenge their mental capacity, the animal will seek ways to do so independently, generally in destructive behavior.
That can include digging, excess barking, escaping, and much more. Mind stimulation can tire a pup as much as physical exercise, often not enough to do the trick in burning all the necessary built-up energy. That’s why a combination of the two is so essential. Some methods include:
Puzzle Toys: Brilliant dogs like the Dachshund enjoy puzzle toys because they challenge their mental capacity and problem-solving abilities. Most animals in the breed can figure these out with ease, so you’ll want to look for more complex options.
Games (Scenting/Nose): Using the nose for stimulation to play scent games is ideal for this breed whose instinct is for that kind of challenge when searching for prey.
Chew Toys: Durable chew toys are a perfect option for occupying a Dachshund’s busy mind. Endorphins released through chewing create relaxation for the dog since most breeds hold tension in the jaws.
Food Enrichment: Mealtime can be an opportunity to provide enrichment by offering activities that allow the dog to work for their meal. When the Dachshund’s food or even the entire environment for that matter gives an element of interest or is more engaging, there’s little opportunity for boredom but more outstanding options for mental activity. Hence, the puppy is always active in some way.
How Do You Know If You’ve Over-Exercised Your Dachshund?
Any dog has the potential to be over-exercised. Doing so can have severe results like injured tendons, muscles, or joints, possible heat stroke/overheating, with the potential for collapse. It’s essential that a pet parent watch for warning signs that your Dachshund has had too much activity for one session. Some symptoms to be watching for:
- Exhaustion with extended recovery time.
- Panting excessively while working and long after
- Exceptional thirst
- Dragging behind when usually leading
- Sore and stiff muscles
- Unable to focus/signs of confusion
- Overly tired, lying down, or sleeping much more than what’s typical
If you notice these signs or symptoms, the animal’s exercise should decrease for several days or longer. If you’re uncomfortable massaging or performing “range of motion” exercises to help loosen the joints and muscles, consult with the vet who can instruct you. You can also use a heating pad which will help to soothe aching muscles.
What are Exercises To Keep Dachshund’s Back Strong?
Dachshund back problems are prevalent in the breed with their unusual body structures. When you recognize a few common signs that your pup is having issues, a visit to the vet is warranted to ensure there isn’t a severe issue happening. Some warnings to be aware of include:
- Wobbly: IVDD is a serious issue common in the Dachshund, and an unsteady walk is a typical sign that a pup is suffering from this condition. The vet can easily rule this out with a quick exam, but it needs addressing quickly.
- Appetite: Changes in activity and appetite, especially if the animal refuses to eat, are red flags either that she is ill or in pain.
- Hunched down: If the Dachshund hunches her back muscles, it’s an indication of pain. There could also be indications of spasm if you watch closely, another possible sign of IVDD.
- Incontinence: Severe back problems, including IVDD, can lead a pup to lose control of the bladder and bowel.
Back pain is not an automatic diagnosis of Intervertebral Disc Disease. There could be an injury from landing after a jump in a poor position or perhaps lack of exercise.
Swimming is an excellent way to strengthen the back and improve overall balance for the pup. Swimming can burn an incredible amount of energy and engage each muscle group, particularly the shoulder and front legs. It’s not considered high-impact, making it ideal for the Dachshund since there’s no strain on the back or tendons and joints.
There is a misperception that Dachshunds dislike the water, but plenty of members of the Doxie breed enjoy swimming. The animals do need monitoring all while performing the activity due to the short legs tiring rapidly.
Once exhaustion and fatigue set in, the dog can sink, potentially drowning. The recommendation is to allow roughly 10 minutes of activity which will equate to an approximately 60-minute walk, and don’t forget to use a Dachshund life jacket for safety purposes. The precaution keeps the animal afloat once she becomes fatigued.
Backward walking is another option since Dachshunds generally ignore their back legs. If you train the dog to walk backward, it promotes awareness and helps the pup to rely more on the back legs improving full mobility in the body and helping again with overall balance.
Use a treat to gain the animal’s attention with it held in front of her, slowly moving the treat backward, keeping the dog’s focus. In this way, the pup will put more weight on the back legs as they move slowly backward.
Balance Disk: Balance disks are relatively inexpensive props you can use for this exercise to help strengthen your Dachshunds back. The treat will be hidden in your hands while you place the animal’s front paws on the disk center. Each paw will be on the side of the center beside the center ball of the disk.
Expose the treat in front of the dog’s face out of reach and higher than her head, so the animal needs to put weight on the back legs with a heads-up, attentive posture holding that position for roughly 2 minutes before rewards. Then repeat the exercise a couple of times each session.
You’re probably wondering what the best type of exercise is for your Dachshund, and that’s a subjective question, one that you need to work out with your specific dog.
Each one will have a preference for her own activity. Some will prefer swimming, others will like their walks the best, but there will be those who enjoy the mind-stimulating activities more.
It genuinely depends on the Dachshund. The priority is ensuring that you’re engaging the Doxie’s mind and body in every way every day.