Are Dachshunds Easy to Train?
Training dachshunds requires patience and firmness. Repeat: it requires patience and firmness. Dachshunds were bred for their strong independence and to make decisions on their own. Those strong traits remain today and while admirable, make them a very difficult breed to train.
As you begin your training keep in mind that you should keep training sessions very short, no more than 5 minutes at any one time. Repeat sessions 2 – 3 times a day. Small bits of food or treats are an excellent way to keep your independent dog interested in what’s going on. By religiously practicing exercises with tasty rewards and lots of praise, your dachshund can learn to walk on a leash, at your side without pulling. Your dog can learn to sit by your side when you stop walking and wait for you to begin. I know this sounds crazy, but you can do it.
It is easier to begin your training if you can start with a puppy. It’s also very easy if you’re not careful to make your dachshund absolutely hate training that it will be very difficult to ever correct.
Dachshund training can also be accomplished with an adult dog, but it will be a little more difficult, not impossible.
Have you ever thought about why it’s important to train your dog to be obedient and to know what is acceptable behavior and what is not? Most people think the biggest benefit of having a well-trained dog is that you don’t have to worry about your dog ruining your possessions You see, bad behavior control is a benefit, but it’s hardly the biggest benefit of having a well-trained dog.
- Dachshund Puppy training begins early
- Adult Dachshund training uses different techniques
- Housebreaking a Dachshund: Basic Tips And Techniques
- How To Crate Train A Dachshund
Basic Dog Training Equipments
Training a dachshund requires a fair bit of patience, firmness, and consistency, plus a few pieces of equipment. Here is the basic equipment you’ll need to begin an effective training program.
- A crate large enough for your dog to sit, lay down, stand, and turn around comfortably. The perfect solution in accommodating the growing puppy is to purchase a crate from a company that also sells partitions for that particular model, and then get one large enough to hold him comfortably at expected full growth. Do not try to hand-make your own partition. If it caves in and scares the pup, your chances of getting him to like his den will be greatly reduced.
- A crate pad and blanket
- Odor neutralizer for house-training
- Slip collar or harness
- A six-foot leash
- An empty pop can contain a few pennies with the opening taped shut
Probably the most asked question is what type of collar is best for training dachshunds? There are several answers to this question, but the real answer lies in what your dog responds to best.
The slip-type chain collar is the most often used type of training collar for dogs. It is especially useful in training large breeds, but because of the small breed size of the dachshund, the user has to be especially sensitive to the dog and not make any strong corrections when using this collar. A large dog can handle a strong pull on the leash attached to the slip collar, but a small breed dog can become intimidated by the slip collar and refuse to move forward with any training. Unless you’re extremely careful, and not prone to becoming frustrating in your training sessions, it might be best to use some type of harness.
A harness is not as effective as the slip collar in administering quick corrections necessary when training because the dog doesn’t feel the sudden jerk. Instead the dog is just lifted a bit with no discomfort which results in no correlation between his wrong action and the correction. However, when leash and harness corrections are combined with a loud distracting noise (the pop can with the pennies) and a strong NO! from the trainer, the results are approximately the same as using the slip collar.
Dachshund Training: Basic Tips
Training a dachshund requires a fair bit of patience, firmness, and consistency. Here are some exercises that will show you how to teach your dog what it should know to share your home with and to survive.
Try to limit training to about 5 minutes per session. Ideally, you should have 2 training sessions per day. 3 training sessions would be even better. With each session work on a different area at each session.
Basic dog obedience commands
The very basic dog obedience training begins with leash training and heeling. Heeling is when your dog can walk by your left side without running forward. Once these basic commands are learned you can move on to learn the following:
- Walking on the leash
- Sit and stay
- Down and stay
Training to use the leash
The first step in training is for your dachshund to learn the right way to be walked on a leash. Even if you never intend on taking your dog for a walk (I hope that’s not the case) you will have to take your dog to the vet at the very least.
If you have a young dachshund, they will be reluctant to have their freedom of movement restricted by the leash. Instead of having the leash associated with this reduction in movement, teach your dog that the leash is a way of being with you and of going new places with you. In time the leash will come to mean a direct link to the master—an enjoyable event that your dog will become quite excited about whenever they hear the familiar jingle of the leash.
In the initial leash training sessions, always do them in familiar places in a playful way. Keep these initial sessions very brief. The following assumes that you have already introduced your dog to a well-fitted collar.
After hooking up the leash to the collar, let your dog lead you, and don’t pull on the leash or tug at it. If the leash tightens and your dog starts resisting, loosen up and speak in a soothing tone. Always remain calm, but firm, and in control of your own emotions.
Start walking forward, encourage your dog to follow. When they do, praise them and give them a quick stroke along their side or pat their side. Avoid tapping them on the head.
If your dog resists violently to the least despite all your coaxing, you’ll have to gently pull the dog to you very carefully while saying good dog. When it finally comes, reward it with a little treat.*
Once your dog feels comfortable on the leash you can proceed to other basic training activities.
OBJECTIVE: When done correctly the proper position for walking on the leash is to have the dog walking on your left side, close to your left leg. The dog should not be allowed to run ahead nor lag behind or dart off no matter what distractions occur. Use a leash and slip collar.
Start with the slip collar and leash attached correctly. Hold the leash in your right hand. Stand next to your dog so you are both facing forward. Your dog will be on your left. Start walking forward slowly in a straight line leading off with your left leg. Always begin walking with your left leg as this will become a visual signal to your dog to move forward. You can also gently slap your left thigh with your left hand. As soon as your dog starts pulling on the leash, stop and pull the leash back towards you. Don’t drag the dog back. Just stop. Wait until the dog stops, praise him and then continue walking. No command is necessary for now, you’re just teaching some basic manners. Each time you start out again, always start with your left leg and slap your left thigh. As this exercise is mastered, add the verbal command “heel”.
Continue with this in short 5-minute intervals, several times a day. In less than a week your dog will be walking at your side comfortably without bolting ahead.
TIMID, SUBMISSIVE or NERVOUS DOGS
Dachshund Training: Advanced Training Methods
Your dog should obey any command that you give him within two or three seconds, if he does not obey you then he is either ignoring you, which means that your position as alpha leader is under threat, or he doesn’t understand the command and requires further training.
If he responds to your command in some situations and not others then it’s likely that he’s just ignoring you. To prevent this from happening use the “No-Command” method. This method has three steps.
- Use something to alarm your dog, such as a squirt from a water pistol or shaking a pebble-filled can. Make sure you do this while he is in the act of misbehaving or ignoring you.
- At the same time say a loud “No!” or “Bad”. Use a stern voice so your dog recognizes the difference in tone from your normal voice. It’s important the voice correction is sincere and delivery is consistent so your dog associates the harsh word with stopping their immediate behavior.
- Redirect your dog with the command.
Remember that when you give a command it’s helpful for you to be in a position to make sure your dog physically does what is asked and is able to take the corrective action immediately.
Sit and stay command
The Sit and Stay command is an important command to learn.
The Sit and Stay command increases your dog self discipline and prevents distractions from sidetracking him, such as other cats and dogs.
Once you have him sitting steadily, gradually increase the time you require him to stay sitting. Stand next to your dog all the while, but don’t make him wait too long or he’ll become fidgety. When he’ll comfortably sit at your side and not attempt to move, go on to the next stage.
- Place your dog on the leash and place him in the Sit position with you standing at his right shoulder. You’ll both be facing the same direction.
- Give the command “Stay” and step one step away to the right while still holding the leash. If your dog attempts to get up or follow you, gently push him back into the Sit position. It may be useful to use a flat open hand (with your left hand) as a signal to enforce the command.
- Hold this position for 4-5 seconds before moving back to your dog’s side. At this stage, don’t let him get up or move from the Sit position for another few seconds. Then release him with the “Okay” command and praise him.
This final step ensures that he’ll learn to maintain his position and prevent him from attempting to greet you when you move towards him.
Once he’s used to and correctly completes Stage I, then progress further by stepping forwards rather than to the side.
- Make sure that you are holding the leash.
- Give a clear instruction of “Stay” before you move forward.
- Normal heeling involves you starting off with your left leg. This is your dog’s key to follow. For the Sit Stay command, you need to leash off with the right leg. This can be a difficult progression for your dog to learn as he may assume that you want him to heel so it’s important for you to use the correct leg movement consistently.
When he has mastered this stage you can try using these variations.
In this stage you’ll increase the distance you move away from your dog until eventually, you move far enough that you can leave the leash on the ground.
You can also gradually increase the length of time that you get him to stay with the end target being four or five minutes.
If at any time he does not respond properly to your Stay command then move back a stage in the progression until he re-masters it fully. If he’s not responding well to extended Stays then you might wish to try placing a stake in the ground and putting the free end of the leash over it. Command your dog to sit by the stake with you by his side. Give the command to Stay and then walk away. If your dog breaks and tries to come towards you then chastise him immediately and restart the exercise. Eventually, you should be able to remove the stake.
Most dogs can learn this command easily.
- Place your dog in the Sit position.
- Use the command “Shake” at the same time as grasping your dogs paw.
- Repeat the command while shaking your dog’s paw.
- Release him with “Okay” and then praise him.
It shouldn’t take long for your dog to volunteer his paw to you when you say “shake.”
Jump through your arms
Chances are that your dog will love doing this command. Jumping is when you get your dog to jump through your arms when you have formed them into a circular shape. For a dachshund, you’ll obviously want to keep your arms low to the round.
- Put a low barrier across a doorway or gateway so that your dog has to jump over it to reach the other side. I’ve found an adjustable shower rod in a doorway works great.
- Make him Sit and Wait for you on one side of the barrier. Call him to you from the opposite side of the barrier. As your dog is about to take off over the barrier say the command “Jump”.
- Praise him when he successfully jumps the barrier.
When he has successfully completed this maneuver ten to fifteen times, move on to the next stage.
For this part, you’ll need someone else to help out.
- Kneel beside the barrier with your arms formed into a large arc, but without your hands touching.
- Your willing assistant calls the dog to come and jump over the barrier and your lower arm at the same time. Remember: say “Jump” when the dog takes off.
- With each jump, slowly close in your arms together so that they eventually form a completed circle.
- Remove the barrier and complete a few more jumps.
You may need to use food as an incentive for this exercise, if you do use treats, as soon as your dog starts responding to your Jump command, decrease the treats and increase verbal praises and hugs. Complete the entire procedure twice per day for five or six days.
Training your dog is an absolute necessity
A well-trained dog is truly a joy to live with. An untrained dog can be a real nightmare. If you fall in the latter, you know what I mean, but there’s still hope, no matter how old your old dog’s tricks are.
Without training, you’re actually putting your dog at risk, especially if there are any dangerous areas in or around your home and who doesn’t live next to a street that has traffic? Our little 4 legged friends are very strong-willed, more so than most other dogs. That’s why strength training is an absolute necessity.
I’m a firm believer in training, and I thought we had covered all the basics and then some. She was about 6 six years old, she always came when called, followed all the basic obedience commands, yet she loved to chase squirrels. One day we had just come home from a short trip that she had accompanied me. We had pulled into the garage and had not yet shut the overhead door. I had sat her down on the floor and was turning to close the car door when she spotted a squirrel in the front yard. In less time than it took for me to close that door, she was off chasing the squirrel. We have a lot of trees in the front yard that that squirrel could have gone up for safety, but instead, it darted across the street. Now our street isn’t a busy road by any means. It’s just your ordinary neighborhood street. On this particular Sunday morning there happened to be just one car on the road, but it was enough. The squirrel ran free, but my dog never saw the car and was gone forever.
The point is that no matter how much you train your dog, there’s always more you can do and continue to do. Training takes a great deal of time, patience, and firmness (for you and your dog).
Here are a few basic rules of dog training to give you some idea of what’s involved:
- Start today if you haven’t already. Dog training should begin the first day of the dog’s arrival, no matter what the age of you or your dog.
- Housebreaking is the first thing to learn. Whether your dog is a puppy or one that has some age, housebreaking will need to be introduced and practiced until it’s mastered. Additional training can wait for puppies until they reach their 3rd month.
- Training is based on the alpha leader principle. That is: there is one authority in the house—you! Your dog must understand that you are the authority figure. You must set clear limits for the dog and you MUST insist that the dog acknowledge you as the alpha leader. If you fail to establish this relationship, your dog will just refuse to obey.
- Be consistent. Always use the same words in your training. That’s the only way your dog can begin to understand what your sounds mean. For example: Come, sit, stay, no! Don’t say “Come here,” one time and whistle the next, and then “Come.”
- Reward and punishment. Always follow commands with one or the other. Punishment can be in the form of no reward or treat, or a verbal punishment—usually in the form of a sharp “no.” Don’t use the dog’s name when handing out punishment. Always use the dog’s name with a reward. This reward-punishment system establishes a connection in the dog’s mind for the events immediately preceding the event. Use a gentle voice for praise, a stern voice for scolding. The dog must learn that a short, stern “no” means something and requires an immediate change in action. Punishment should not include yelling and never hitting. Punish a dog by picking it up by the scruff of the neck and shake it only briefly. This DOES NOT mean to pick up the dog clear off the ground and shake it violently.
- Provide plenty of activity and exercise for your dog. They will enjoy the challenges associated with training if they also have plenty of time to play with you. In other words, don’t make all of your contact with the dog just training. There is training time and playtime.
Dog training requires patience and firmness to be effective. It also requires consistency. This is especially true if you have multiple family members. It’s just as important to train everyone in the family on how to handle the dog so that everyone is on the same page, especially the dog.