🔄 Updated on November 18th, 2022
Dachshunds are one of those breeds with tried and true breed loyalists. Like Corgi owners and Pug owners, we Dachshund owners have our own subsection of the population that obsess over the sausage dogs.
Our love of Dachshunds isn’t just aesthetic, either. Dachshunds are dogs with tons of love to give to their family, with boundless energy and intense, occasionally fanatic loyalty. Like any dog, however, Dachshunds won’t just magically pop into your home as the ideal companion.
As humans, we need to teach our canine friends how to behave in our homes. Things like potty training and bark management are no-brainers, but there are other useful (and in some cases life-saving) kinds of training that are essential for your new Dachshund to learn. So, how do you go about training a Dachshund puppy?
Are Dachshunds Easy to Train?
Are dachshunds easy to train? The short answer is no. Dachshunds are relatively complex pups to train. In a recent assessment by a canine psychologist, Dachshunds earned a place in the fourth of six tiers of dogs’ ability to learn and repeat a command that is given to them.
What makes Dachshunds challenging to train? The first and most important reason that training any dog is tricky is that we humans often don’t know how to communicate appropriately with our pets.
Unlike with human-to-human interaction, our words mean virtually nothing when trying to train a Dachshund puppy. We need to use our tone of voice and body language to show the Dachshund what we expect while developing a reward system that praises good behavior.
Specific Difficulties of Training a Dachshund Puppy
Dachshunds are dogs with a very powerful nose, a strong prey drive, and a reputation for being a bit stubborn. This reputation means that on walks, for example, it can be challenging to get your Dachshund to do what you want. Untrained Dachshunds on walks may pull when they’re not supposed to, stop when you don’t want them to, and bark at any stimuli.
Speaking of barking, this is one of the most common complaints about a Dachshund puppy. With a big dog bark in a small dog body, Dachshunds make excellent guard dogs, but untrained Doxies can overwhelm their owners with the sheer frequency and volume of their powerful yaps.
Dachshunds are also diggers — owners with lovely lawns need to work with their Dachshund on where and when digging is appropriate. Finally, as purebred dogs, Dachshunds are prone to some health issues that training can help alleviate.
With their unique shape, Dachshunds are vulnerable to spinal issues surrounding the vertebral discs. IVDD (intervertebral disc disease) affects Dachshunds more than any other breed of dog. Training your puppy not to jump off of the furniture can help reduce the possibility of them getting IVDD later down the road.
What Age Should You Start Training a Dachshund Puppy?
According to Ian Dunbar, a well-respected veterinarian and animal behaviorist, the training of all puppies should begin the moment a dog is born.
Before the owners of a Dachshund even get their hands on a new Dachshund puppy at around 8-10 weeks, there is a lot that the breeder can do to ensure the new puppies are somewhat prepared to transition into their new home.
Things like neonatal handling and grooming are important parts of early puppy care, long before its eventual owner takes it in. The best breeders will also get the puppies started on potty training, crate training, and some basic commands like sitting, lying down, and coming.
As a new owner of a Dachshund puppy, training begins the moment you take the dog into your home and continues until the day after it dies. The work of training is never done, and Dachshund owners with perfectly well-behaved dogs are constantly working with their Dachshund on its behavior.
Dachshund Potty Training
The most critical first step of training a Dachshund puppy is potty training.
Potty training is essential because your Dachshund’s ability to distinguish an ideal place to go to the bathroom will make the difference between a family friend you can cuddle with on the couch and a yard dog that barks indiscriminately and may eventually make its way to the pound.
Puppy Potty Training Step by Step
Training a dog is living with a dog, and living with a dog is impossible if they don’t know where to do their business.
“Errorless House Training” is the goal with puppy potty training. If a puppy makes one accident on the carpet or bathroom mat without you noticing it, chances are they’ll make more errors.
Ensuring an environment where mistakes are impossible is the fastest way to potty train your pup. If you’re still not sure, here’s a guide on how to potty train a Dachshund puppy.
- Give your puppy ample opportunities to go potty outside. Stephanie Bennet notes that puppy owners should take their puppy out after naps, after playtime, and after every single meal. Dr. Ian Dunbar is more strict and recommends puppies be taken out every hour on the hour.
- Regardless, stay outside with your dog for 5 – 10 minutes. If it does its business, hold a “potty party.”
- As soon as the dog does its business in an appropriate location, you tell it, “that’s a good boy! Good potty!” and give the puppy three of the tastiest treats you have on hand.
- Holding “potty parties” is a critical way to ensure your puppy pees where you want it to. What about keeping it from peeing where you don’t want it to? Inside the home, you have two areas for the puppy: a short-term confinement area and a long-term confinement area.
- If your puppy has just done its business outside and is on empty, you can either spend time with it, do some trick training, or send it to its long-term confinement. The long-term confinement area will be a small space with a crate for the dog to nap in and a padded place to pee. The space can be defined by child gates or any kind of similar barrier.
Note: dogs are naturally drawn to soft, absorbent surfaces when they have to pee. Having the long-term confinement area be on a hard surface with just the pee pad for business will keep your dog from having an accident where it’s not supposed to.
- If your Dachshund puppy doesn’t do its business, bring it into its short-term confinement area. Typically, a short-term confinement area is simply the puppy’s crate, although if you still want to spend time with them, it can also be a very short leash that you attach to your chair leg or even a leash that you hold.
What’s important here is you don’t give the puppy free reign! Even if you stayed outside with it for 10 minutes, a puppy left to its own devices could find a place to pee in the house. However, if it’s stuck in close quarters, it won’t want to pee (because then it will be stuck smelling the smell).
Although errors can happen when potty training Dachshund puppies, training happens fastest when no errors can occur.
When you have to leave your dog for long periods, keep it in its long-term confinement area. Any business it does here will be appropriate. When you’re with your dog at home, take it outside extremely frequently to ensure that it doesn’t do its business where it shouldn’t.
Crate Training a Dachshund Puppy
Zak George is a beneficial resource in the world of puppy training, and his YouTube Channel, “Zak George’s Training Revolution,” is a great way to begin your work on dog training.
Using a crate is a handy way to train a Dachshund puppy. A crate helps you control your puppy’s environment when you need to, and, when used appropriately, a crate becomes a haven for your dog. A crate is a place where they can go to feel secure.
One important thing to note about crates: we never use the crate as punishment. Your Dachshund puppy needs to associate the crate with positive feelings for the crate to be an effective training aid.
All too often, the way owners try to “crate train” their Dachshund puppy looks something like this:
- The owner has given their puppy free reign of the house and has gone out to get something from the store or is simply reading the paper and not paying attention to their new puppy.
- The puppy, bored and hyperactive, has gotten into trouble. Maybe they’ve peed, torn up some upholstery, or gotten into some low-lying food.
- The owner, getting angry and yelling at their puppy, rushes them into the crate and locks the door.
If crate training is done in this way, the puppy will come to resent its crate, and as it gets older, getting it into the crate will become harder and harder.
How Do I Crate Train My Dachshund?
To get your Dachshund interested in its crate, you should make the crate seem like the most fantastic place ever.
When you first get your Dachshund puppy, you should already have its crate set up and ready for it to investigate when you get home. Now, it’s time to get them acclimated to their crate.
- Put your Dachshund puppy on the leash, take it to the crate, and let it investigate the crate.
- A technique called “reward-based training,” on which we’ll go into more detail, can help get them interested in the crate.
- As they’re sniffing or looking at the crate with interest, feed them a tasty treat every once in a while so that they can begin to associate the positive feelings of treats with the crate.
- Eventually, let them choose to go into the crate on their own.
- Put a treat in the crate that they can find.
- Then, give them a treat for them to come out.
The important thing here is that your Dachshund begins to understand the crate as a place where it can choose to go in and out at its will.
Especially when it comes to crate training, it’s essential to take it slowly. Your pup may take a few days, but it may also take a few weeks before it likes being in its crate.
Crate Training: The Most Important Thing
Dachshunds are incredibly energetic creatures, and as such, you must exercise your Dachshund before trying to get it to spend long periods in its crate. If your dog has energy and it’s confined in its crate, it can be an incredibly unpleasant experience akin to punishment.
Before putting your dog in its crate, especially if you’re going to leave it there for an hour, you need to exercise it vigorously. Play with it, take a run around the yard, but also mentally stimulate it. Do some trick training with your dog; have it using that noggin.
After exercise, you can feel free to put your puppy in its crate.
Crate Training: A Warning
As lovely as crates are, they are not suitable for extremely long periods during the day. You can expect your Dachshund to sleep in its crate at night, but you should not leave it in its crate for eight hours while you’re at work.
If you’re going to leave your puppy for eight hours at a time, keep it in a long-term confinement area.
We mentioned above that Dachshunds have a high prey drive and a powerful nose. Dachshunds, more than other dogs, can benefit exceptionally well from reward-based training.
The leading theory of reward-based training comes from years of animal behaviorists like Dr. Ian Dunbar and Victoria Stillwell. They argue that positive reinforcement is a much more robust training tool than consequence-based training.
In reward-based training, a dog is given positive stimuli (ranging from a pat on the head and a “good dog” to tasty treats) when it does something we want it to.
Above, we saw that reward-based training could be a powerful method for potty training. Reward-based training is also helpful (as many people without any experience with dogs at all will tell you) when learning commands like “sit” and “stay.”
Reward-based training is also helpful when eventually training your Dachshund to walk politely on a leash.
How to Train a Dachshund Puppy: The Schedule
One standard part of dog training that new owners tend to overlook is a schedule. Dachshund puppies, like children, take comfort in routine. Setting up a pattern can be a powerful way to have a dog that behaves well quickly.
8 – 12 Weeks: Crate Training, Potty Training, Basic Commands
Most Dachshund owners get their new puppies at around eight weeks. The moment you get your Dachshund home, you need to start potty training and crate training them.
This time is also the time when your Dachshund should be learning basic commands (if it doesn’t already know them from the breeder) such as:
Note that Dachshund puppies have a very short attention span, so training sessions should be full of fun and energy and should not last for more than five minutes at a time.
One thing to note: Dachshund puppies are very loyalists, so it’s crucial at this early stage that they are exposed to training from everyone in the family. Assign everyone in the family 10-15 minutes a day of training (that is, two to three sessions) spaced out throughout the day to keep training fun for the dog.
Also, be sure to train your dog in different rooms, lest you end up with a dog who can only obey commands in the kitchen.
12 – 16 Weeks: Socialization and Bite Inhibition
Although your puppy still won’t have its vaccines at this point, it must socialize as much as possible. Bring in friends and family to do short training sessions with your Dachshund.
Your local pet supplies store may have a puppy kindergarten, a safe place for your puppy to begin to interact with its peers. Don’t go to a puppy class if your puppy hasn’t been vaccinated.
Continue to practice basic commands with your puppy, ensuring that you are regularly handling it (touching its ears, holding its snout, etc.) This prepares your puppy for safe handling by a vet when, eventually, it will need to get its vaccines.
Finally, at 3 to 4 months, you should begin practicing bite inhibition with your puppy. A big mistake that many puppy owners make when raising their dogs is to forbid any kind of biting.
Although this seems to make sense in theory, it’s the most dangerous thing a dog owner can do. Biting is a reflex, and if a young puppy doesn’t learn how to control its bite, it can do severe damage when it is an adult dog and feels threatened.
After your Dachshund has gotten vaccinated, it’s safe to take it out on dog walks. Reward-based training is beneficial here, being sure to encourage appropriate walking with your dog.
If you’ve just gotten a new Dachshund puppy, profound congratulations are in order. These dogs are some of the best companions you can find. That said, however, training a Dachshund can be difficult and frustrating, and you must develop your patience when training your new puppy.
For further reading, check out the AKC’s Dachshund training tips and read up with some traditional books. Good luck!