Dachshund Puppy Training: 15 Things to Start Teaching the Day Yours Comes Home

Bringing a new puppy home is exciting.

It’s also kind of like bringing home a wild animal.

A puppy is still learning about the world around them and how to interact with humans and other animals.

They are literally born having no clue.

It’s your job to teach them manners and the appropriate way to interact with people, other dogs, different sights and sounds, and all of the other general things they will encounter in life.

UPDATED: September 4, 2023

It may be surprising to some, but an 8 week old puppy is quite capable of being trained. Here is a list of things you can start training yours the day they come home. It's important to start teaching your puppy about the world, and how to behave in it, as soon as you can and these puppy training tips will help.

While you can’t expect too much from your puppy the first week or so as they are learning to trust you and adjust to your new home, there are some important things you should start teaching your Dachshund puppy right away.

One note: don’t feel overwhelmed by the number of items on this list. You are not expected to teach your puppy all of these things on day 1.

It’s merely a list of things to “keep on your radar” and start taking action on after your new puppy is home with you.

It’s a list of the first things you should teach your puppy starting around 8 weeks old.

Training a Dachshund Puppy: Where to Begin

Below is a list of things that you can start teaching your puppy at 8 weeks.

Many people mistakenly believe that young puppies can’t learn or that training should start until they have all of their vaccinations.

However, if you wait until they were older, you will miss a good part of their prime learning window.

While a Dachshund of any age can learn new things, training a Dachshund puppy right away will save you a lot of grief later.

Below are 15 training suggestions that will help start your puppy out on the right paw.

1) The proper place to go potty

While you won’t be able to fully potty train a Dachshund in 8 weeks, you can certainly start.

If you purchased your puppy from a reputable breeder, they may have already started potty training your puppy for you so your job may be easier.

However, the breeder most likely trained your puppy to go potty on a pad.

While training a puppy to go potty in a designated place is a great first step, you will want to start outdoor potty training right away.

Check out 15 of my best Dachshund potty training tips

In my opinion, potty pads tell your Dachshund that sometimes it’s ok to go potty in the house so they shouldn’t be used if you can help it.

If you are gone from home for long periods during the day, since a puppy’s bladder is small and they are still learning control of it, they may not be able to hold it that long.

Think twice about encouraging your puppy to use potty pads in the house because your dog may associate going potty with being warm, dry, and the smells of the house.

If you must use a potty pad, place your puppy in a large dog crate, or in a room without carpet (like the kitchen), and make a potty pad available.

BUT, remove this potty pad once you are home and resume training your puppy to only go outside.

Once they are a little older, you can stop using puppy pads in the house altogether.

2) make sure your puppy knows their name

This may sound silly but there are many reasons to practice the name game with your puppy.

You may have changed your puppy’s name when you brought them home so they might not be used to the new one.

They are not used to listening to your tone of voice so even though they know your name, they might not be used to listening to you say it.

It’s important that you’re sure your puppy knows their name.

Every other training command, and pleasant cohabitation, depends on it.

Dachshund puppy reacting to their name being called

You can start getting their attention by using their name and giving them a low calorie training treat the second they turn their head toward you or away from whatever they are occupied with at the time.

Then you can progress to not giving them the treat until they fully look at you.

Some things that can help with this practice is beginning the exercise when you are standing right next to them and then eventually saying their name from further away.

3) Establish a routine

Life can feel very unpredictable for your puppy when they are separated from their Monther and siblings and suddenly find themselves in an unfamiliar environment.

While I am a big proponent of raising a Dachshund that is flexible and goes with the flow, establishing a routine is important for a puppy.

If things are predictable for them – like when they eat, where they are supposed to potty, and when it’s time to nap or sleep – it will be easier for them to learn to fit into their new family.

Setting a predictable routine for your puppy will also help teach them to trust you and help with training.

4) Teach your puppy when it’s time to settle

I remember raising my first Dachshund puppy. That time period felt a little crazy.

I remember the day a dog trainer blew my mind.

I was lamenting about how I can’t get anything done – how it’s hard to work from home without being distracted or get my housecleaning done – because my puppy was always active and demanding to be entertained.

The trainer looked at me and said something to the effect of:

Part of your job when raising a puppy is to teach them when it’s time to settle.

That was her nice way of saying, while devoting a lot of time and energy raising your puppy is great, you also need to teach your puppy some boundaries.

Your puppy needs to know when it’s time to play and when it’s time to busy themselves or take a nap.

You can’t let them run your life or run you ragged.

Teaching your puppy when it’s time to settle will help prevent them from getting overtired and biting too much.

It will also give you some time to take care of your own needs.

5) Train your puppy not to bite

Puppies like to bite, a lot.

It’s the first way they know to communicate with the world – by using their mouth and teeth.

Their teeth may seem small, but you will soon learn after a few nips at your fingers that they are quite sharp and can hurt.

While they may see biting as a fun game, it’s important to teach your puppy that using the full force of their teeth to bite is most certainly not fun or acceptable behavior.

They need to learn that they can still play, and explore with their mouths, but learn to do so gently and in control.

A way to do this is to train them to use bite inhibition.

This teaches them to play with their mouths/teeth but to control the amount of strength/force they use.

Teach them there are appropriate things to bite (like toys) and inappropriate things to bite (like fingers or other pets).

Other ways you can discourage them from biting or teach them not to bite:

  • Try to redirect their attention with a treat or a toy when they are attempting to bite human skin
  • Provide them with interesting and appropriate toys that allow them to bite and use their mouths, so they have an outlet for their natural puppy curiosity
  • Reward your puppy with a treat for releasing their bite on their own, this way they learn that good things happen once they stop their bad biting behavior.

6) Expose your puppy to different sights, smells, and surfaces

Some trainers lump the experiences of exposing your puppy to different sights, smells, surfaces, strange people, and strange dogs into a category called “socializing your Dachshund“.

Socialization is basically getting your puppy used to the different sounds and textures they may encounter in the world, including, but not limited to new dogs and people.

To safely socialize your puppy before they are fully vaccinated, you can carry them outside using a sling bag, a dog backpack, or push them in a dog stroller.

Before my puppy Summit had all of her shots, I carried her in a sling bag on the bus, around the neighborhood, around the noisy garbage truck, and to dog friendly restaurants.

Dachshund puppy being carried in a sling bag before she has her vaccinations

I also put the vacuum in the corner of the living room for her to check out.

Eventually, I started pushing it around without turning it on and then I tired turning it on for very short bursts.

Another really important thing people often overlook is walking on different surfaces.

You don’t want to end up with a dog that refuses to walk on metal or freaks out every time they step on a wood floor.

Lay out things like a towel, a plank of wood (if you don’t have wood floors in your house that you can practice on), a metal cooking sheet, a plastic or metal grate, etc, and let your puppy sniff them.

Reward your puppy with a treat any time they are showing interest in the object or surface and especially if they touch it with their paw or step on it.

Eventually, lure them to walk on the surface with a treat.

This is also a good time to prepare your puppy for nail trims by regularly touching, and lightly squeezing, their feet and toes.

It also helps to show them the nail clippers or Dremel while doing this or at least setting them nearby where they can be seen.

7) Train your puppy to be comfortable in a dog crate

Unless the place where your puppy came from already worked with them, it’s unlikely that you will be able to shut your puppy in a crate and leave them alone from day one.

However, it’s important that you start crate training your puppy and getting them comfortable with their crate space.

There are many times in a dog’s life when they may need to be confined to a crate:

At the vet’s office if they have to spend any length of time there

When recovering from a back injury, general injury, or surgery, in natural disaster or emergency situations – and you don’t want them to freak out.

The stress of freaking out can make your dog physically sick, they can injure themselves, or they may not be able to complete their crate rest and fully recover from their surgery or injury.

You can start getting your puppy used to being confined by feeding them meals inside of the crate.

You can either do this by placing their bowl inside or feeding them by hand while they sit in the crate.

The next step would be walking away (but always leave the door open at first) while they are eating their meal or are occupies by a stuffed treat toy in the crate.

Once they are ok with that, you can try briefly shutting the door while you are sitting there, and immediately opening it back up, to see if they notice.

Next, start shutting the door to the crate and walking away for a minute.

Eventually, you should be able to stay away with the door closed for longer.

Note: if you are uncomfortable enclosing your dog in a crate, you may want to start with a dog playpen instead.

8) Teach your puppy that it’s ok to be away from you

Puppies are so cute and wonderful to snuggle.

It’s also super cute how they toddle around the house following you everywhere.

However, if you never teach your puppy that it’s ok to be away from you, and you to be out of sight, it’s likely that your Dachshund will develop separation anxiety.

Or rather, it’s almost guaranteed that your puppy will not overcome the separation anxiety inherent at this age.

To start teaching your puppy to be separated from you, put them in a pen, crate, or behind a gate, and talk a few steps away.

The basic gist is to walk away just far enough and just long enough that your puppy doesn’t freak out and then come back before they do.

This may only be a few steps away, and for only a few seconds, at first.

Praise your puppy lavishly for being calm and quiet when you return, and/or reward them for a treat, to reinforce that staying calm and quiet while you are away brings good things.

Eventually, you can move further away, and stay away from longer, ultimately being able to leave the house.

I will note that just because your puppy is ok with you being gone from the house without them, that may not translate to them also being ok if you are away from them in another part of the house (like sleeping or upstairs).

You may have to work on that issue separately.

9) Get your puppy used to wearing a harness or collar

First, you’ll need to get your puppy used to the item you want to put on by letting them sniff it and giving them treats when they are near and/or look at it.

This tutorial is for anyone out there that deals with a running dog every time they bring out the harness (or whatever it is you want to put on them).

Once your puppy is familiar with the item you want them to wear, the next step is to try putting it on them.

If you are using a harness, the best way is to put your hand, with treats in it, through the hole where their head goes.

Let them eat the treats (slowly, not all at once) while holding the item still and pulling your hand back through the opening.

The idea is to get them to put their head through it themselves.

If your dog doesn’t, resist the urge to pop it over their head and try again later.

Once your dog is putting their head through it, you can fasten the closures.

Leave it on for a minute and then take it off.

Important: always supervise your puppy with a collar, harness, or leash on.

If your puppy freezes and refused to move with it on, try to get them to walk around in it by luring them with a treat or toy.

Your puppy may not want to walk at all with the collar or harness on.

Dealing with this is a whole other step.

Check out my tips for getting a puppy to walk in a harness HERE.

Eventually, you can extend the duration they are wearing their “gear” until they no longer seem to notice and become comfortable in it.

Once your puppy is comfortably wearing harness or collar, you can attach a leash to it, which brings me to the next item on the list.

10) Introduce Your Puppy to Walking on a Leash

You’ll want to get your puppy used to the leash before they even leave the house.

A very lightweight one is best, so you may want to look into buying a cat or rabbit leash for your puppy.

At first, just attach the leash and let your puppy drag it around the house to get used to the weight and “something following them” (the dragging leash).

Important: always supervise your puppy with the leash on.

Below are some helpful steps to get your puppy used to having a leash attached.

Each puppy is different so some of you may progress through these steps within a day or two while others may take a week or more.

  • Let your dog sniff the leash (on the ground and holding it) and give them treats for positive reactions or acting like it’s no big deal.
  • Once they are used to seeing the leash, you can hold a treat in your hand and let them sniff it (the treat) while touching the leash clip to the harness hook (don’t attach it yet).
  • Try activating the clip behind their head so it makes clicking noise and giving your dog a treat immediately following the clicking noise.
  • Next, try clipping the leash onto the harness while your puppy is eating the treat in your hand. Once they eat the treat, unclip the leash.
  • Progress to clipping the leash on and leaving it on.
  • Next, pick up the end of the leash and try to lead your puppy around the house with you.

Once your puppy is used to a collar/harness and leash, you can take your puppy outside.

If your puppy is not finished with vaccinations, you can stick to your own back yard where the risk of catching parvo or other illness is low.

The two challenges you are most likely to encounter at this stage are the “freezing” or your puppy pulling hard on the leash.

For the freezing, you can try the luring technique mentioned above.

I’ve had to do this and literally lure my puppy every few feet to get her around the block.

Eventually, I had to do it less and less and she learned that walking is a good thing.

11) Teach your puppy to come to you

Once your puppy recognizes their name, you can start to teach them to come to you when you call.

One way to do this is to have them ‘work’ for a treat.

Start with tossing a small bite of a treat at your puppy and once they have eaten it, call their name.

When they pop their head up in response, say the word ‘come’ and show them another treat in your hand.

When they come for the treat, touch them and acknowledge their behavior.

This way they are learning that coming to you is a positive behavior and this will help when you start to take them out more to explore the world around them.

Note: Different dog trainers may have different theories and techniques for teaching “come” but the video above is a great start.

12) Teach your puppy to sit

Teaching your puppy is usually as simple as having them stand, holding a treat in front of them, and then slowly raising it above their head.

Most puppies will naturally plop their butt down to reach the treat.

Once they are doing that pretty reliably, you can add the command “sit” when they are doing it and reward them as soon as their but is firmly on the ground.

Once your puppy has the sit command down, you can reinforce this command by asking them to sit at various points throughout the day like before you set their bowl down, before you pet them, or before you throw their favorite toy.

13) Get your puppy comfortable with being handled

Some puppies don’t mind if you kiss and hug them all over, open their mouth, touch inside their ears, handle their feet, or generally put your hands on them.

However, some are very what is called “body sensitive.”

Those puppies might shy away when you reach for them or struggle when you try to hold them.

You’ll want to start desensitizing your puppy to being touched right away – to teach them it’s ok to be touched.

This will help down the road with exams by your veterinarian, cleaning ears, cutting nails, etc.

It will also help you with recall and catching your dog when they finally do come.

Gently and frequently handle and manipulate your puppy’s feet, ears, skin, and mouth while offering a lot of praise so your puppy develops positive associations with those actions.

14) Teach your puppy that great things like food come from you

In the beginning of your puppy’s new life with you, it’s important to establish a positive bond.

You’ll want to start developing a habit of your puppy looking to you to meet their needs and give direction.

This is best done by hand feeding your puppy at first, so they learn that food comes from you (vs the bowl).

Besides hand feeding your puppy at mealtime, you can use a portion of their food as training treats throughout the day.

Hand feeding your puppy in their dog crate will also help them build positive associations with their “cave”.

15) How to ride in the car

This is an important one to me because road trips are one of my favorite ways to travel and we sometimes live on the road for weeks at a time.

Taking your puppy for frequent car rides early on will help build positive associations.

Just be sure to take your puppy to more fun places than potentially unpleasant paces like the vet or groomer.

By taking your puppy for frequent rides in the car you can:

  • Learn if there is any motion or anxiety associated with the car you will need to work through
  • Teach your puppy where their place is in the car

I know how fun it is to drive with your little puppy on your lap and how tempting it is to do so as a way help your puppy feel comfortable in the car.

But I know from personal experience that this practice can get dangerous once your Dachshund starts to get big enough that they interfere with the operation of the steering wheel.

It just better if you use a crate or car seat for your puppy in the car from day one.

Final Thoughts

Bringing a Dachshund puppy home is exciting. They’re such cute bundles of joy!

And little terrors at times!

Make sure to do these things before you bring your puppy home and then use the tips in this article to start teaching your puppy to be a good family member as soon as you can.

For even more tips, check out this advice from other Dachshund owners about raising a puppy.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. Thank you so much for this Jessica and Summit of course. I wish i would have known these tricks about a crate.

  2. Well isn’t potty training one of the most important? I finally got mine to go out side. Went to Church and left her outside in her pin. Came home 3 hours later and she walked into the house and peed on the floor. We take one step forward and two steps backwards. Now she’s starting to dribble every time she gets excited. Any suggestions?

    1. It is! but it’s also a given everyone knows about. My goal with this article was to provide some advice beyond the obvious 🙂 I’m actually publishing a separate article on potty training a Dachshund soon. They are notoriously hard to potty train but certainly not impossible. The main thing is not expecting them to tell you when they need to go out and making sure they actually go when they are outside. It’s great you left her in a pen while you were gone but I might go ahead and just move that inside. She probably didn’t go potty while outside alone because she didn’t understand that is what she is supposed to do. By keeping her inside, and taking her out on leash to potty, she will begin to understand that outside means potty. If left out for long periods, she will think that is part of her “home” and likely have a hard time making the distinction between that and indoors.

      This is what worked for me: Keep Summit in a crate/pen when I’m not home because, if it’s only big enough for them and their bed, they are unlikely to pee in there (do be mindful about how long a puppy can hold it though). When I was home, I kept a very close eye on her and learned her signals that she was looking for a place to potty. Every 13 minutes, or if she showed signs she was looking to potty, I took her outside on a leash and asked her to pee. I will note that she was potty pad trained when I brought her home so occasionally she went in the house on the pads. If she did, I took the pad outside and set it on the grass. When I took her out to potty, I would take her to that spot so she could smell her pee. My hope was that she would associate that spot with where we was supposed to go and it seemed to work. Anyway, if she went potty, I took her inside and took her out again in 30 minutes. If not, I took her inside and out again in 15 minutes to try again (or sometimes waited until I saw her show the signs she was looking for a potty place). It helped that I had one dog that was already potty trained but I was able to potty train her in less than 3 months. I hope that helps.

      The dribbling when excited is a separate issue. It’s most likely what is called “submissive peeing”. It happens when a dog gets over excited or a bit intimidated (nothing you do wrong, just over-stimulated by your presence). I don’t have any articles about that because I haven’t dealt with it personally but I’m sure you can find other help online if you search for that term.

      1. Our Coco passed away last October at the age of 16+ yrs. She did this peering until she was about 6 yrs old. But, only, when we first came home, after being gone. We would bring her out as soon as we got home. Take her outside the garage and pet her, until she stopped peeing and was empty. Our driveway went downhill, so if we positioned her right it flowed downhill and away from her and us. I’m guessing she stopped around age 6.

    2. WOW! Out 15 min..no pee in the crate for 20 . Repeat until she goes. Dach’s puppy have to go out almost every 30 min when their babies. Three hrs is way to long.

      1. Ok I live in rural Colorado. Put my dog in a crate. When I came home from work I carried her out side with me. I peed she peed. House trained in one week. And yes no neighbors

  3. We have two new 12 week old dachshunds (not litter mates but from the same breeder and two days apart in age…we have had them for 1 week). I realize they will play bite with each other but they do it all the time and much harder than my previous two dachshunds did when they were pups years ago. Any additional suggestions with this situation? I am not really sure how much is normal and how much is a problem. Thanks!

    1. Hi Judy. This is normal play for pups, especially “siblings” (they essentially are). They can be quite rough with each other but also typically tell each other when enough is enough. If you are concerned they are getting carried away, I would give them a timeout from each other but distracting them from each other for a few minutes or placing one (or both) in a dog crate (separate crates).

  4. Please share anything/everything you can about these precious little Weiner dogs with me. I have a little female who is just a little over 1 yr old & is being trained to be a service dog- if we can get her to ever calm down enough to really pay attention to my spouse & I. LOL! We really want her to experience being a mother just once in her life before having her fixed. I know she’d be the greatest at that since she’s such a wonderful little mother hen to the 2 of us!! What kind, fun & loving creatures these little animals are!!

    1. Hi Tracy. Well, the first thing I would share is that, personally, I think breeding Dachshunds should be done by people are knowledgeable and serious about the breed only. I’m not one of those “adopt, don’t shop” only people but there is a lot that goes into responsibly breeding dogs and, in my experience, those that just want to do it “for fun” aren’t willing to do all the research and genetic testing that should be done before breeding. Plus, having puppies is very hard on the Mommy dog’s body. With that being said, I respect people’s choice to do what they want with their own dog. So if you do decide to breed her, good luck to you and her. I’m sure she will make a great service dog regardless. She’s only 1 so I would expect her to still be crazy at this age. She’s still a young pup. With age and training, she should calm down. This blog is primarily about being active and traveling with Dachshunds. But I have another blog that focuses specifically on Dachshund temperament, characteristics, and health issues. I also cover some training, although not specifically service dog training. You can check out that blog here: https://formydachshund.com/

  5. Hi Jess, my 12 week old will only sleep by our bed on a blanket and not in the crate in the living room where we ideally want him to sleep. What tips would you have for getting him to sleep in the crate away from us? He will happily nap in there during the day.

    1. Hi Kris. If you want your puppy to sleep in the crate in the living room, you just have to him in there and accept that you will have a week or so of interrupted sleep. He will cry but you just have to let him work through it on his own. Putting a blanket that smells like you, or a shirt, in his crate at night can help. Also make sure he is warm enough in there. At 12 weeks he may still be missing his siblings to putting a ticking clock in there, or something called a snuggle puppy that has a “heartbeat”, an help calm him.

  6. Thank you for all your advice. I just got an 8 week old blue and tan male. He is adorable. I haven’t had a Doxie for a very long time so I feel like I am learning all over again. Any tips are welcome.

  7. Just got my first Dachshund from the Humane Society several weeks ago. She’s very loving and funny. When she’s let out of the crate in the morning, I take her outside to do her business. Same before bedtime. Otherwise, I have to try to anticipate her time to pee. She doesn’t give me a sign when she needs to go out. Am I expecting too much? The pee pads are just a toy for her to drag around.

    1. When it comes to Dachshunds, yes. I am not familiar with other breeds but two of my three Dachshunds have been very subtle with their “need to go potty” cues. Both only did some version of looking at me a certain way where I was standing or sitting (not by the door). I assure you she IS giving you signs. You just have to figure out what they are. I may be a look, a specific way she stands and holds her head, etc. Good luck!

  8. My 11 week dachshund puppy will happily sleep in her pen at night but during the day will only sleep on the sofa with us. When we put her in her pen she will just cry. Any advice will be so helpful

    1. Hi Ryan. I am guessing her behavior is just because she can see you but can’t get to you, which is related to separation anxiety. Or rather, is natural but can lead to separation anxiety of not addressed. The goal will be to teach her that the pen is a good place, even if you are present. If you need to put her in the pen while you can’t supervise her (puppies can get in so much trouble when you are not), try giving her a stuffed treat toy. It may not last her the whole time she is in there but it will distract her in the beginning and licking is a soothing action for dogs. When she is done, she may be tired and relaxed enough to settle on her own. Good luck.

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