I recently got a Dachshund puppy and found I needed a lot of really good training treats for her.
Since I had the chance to start “fresh” with her, I signed her up for puppy classes and want to train her to follow obedience commands and to be a well mannered dog (yes, it is possible to train a Dachshund).
UPDATED: February 18, 2022.
I learned in class that what matters most to a dog when you are training them is the frequency of the treats, not the size of the treat.
That means that I can easily go through a half bag of training treats in one class.
In order for my Dachshund to be really motivated to learn, and for me to feel ok about giving my small dog that many training treats during class, I spent a lot of time (and money) searching for the right ones.
I want to share what I learned to make things easier for you.
Note: some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that we receive a small commission if you make a purchase.
What Makes a Good Dog Training Treat for a Dachshund?
The best training treats for your Dachshund will be:
This has a lot to do with your pup’s taste.
Generally though, a high value dog treat is delicious, not a flavor that they get normally, sometimes described as smelly or stinky.
Dachshunds are small dogs and it’s very important to keep them from being overweight.
Excess weight can put pressure on their already fragile spines.
In training, you give your dog a lot of treats so they need to be low calorie.
I don’t use treats that are over 5 calories each and try to find ones that are under 2 calories each.
This kind of goes with the above in that, generally, a smaller treat has less calories.
There are also several other reasons to choose small training treats for your Dachshund.
- The smaller volume the treat, the more you can give your small dog without filling up their little belly and causing indigestion
- Rapid rewarding is key during training so you want your dog to be able to eat the treat fast in order to get to the next command
Sometimes I end up buying that cat version of the treat because they are half the size, or less, of the dog version.
With the higher quality treats, often the ingredients are exactly the same in both the cat and dog versions (be sure to check though by reading the labels carefully though!).
Hold Together Well
It’s very disappointing to reach in your pocket only to pull out a handful of dust or microscopic crumbs.
It feels gross, it gets stuck under your fingernails, and the treats are essentially unusable.
Some of the small treats, especially the semi-moist ones, are prone to crumbling.
You can test how likely they are to hold up by first giving them a light squeeze between your fingers.
One important thing to note when choosing training treats for your Dachshund is that taste trumps quality to a certain extent.
In other words, in order to make your dog obsessive about listening to you and following commands, you need to choose a training treat that they can’t resist.
I’m usually a food quality snob when it comes to what I feed my dogs but I’ve had to lower my standards a bit when I’m training.
Of course, you don’t want to choose something that is harmful to them but think donuts vs. broccoli in your own diet.
A few donuts once in a while are ok for most people. While broccoli is better, most people aren’t super excited about chowing down on a plate of broccoli.
However, I still try to choose the healthiest treats available.
The Best Training Treats for Dachshunds
I searched around for treats I could use for training my Dachshund and tested out many.
These are my top picks.
My #1 favorite dog treat for training my Dachshund
Hallelujah! I after years of searching, I finally found the perfect dog training treat for small dogs.
Pupford dog training treats are single ingredient, made of real meat (except for the sweet potato flavor) and are only one calorie each!
While they will work for any dog, they are a great size specifically for puppies and small dogs.
- Beef liver
- Sweet potato
For 10% off Pupford training treats, use the code summitgretel10.
Other dog training treats
These are made with only whole food, natural ingredients and are crafted in the USA. Each treat contains approximately 3 calories and can easily be broken in half to make each treat 1.5 calories.
Baked treats that combine natural ingredients and lots of protein. Less than 1 calorie per bite. They come in three different flavors to match your dogs favorite tastes.
Made with just a single ingredient (beef liver), these complement a raw food diet. These low-calorie treats are made in Canada.
Human Food You Can Use
Sometimes you may want to use human food cut it into tiny pieces as training treats.
This usually ends up being less expensive than store bought dog training treats but is often messier (although, you can put a thin, latex free disposable glove on to help keep your hands clean).
Some examples of human food that can be cut into tiny pieces and used for dog training treats are:
- String Cheese
- Hot Dogs
- Cooked lean ground beef
Don’t Forget the Dog Training Equipment
Besides having training treats on hand that your dog absolutely loves, there are some supplies that may also make training sessions easier for you and more effective.
A Convenient Way to Hold the Treats
In order to make training rewards “rapid fire”, they need to be conveniently and quickly accessible.
The easiest way to hold dog treats when training is by using a treat pouch.
My favorite is the Ruffwear Treat Trader Pouch because it’s deep enough to hold a lot of treats, clips around your waist using an included webbing belt, has an easy-access magnetic closure, and pulls open quickly by grabbing a red tab on the outside.
It can be worn with the included waist strap or clipped to a belt, has a magnetic closure, and has one small outside pocket to hold poop bags or a clicker.
If I’m being honest though, sometimes I just stick dog treats right in my pockets when we are not in training class.
Yes, that can be messy, and means that I sometimes walk around smelling like dog treats, but it’s the easiest for me when we are on the go.
If you are like me, one good solution is the Hurtta Trainer’s Vest
The vest is water-repellent and breathable, has reflective markings for visibility, and has a hood that can be folded inside the collar.
It’s got 4 zippered pockets, including (most importantly!) one with a detachable Inner pocket that can easily be washed after use.
I do hear it runs a bit small so you may want to size up.
A Visual Go-To Place
When you are training your dog, especially if you are taking a training class, you’ll want to establish a go-to place they should rest between training exercises.
The goal is to get your dog to sit or lay down in one spot to rest (practice self-control) and wait for your next command.
This is often called teaching a “place” command in puppy class.
In order for this command to make sense for your dog, they need a visual marker to tell them where they should sit or lay down.
You can accomplish this by using some kind of mat to visually marks the spot you want them to go to.
My favorite thing to use for this is the West Paw Nap Mat (it’s comfy and comes in so many fun colors).
Even a folded towel would work but make sure you are always using the same color and size mat, at least at first, so your dog starts to recognize it.
A Clicker for Marking Commands
I refused to use a clicker in any dog training attempt before I got my puppy, Summit. It was because I really didn’t understand how to use one.
Note: I originally embedded a video from YouTube explain how to use a clicker here but that feature stopped working. Search online for “clicker training” and you will find help.
I was afraid that my dog would become dependent on the clicker – never doing the command unless I used one – and there would be many times I didn’t have a clicker with me.
However, I can attest that a clicker does make your dog pick up a command way faster than not using one.
I use the StarMark Clicker because it makes the sharpest, loudest noise and has not started to wear out or gotten quieter with a lot of use.
The concept is that a clicker, versus using your voice, produces a precise sound at the precise moment your dog does the thing you want them to do.
This way they learn, more quickly, exactly what they should do when you say the command.
However, you can choose to use a marker word like “YES!” instead of a clicker or in addition to (that’s what I do).
Once they have the command down reliably, you phase the clicker out so don’t be afraid to use one like I was.
Dachshunds are known for being stubborn but they are super smart (outsmarting you is one of the ways they are “difficult” to train).
With the right treats to motivate them, and with consistent training, they definitely can be trained.