7 Tips for Training a Dachshund
Many people believe the sterotype that Dachshunds are too stubborn to be trained.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth – Dachsunds are not hard to train!
I’m not pointing fingers because I used to beleive the sterotype too.
This belief kept me from even trying to train my first Dachshund.
But I learned more with my second one – a rescue with high anxiety – which taught me that training a Dachshund was not only possible but that it wasn’t that hard.
So with my third Dachshund, whom I got as a puppy, I decided I wanted to put more effort into her training than I did with my other Dachshunds.
Now, I have a Dachshund who people compliment for being so well behaved (although she is not perfect).
In this article, I will share my reasons that I now think training your Dachshund is important and my tips for successfully doing it.
Why You Should Train Your Dachshund
Besides the reputation that Dachshunds are hard or impossible to train discouraging me, the second biggest reason I didn’t train my first Dahcshund is that I didn’t feel like I had to.
My first Dachshund was a miniature.
It’s easy to pick up a small dog and physically make them do what you want to (I’m talking about something like picking them up from the couch and setting them on the floor, not the debunked technique of trying to “dominate” your dog).
If he barked and lunged at other dogs or people while on leash, I could easily pull him back to me (unlike with a 90 lb dog).
But it’s so much nicer when you can give your Dachshund a command and they do what you ask.
Or even better – they are trained not to do the things you don’t want them to do, or what you do want them to do, in the first place.
A well-trained Dachshund is:
- Easier to travel with
- Causes you less stress
- Sets a good example for small dogs everywhere (that they are not aggressive or out of control)
- Less likely to be involved in a dog fight
- They’re calmer, happier, and more confident
I have to say, now that I have one, having a well-trained Dachshund is such a source of joy and pride.
Taking the time to really train your Dachshund, and learning how to communicate with them, can make your bond stronger.
So, what are my best tips for developing a well-trained Dachshund?
7 Tips for Training a Dachshund
I’m certainly not a Dachshund training expert.
However, I have learned a lot about dog body language (thanks to my reactive Dachshund Gretel), how to communicate with a dog, and training techniques over the years.
And I have owned Dachshunds for 20 years, and run a 2,000 member Dachshund club, so I really understand the breed, what motivates them, and the challenges.
Here are my suggestions for successfully training your Dachshund.
1) Choose primarily positive reinforcement training techniques
I’ve tried punishment-based training techniques (for example, using a spray bottle to squirt water or shaking pennies in a can) that cause a dog to stop doing what you don’t want because they are afraid of the consequences.
I’ve also tried purely positive training techniques where I asked my Dachshund to do what I wanted, rewarded them with a treat if they did it, and pretty much did nothing (except try again) if they didn’t.
Personally, I beleive successful dog training is best done using positive reinforcement techniques.
I mean, isn’t it nicer if your dog wants to work to please you?
Don’t you want your Dachshund to trust you, not be afraid of you?
It’s a resounding yes on both accounts for me.
But I also think you need to be able to clearly communicate when your dog does the wrong thing.
I like to think of it as the carrot and stick using a really tiny carrot and a really large stick.
To me, clearly communitating to your Dachshund that they didn’t quite get it in a gentle manner is an important part of the two-way communication important to successful dog training.
I focus my training on asking for what I want and rewarding my Dachshunds with a treat when they do the right thing.
If they don’t follow direction (after I am sure they know what I’m asking and how to do it), I will let them know by:
- Ignoring them (not giving them attention – even eye contact)
- Saying a calm but firm “no” or aht!”
- Using spacial body pressure (using you body to move a dog – like taking a step forward so your dog will take a step back).
2) Make sure you are using a high-value reward
You’ll need to find what reward motivates and excites your Dachshund and use that at least during the intial training phase.
Using a reward is essential in the beginning but can be phased out over time.
With some other breeds, this can be affection or play.
In my experience, what works best with a Dachshund is food.
If the treat you’re using doesn’t get your Dachshund to follow the command, try another type.
You can try all of the recommended Dachshund training treats on my list but, if that doesnt’ work, you can use use a high-value reward such as chicken, cheese, or their favorite meat.
3) Train on an empty stomach
Your Dachshund will be more motivated by training treats if you do your training sessions before breakfast, dinner, or a few hours after a meal.
If your Dachshund’s stomach is satisfied, food won’t seem as appealing to them and they will be less likely to work for it.
4) Begin your training in a setting with few or no distractions
It’s best to start your training where your Dachshund’s complete focus will be on you.
This is typically inside your house with no other pets or people in the room.
Turning off the radio and TV can also cut out extra noise and put more focus on you.
Once your dog can focus on only you and what you are asking them to do, training will become easier.
Once your dog has the command down, you will want to add distractions within the home.
Next, you will move outside of the home to a yard or non-busy park.
Finally, you will practice in a busy but safe place with many different sights, smells, and noises.
Practicing the command in increasingly distracting situations will help you dog learn to perform the task more reliably.
5) Keep your training sessions short
A 20-minute training session is too much for a dog (at least when it focuses on just one command).
After about 5 minutes, you or your dog may get frustrated or tired.
Learning a new command takes a lot of mental and physical energy for your dog.
When this happens, the training becomes less effective.
Keep training sessions to 5 minutes or less for any indivdual command
It’s ok to do a second 5-miute training for a different command after that one if your Dachshund is still eager and engaged with you but then stop and try again later.
Later can mean anything from a few hours later or the next day.
Doing several 5-minute lessons throughout the day has proven to be a more successful way to train a dog than doing long training sessions.
Keep your training sessions to 10 minutes maximum so your Dachshund doesn’t get frustrated or bored.
No matter how long you intend to train, it’s crucial to read your Dachshund’s body language and take a break if they seem distracted or frustrated.
6) Consistency, or lack thereof, can mean the difference between success or failure
Dachshunds are just as trainable as any other dog breed.
However, consistency is the key to success with Dachshunds and it may take more repitition.
That means you will have to be dedicated and just as stubborn, or more, than your Dachshund.
If you simply try to teach your Dachshund someting a few times and never practice again, they won’t successfully learn the command (but this goes for any dog).
Also, if your requirements are inconsistent, your Dachshund may not fully understand what they are supposed to do.
One example is sit. And I have been guilty of this… and sometimes still am (don’t be too hard on yourself if you are like me).
Say you ask your Dachshund to sit and they plop their butt on the ground. That’s great!
But what if you ask again and they only “fake sit” or crouch so their butt kind of looks like it’s touching the ground?
If you think “good enough” and reward your Dachshund with a treat anyway, you will confuse your dog because they will conclude that just pretending to kind of sit is also ok.
Instead, wait for a complete execution of the action before you give the reward.
7) Make it fun
If you are stressed or frustrated, your dog will pick up on this.
If they do, they may feel confused by the mixed messages and the stress may keep them from fully understanding what you want them to do.
Instead, choose to do training sessions when you are in a positive mindset and aren’t feeling like it’s a chore.
Also, keep the session lighthearted and engaging for your Dachshund.
I mean, would you be eager to cooperate with your boss if they were grumpy?
Tools to Help You Train Your Dachshund
Note: some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that we receive a small commission if you make a purchase.
Almost any Dachshund can be trained if you put in the time and stay consistent with expectations and boundaries.
However, there are some tools that can help make training sessions more enjoyable and effective.
Some of those things are:
Using an irrisitable reward is key to training any dog successfully.
Because Dachshunds are small dogs, and you will be giving them a lot of treats during a training session, it’s best to choose small, low-calorie treats.
However, the treat must also be “high value” to hold your Dachshund’s attention and motivate them to do what you want.
You may need to experiment with a few different treats to see what works.
Also, switching treats up for each session, or halfway through one session, will help keep them engaged.
Some great treats for training Dachshunds are:
- Pupford Training Treats – These USA made treats are made with only 3, or fewer, ingredients and are 1 calorie each. All treats are freeze dried to maintain nutrients & taste. They don’t contain any fillers, junk, sugar, or other unhealthy ingredients. (read my Pupford Review here)
- Redbarn Protein Puffs – These baked, crunchy treats are made in the USA and each treat is 75% protein. They are packed with essential amino acids to support your dog’s muscle development. They’re less than 1 calorie per puff.
- Crumps’ Naturals Mini Trainers Freeze Dried Beef Liver – Made with just a single ingredient (beef liver), these complement a raw food diet. These low-calorie treats are made in Canada.
- Human food – I usually don’t recommend feeding “junk” human food to dogs but in small quantities, if it helps one accomplish their training goal, it’s ok. Some examples of human food that can be cut into tiny pieces and used for dog training treats are string cheese and hot dogs.
If you want to choose something other than what is on this list, read my article how to select the best training treat for your Dachshund.
Treat Training Pouch
It’s important that you give your Dachshund the treat/reward immediately after successful completeion of the command.
Having the rewards where you can quickly grab them is most easily accomplished by wearing a treat pouch around your waist (it’s best if it’s positioned slightly behind your back so your dog doesn’t immediately see the treats and expect one).
Two of my favorite training treat pouches are:
- Ruffwear Treat Trader Pouch – 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.
- OllyDog Goodie Dog Treat Bag – This treat bag can be worn 3 ways – clipped on to a belt loop or pocket, using the removable waist-belt, or attached to the owner’s belt through the tunnel fabric – and has a magnetic closure, wide opening, and a zippered stash pocket.
A Clicker for Marking Behavior
The concept of using a clicker, versus using your voice, to mark the instant your dog correctly performs the behavior, producing a distinct sound at a precise moment.
A verbal “Yes!” can be used as a marker word but a clicker is often more precise and effective.
Using a clicker can help some Dachshunds learn exactly what is expected of them more quickly.
Once they have the command down reliably, you can phase out the clicker.
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.
Some Things I’ve Taught My Dachshund
Presonally, I’m more interested in teaching my Dachshund functional commands – things that help us live more harmoniously and that help make my life easier – rather than tricks
However, I have also taught them things for fun.
Here are some things I have taught, or am teaching, my Dachshund.
- Recall – to come when called in case they get loose and so they can have off-leash privileges in select, safe situations.
- Leave it – to ignore something be it food on the ground, other dogs, etc.
- To walk in a harness or jacket (this was a struggle with my Dachshund puppy at first)
- Here – when we are hiking or moving, I use “here” and point my finger to indicate where I want them to stand.
- On your mat (place) – used when I want them to lay on a bed, mat, or area rug and relax there. This is also handy when we are eating at a dog friendly restaurant and I want to keep them from roaming around.
- Down – the command to lay down. I have also taught Summit a secondary command, which is put your head down while laying down (for cute photos you know)
- How to hold something in their mouth (this was only successful with Summit because she was already inclined to do it)
- Wait (stay) – I use this when we are moving but I want them to stop and wait for me or stand still for a photo
Now, I mainly focus on reinforcing these commands for consistency.
That’s enough for me because the rest of their mannerisims and behaviors are not an issue for me.
It’s ok to not have a perfectly trained Dachshund. Just work on the things you can’t live with.
Well, that’s almost true.
Two other things I am working on (and by that I mean making a half attempt and hoping for the best) is to not jump on people and to not go nuts when the mailman pulls up to the house.
For the latter, my strategy is to not yell and to ask them to go to their mat in the other room for treats.
It does shut them up.
My hope is that someday, with enough repitition, they will automatically run to their mat when the mailman comes.
It took significantly less effort than I thought it would to train my Dachshund.
They’re smart and pick up commands easily with the right motivation (an irrisistable training treat for most of them).
I’m very happy that I stopped believing in the stereotype that Dachshunds are hard to train and they don’t need to be trained.
Traveling, running errands, hiking, and eating out at dog friendly restaurants are much more pleasureable and less stressful now – for myself, my Dachshunds, and other people.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.