The Wiener Problem: How I Trained my Dachshund
For the Love of a Wiener Dog
For any of you that are familiar with Dachshunds, you understand just how stubborn they can be. I do not really think I trained them so much as they trained me to accept their ways. What I have learned is that you cannot baby them and that it is very important with this breed to be the "leader of the pack". All training, especially house-training, needs to be done consistently and with much time spent. It is not an easy breed, so anyone looking to bring one of these cute little guys into their lives needs to evaluate if they will fit into their lifestyle.
This is a basic guide of things I have learned over the years about the breed and some stories of my Dachshund Trials.
There are three varieties of Dachshund: the short-haired or smooth, the wire-haired, and the long-haired. With a long body and short legs, they are by far my favorite breed just due to the cuteness factor. The Dachshund is a curious and clever breed and are surprisingly brave for their size - or maybe because of their size. They become devoted to their family, and can become aggressive towards strangers and other dogs.
This little breed needs an owner who knows how to be in charge or the house will be theirs and they will dictate the owners behaviors. They are usually recommended only for older, well behaved children, due to the tendency of developing protectiveness that can cause unpredictable behaviors. This usually develops due to the owner's lack of leadership.
This breed has an instinct to dig, retrieve and can have a loud bark. Of my three Dachshunds, one has the retriever gene and will fetch a ball and bring it back until I decide to stop throwing it. Another one takes all his treats out to the yard to bury and dig up at a later date. It is very funny when we go out to plant something, he sees that we are digging in the yard and will go out and dig up all his treasures before we can find them. All three love to bark and this has been the most difficult problem to fix. So far I have found only a bark collar to work, which I hate to use and only do in extreme situations. The only good thing about these collars are that once they found out what they did, as soon as I get them out they usually will stop barking. Dachshunds are burrowers by nature and love to burrow in blankets and other items around the house. This is important to remember as I had a friend who did not know his little dog was borrowed in the blankets on his bed as he jumped in and broke the poor little guys leg (luckily, there was no permanent damage). All three of my dogs love to be under any blankets they can find and sleep in little mini sleeping bags at night. They also have a tendency to over-eat and have weight issues that can adversely effect their health.
This is One Crazy Wiener
I have to say, all my Dachshunds are just a little bit crazy. From obsessively chasing toys to hiding in the trees waiting to catch a bird, they are always getting into some kind of trouble. One of my dogs has been able to catch three birds and to my delight brought them into the house to "play" with. I had to trim back all the bushes and trees in the back yard so he could not sit back and wait for an unsuspecting bird to land close. Now he can no longer catch him a playmate.
My red Dachshund loves to watch TV. I have heard many people say this about their dogs but I have never had one this addicted. He will become so consumed we have to turn it off so he will calm down. He can be dead asleep and a song from a commercial he likes come on and he pops right out of his bed to watch it. One of his favorite things to watch is bull-riding. We actually had to stop watching bull-riding because he would not stop jumping up at the TV, barking at the bulls.
The health problems that Dachshunds can face are many and can be extremely expensive. I think anyone thinking about getting a Dachshund should be prepared for this expense by buying a pet insurance plan. I wish it was something I knew about when I first got mine, it would have saved me a lot of money. Other way to potentially solve this problem is to buy from a reputable breeder. Although this will not insure you will not face these problems, the chance will be greatly lessened. These dogs usually cost more but are well worth it. There are also many Dachshunds that need to be rescued. Many people get these little dogs not understanding their needs and how difficult they are to train and just give up on them. There is no better love than a what a rescued dog will give you.
Dachshunds are known to have spinal problems, especially inter-vertebral disk disease (IVDD), due in part to an extremely long spinal column. The risk is increased by obesity, jumping, rough handling, or intense exercise. About 20-25% of Dachshunds will develop IVDD. Bad Breeding is a big factor to this number.
Treatment of IVDD consists of combinations of crate confinement and anti-inflammatory medications, mainly steroids. Serious cases may require surgery to remove ruptured disk contents. A dog may need the aid of a cart to get around if paralysis occurs.
My first Dachshund, a mini dapple, became paralyzed at four years old. She was from a "backyard" breeder and if I had more education I would have understood all the warning signs. I was pressured into taking her home when she was only 5 weeks old. The mother dog had already left the pups on their own and they were eating solid food. Puppy's should never be sold at such a young age, this shows the breeder did not care about the health of the puppies. She was so small, she fit in my shirt pocket and would play under the very low couch.
Luckily, we were with her when the paralysis occurred and was able to get her to a surgeon in time to fix the problem. She now has almost full movement thanks to a neuro-vet who performed a laminectomy. This was of course at great cost to us, just shy of $4000. We do not let her jump on or off furniture and have ramps for over al stairs in the yard. She also is not allowed to chase her ball for too long.
Other common problems that dachshunds tend to have include hereditary epilepsy, dental problems, Cushing's syndrome, thyroid problems, allergies and various eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma and corneal ulcers. Dachshunds are more likely than other breeds to develop patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital heart defect. Since the occurrence and severity of these health problems is largely hereditary, it is important to only use breeders that are working to eliminate these.
I could never see myself with another breed of dog. Even with all their problems, they are the breed for me!
I hope this helps someone decide if this cute and lovable breed is for them.