As a dachshund owner, I can tell you I have had more than my fair share of frustrations when it comes to training. One of the top characteristics of the breed are their independent minds which can make them quite stubborn (down means sit, stay means run away, etc.). There are lots of different training techniques out there, but over the next 8 weeks I am here to show you a little bit of what has worked for me.
If there is one thing I have learned through my training experience is that I probably learned more than Flash has. For me it was about learning to manage my emotions and appear calm even when I was angry, frustrated or unsure of what I was doing. It is for these reasons I would highly suggest working with an experienced trainer if you can. They can help correct YOU when YOU are not teaching your dog the right way. Dogs are easily conditioned through repetition, but you must be consistent in your training. This is where a trainer can come in handy to help train both you AND your doxie.
Proper training starts with proper equipment. When training I have used a collar instead of a harness because it allows for me to provide proper corrections with minimal force. There are several types of collars to choose from. Your regular flat collar, martingales, or a prong collar (not recommended for inexperienced users). I personally use a martingale collar for training (although we are in the process of switching back to a flat one). I find it helps get through to his stubborn head a bit better than a flat collar does. A martingale collar is not designed to “choke” your dachshund in the way a slip collar would, but rather it plays on their natural instincts and is designed to mimic the feeling of an animal grabbing their neck. This tends to get their attention pretty quickly.
Secondly, you want to have a proper leash. Retractable leashes are not good training tools. They provide constant tension on the harness/collar that they are attached to. Constant tension will actually teach your dachshund to pull more. You know the way their brains work! If you are going to pull on me mom, I’m just going to pull harder! When correcting, walking, etc. you only ever want ONE second of tension on your leash. This will properly teach your dachshund that when they behave, the tension stops. You want to aim for a 6ft non-retractable leash to get the most out of your training. Consistency is key. Let’s start with some general tips about timing. After you give a command, you should allow your dachshund 3 seconds to perform it on their own, if they do not perform the command on their own, you make them do it. This is very important. If you don’t follow through and make them sit, come etc they will learn that they don’t really have to listen to you. However, if you make them do it each and every time you say a command they very quickly learn that they do not have much choice in the matter and doing it themselves and being rewarded for it is a far better option that having mom or dad make them do it. Believe me, dachshunds are an unbelievably bright breed and will catch on to this very quickly, but you must be consistent that “sit means sit”.
Did you hear her say sit?
Secondly, reward time is also very important. You may reward you dachshund with whatever you like; treats, a toy or praise (the last one might be less effective in early stages of training). I have found that treats work best. I use dehydrated beef liver treats. They are low in calories and you can break them into tiny pieces so you don’t run the risk of making your dachshund overweight through excessive treats. Your dachshund needs to be rewarded within 1.5 seconds of performing a command. This means you need to have the treat ready in your hand before you give the command. If you let this time period lapse, your dachshund may not associate the reward with the action they performed as they may already be distracted by something else (squirrel anyone?). For example, when practicing a sit command as soon as their bum touches the floor its “good dog” and a treat in their mouth!
Practice makes perfect! But when is the right time to practice with your dachshund? You always want to set your dog up for success, so practicing when they are tired or first thing in the morning when they are full of energy might not be the best time. It works best to incorporate your practice into your lifestyle. For example, in between commercials on TV or while you are making dinner. You don’t need to set aside hours a day to practice with your dog. 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there will work! The first few days after learning a new command are an important time to get lots of repetitions in.
Take baby steps! Start slow and make small steps towards your end goal. Patience, practice and consistency are everything when it comes to training a dachshund (and boy can those stubborn little weens test our patience!).
Remember, you need to learn to control your emotions when training. If you are frustrated or angry with your dog because he/she is not doing what you want, consider what it is you might be doing wrong. Take a break and let yourself cool down. Your dachshund will not respond better if you are yelling at them.
I personally hope the tips I will be showing you over the next 8 weeks provides you with a much more responsive dachshund! I know from my own experience that it does take a lot of consistency and patience, but in the end it is so, so worth it! At a little over a year old I no longer have a rambunctious puppy who runs away and begs at the table, but a very content and happy dachshund who listens to me. Nothing makes him more content than to practice his commands. It truly is his favourite part of the day and I’m hoping we can make it the best part of your dachshunds’ day as well!
If you have any questions along the way feel free to find us on Instagram @flashthesausage or to email at firstname.lastname@example.org.