A bi-weekly set of short articles of interest for you and your dachshund family.
Kathy Perney is currently the president of Dachshund Fanciers of Central Virginia, Inc.
1. Back Issues
Do any of these sound familiar? If so, you are not alone.
Those cuddly, TV watching sweethearts can have an alternate personality… if they choose. We all love our dachshunds and we learn how to manage the challenges.
The Dachshund Fanciers of Central Virginia want to help with the management of your special wiener dog. Visit again to learn about each of these five topics in detail. Licks and wags to all!
Look at that beautiful long, distinctive back. It is a delicate instrument in the conformation of a dachshund. The long back is what makes a dachshund a dachshund, or a wiener dog, if you prefer. The dachshund was developed in a shape that allows them to pursue prey into their burrows, while having the power to engage the prey. The back and the ribbing, the support for the spinal column, work together to accomplish this purpose.
With such a long back, dachshunds are susceptible to back injuries. There are three main reasons for back problems: 1.) accidents, such as in the car or getting stepped on, 2.) age and 3.) Inter-vertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). IVDD is a sometimes genetic disease where the cushioned disc between one or more vertebrae hardens and no longer acts as a shock absorber. This can be very painful. Symptoms may include a wobbly walk, signs of pain such as shivering, panting or hiding away to avoid moving or touch, and hunching their back. If you see any of these signs, go to the vet immediately because the sooner it’s caught, the more help can be provided. Not all dachshunds have this problem. IVDD is seen in about 20 to 25% of dachshunds, which means 75 to 80% do not have this problem. Always seek out a veterinarian if your dachshund shows back pain, as the internet won’t provide the correct help.
Prevention of back issues is the most important thing you can do for your dachshund. First, keep your dachshund fit and trim. Do not allow your dog to get overweight, which is difficult with these chow hounds. More about this in the 3rd article to come. Also keep in mind the fit part of this equation. Good muscle development from adequate exercise will support the spinal column. A good walk where the dog is at a trot twice a day will help both you and your dog. Second, do not allow your dachshund to jump more than 8 to 12 inches, which is their agility height. It’s the jumping down that really hurts the back from the concussion on impact. We do note that the dog does not understand this limitation, so you are the one to watch and catch, if necessary. Third, stairs should be limited and a soft landing such as a rug should be placed at the bottom of the stairs, near any furniture the dog may jump off, or any fun jumping they may do for agility, obedience or tricks. A slippery floor on landing will increase risk of injury. Fourth, always carry your dog by supporting both the front and back parts of the body. Do not dangle the dachshund. Keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
A veterinarian will have treatments of any back injury your dachshund may encounter. Don’t rush out and buy a back brace without guidance from your vet. IVDD can be treated with pain medication and rest or some hydrotherapy or may require surgery. Every case is different. If your dachshund just loves being on the furniture, there are ramps, dog stairs or other assistive devices you can purchase to help protect your dachshund from hurting his back. Finding a good breeder who allows you to see the parents of the puppies, so you can see if they suffer from back issues, is the best way of preventing any genetic predisposition of back problems.
Dachshunds are delightful dogs that can be problem free if sensibly bred and raised. Go take your dachshund for a nice sniff and come back, pick him up and cuddle him on the couch as you stream your favorite show. It’s a good life.
Wags and licks to all.
Congratulations on your new family member! These directions are for new puppies, retraining older puppies/dogs, and for older dogs brought into a new home. Here’s a few basics before you start: 1) every day is now equal, this means no more sleeping in on weekends, 2) Now means Now, keep your shoes on and a leash and jacket on the doorknob because there is no time because now means now, 3) how well the dog is housebroken is 100% your doing, the puppy wasn’t wrong, you were. Harsh but true. Don’t worry, the more constant and consistent you are the faster the process will go. You can regain your normal life once the dog is housebroken, really. If you have vacation days coming, there is no better time to take them then when bringing a new dachshund home. This time is invaluable!
The Perfect Schedule:
Before bringing home the new puppy/dog, use a spreadsheet to set up a time schedule. Print and post it on the refrigerator, so the whole family knows the timings. Set your cell phone and/or smart speaker to set off an alarm at the appropriate times. If you choose 6:00 am as first trip out, that must be the same time every day until the puppy is consistently reliable in telling you he needs out. The same goes for the last trip out for the day, with later being better.
Here are a list of other times the puppy needs out: after eating, drinking and waking up, part way through play sessions, before and after crate use, training time, and whenever the puppy begins sniffing around. Meals should be on a strict and firm schedule, because that will fix the time for things to come out. At first, the dog should be on a one hour time schedule in addition to the above times (but don’t wake up a sleeping dachshund). As the puppy grows and learns the rules, more time can be added. The fewer accidents in the house, the faster the potty training will go. Below is an excerpt from a time schedule:
6:30 Wake up and go out _____
7:30 Feed and go out _____
8:00 Playtime and out _____
9:00 Crate training; out before and after _____
The How Tos of Potty Training:
In the beginning, always take your dachshund out on leash to the exact same spot. This spot should be where you want the dog to eliminate for the rest of his life. The reason for this is that dog’s like to eliminate where they smell that it has happened before. Just consider it inspiration. Using the same spot will make the dog comfortable going there, and you can choose to keep doorways, walking areas, and gardens free of doggie landmines.
Your presence to praise the puppy is crucial. Sending the puppy out on its own may seem simple, but until the dog is housebroken, you need to supervise. Even for well trained dogs, an occasional praising for going potty in the right place is a good thing. Training is always a work in progress!
Believe it or not, putting a command to the dog’s body functions is an excellent way of getting the dog to go in hurried situations. So, when the puppy is in the process of squatting, say, “Go potty” in a solid tone. As it starts peeing or pooping, say, “Good potty!” in a happy voice. You are free to choose your own command, but once chosen it’s for life. A little treat can be a good idea. After the puppy has done his duty, praise, praise, praise! The puppy needs to know when he or she is good.
If the dog doesn’t seem interested in going when out, crush a soft treat in your fingers and sprinkle on the ground. When she puts her nose down to sniff, she’ll become inspired if she has a need. If there is no need, go back until the next time prompt.
The Rest of the Story:
With good observation and the above training technique, that is how to potty train a puppy or dog. Yes, it means going out with your dachshund a lot. That’s what it takes to potty train a dog. There are a few tips to make things go smoother. Whether you agree with these points or not, they do work.
If an accident happens, remove the puppy from the area without making eye contact or saying a word to the puppy. Blot up the pee or pick up the poop. Thoroughly clean the area with combination of white vinegar and water (essential oils can be added) to eliminate the odor from the puppy’s point of smell. This must be done on all types of flooring! Remember, a dog will go where he smells someone has gone before. Carpeting is not your friend as it can never be thoroughly cleaned.
If you catch the puppy in the act, pick him up, don’t say a word, and hustle him to the appropriate spot. He or she should stop going when picked up, but maybe not. Put him down and when he resumes going, PRAISE! Do not say a word to the puppy when you catch him, and especially don’t yell at him. Yelling at the puppy in this situation will cause him or her to sneak off somewhere else to go, and he will fear your reaction while out on leash. It is always better to praise when the puppy is doing good and to be silent and avoid eye contact when he is bad. A dog is reinforced with any sort of attention, praise, yelling, petting, spanking, but cannot except being ignored. This knowledge helps in all sorts of training.
A dog will not go potty where he sleeps or lives. This is why crate training is possible, when done correctly.The above behavior will aid in potty training by lowering the number of places the dog will go in the house. If you play, roll, and train the puppy in all different places, he will smell it’s a live zone and not use those areas as bathrooms. Both dogs and humans need to do the rolling!
If crate training, the puppy needs to spend some time in the crate each day. After a walk and play session and before the puppy falls asleep on his own, take him out, and then bring him in and crate him. Start at a half hour in the crate, and then take him out again. Increase the time every four or five days. If he fouls the crate, do as described above under “if an accident happens”. If a bath is required, do not speak or make eye contact under this one condition. This is crucial to prevent a bad habit.
If your puppy has an issue with dribbling or very frequent squats to pee, you may want to have a vet check for a bladder infection. This is very common in female puppies, but can occur in either sex.
How to Pick Up Poop:
For a yard a pooper-scooper set works well. Purchase your set at a pet store or hardware store, scoop up the poop, and place it in an empty dog food bag. While out on foot, keep a plastic bag in your pocket always. Any type of plastic bag will do. You can purchase scented poop bags, sandwich bags, grocery bags, or anything fits the size you need. Inside out the bag, slip your hand in so it’s on the real outside of the bag, grab the poop with your plastic covered hand, pull through so bag goes right side out, knot or seal the top, and dispose of the bag in an appropriate place. Practice makes this process quick, easy, and neat. If you are too squeamish for this process, dog ownership isn’t for you.
Doggie Door Bell:
It’s often difficult to tell when the dog needs out, so here’s a nifty trick. Start this when you get your puppy, but older dogs can learn it, too. Hang a bell from the doorknob of the door you will commonly use to take your dog out. Each time you take it out that door, jingle the bell. After a few days, start using the dog’s paw or nose to ring the bell, then praise! Do this every time you take the dog out to go potty. In time, the puppy will ring the bell on her own, and you will praise her and take her out. If the door is frequently used with other traffic, hang the bell on a hook near the door so it remains special for the dog’s needs.
How to potty train: Set and keep a strict schedule, praise like crazy when the puppy goes in the correct place, ignore the dog when he’s done bad. Most puppies are potty trained by four months of age, with few accidents. If problems still exist after this point, start over from the beginning, and work harder at your consistency and clean up. Always praise good behavior!!!! Hopefully, someone will praise you for your excellent dachshund potty training!
Licks and wags to all!
Dachshunds love to eat. They are the dog that put chow in the phrase chow hound. As a dachshund lover, we love to make our dogs happy by giving them what they want. In many cases, this leads to an overweight dog. Yes, there are the rarer cases of dachshunds that don’t want to eat anything, but they are definitely the exception, not the rule. With added weight, our precious dachshunds are put at higher risk of health problems, especially Inter-vertebral Disc Disease (I.V.D.D., see previous article). We don’t want that!
How do we know if our dachshund is overweight, the right weight or underweight? Here’s a rule of thumb, or hand. Lay your hand flat on a table (see below), palm side down. Feel across the knuckles below your fingers. This is how your dog’s ribs should feel, where you feel the bones without needing to press very much. Now, flip your hand over. Feel the underside of your knuckles below your fingers. You can feel bumps, but no bones. If your dog’s ribs feel this way, it is overweight. If you have to press down to feel bones on the rib cage, your dog is a bit heavy. Now make a fist. Again, run your finger along your base knuckles, as in step one. If your dog’s ribs feel this bony, it is too skinny. This is a quick and easy test for the weight condition of your dog. There is variation between hands, but it gives a general sense. The AKC dachshund standard states that mini dachshunds are 11 pounds or less and standard dachshunds are 16 to 32 pounds. That can tell you very little as the weight of your dog depends on the bone structure. What about the tweenies between 12 to 15 pounds? These weights are for classification purposes, not to tell you what your dog should weigh.
Keeping track of your dog’s weight is a very good idea. Using an ordinary household scale, you can weigh yourself holding your dog, put the dog down and weigh yourself alone. Subtract the second number from the first and you will get an approximate weight of your dog. This is a more economical method than visiting a vet office. Keep a log on paper, your phone or computer. If you see your dachshund’s weight increasing or decreasing, it may be time to take some action. With my many dachshunds, we weigh them weekly, as it saves a lot of time and grief later. Taking weights once or twice a month weights will help you keep good track of your dog’s condition.
Why is my dachshund overweight? There are many answers to this question. Here are some the possibilities: the type of dog food, the amount of dog food, the amount of exercise, the number of treats given, or the indulgence of table scraps. Any of these can cause weight issues, double that if there are multiples. Remember, most dachshunds will eat first and ask if it’s edible after it’s swallowed. If it’s there, dachshunds will eat it!
Dog food and the amount to feed is a tough decision. The amount of energy in the food will be listed on the bag or can as KCAL of ME per kilogram or cup. This is required by law and how the diet is formulated. Energy equals exercise or weight gain. The bag will also approximate the amount of food needed by the weight of your dog. This amount is often given in a range, making it that much more difficult to feed correctly. Also, the amount suggested is based on “an average, active dog”. Once your dog is a year old and eating adult dog food, starting at the bottom amount suggested and taking time to see how that amount affects your dog’s condition is a good start. Some dogs may need less than what the dog food bag suggests. Choosing a lower energy food or a diet food can be beneficial if you like feeding a larger amount. Another idea is to feed the lower amount of food and adding salt-free frozen green beans to the bowl to give your dog a fuller feeling. There is never a time where your dog will always eat the same amount of food each and every feeding. During hot weather, your dog needs less energy to stay cooler, so less food. When it is cold out, your dog needs a little more energy to produce heat. Again, weighing your dog regularly will assist in noticing its changing needs.
Most authorities will state that dachshund owners do not sufficiently exercise their dogs. Although small, dachshunds need exercise. A mini needs at least 30 minutes of activity per day and a standard needs about 60 minutes. Exercise includes walks, playing fetch, obedience or agility training, and games such as hide and seek. It may be easy to carry that adorable mini around, but it needs to walk enough to stay healthy. Exercise is a habit that can take time to get used to, but it is good for both you and your dog.
Who doesn’t love to give a dog a treat? Treats are awesome and the dogs go nuts for them. When giving treats, you must adjust the amount of dog food the dog receives. A calorie is a calorie whether from a treat or dog food. There are an abundance of treats to be found, all with different enticement levels and calories. For high calorie treats, consider giving smaller pieces. If you want some lower calorie treats, Charlee Bears have 3 calories each and Baby Goldfish crackers have 1½ calories each, and dogs love them! Another option is to treat with carrots, cucumbers, raw zucchini or apple cubes. These options will allow you to give treats without tipping the scale too much.
Table scraps are a bone of contention among dog owners. It seems people are all for or all against table scraps. Before commercial dog foods were available, dogs ate table scraps or what they found for themselves. We still have dogs, so it won’t kill them. Sparing amounts of table scraps, if your dog is in good condition and gets lots of exercise, can be given. The decision should be based on what the scraps are and what condition the dog is in. Keep in mind that table scraps are usually high in calories and salt, which may not be good for your dachshund.
Managing the weight of your dachshund is an ongoing endeavor. Your loving dachshund is worth the effort. Control the urge to give a free treat. Make the dog do something for it. Mental work also burns calories. Always listen to your vet about the weight of your dog, even if you disagree. Keep your dog fit, trim, and healthy!
Licks and wags to all!
Lay hand flat on a table palm side down.This is how your dog's ribs should feel, where you feel bones without needing to press very much.
Lay hand on table palm side up. Feel the underside of your knuckles below your fingers. You can feel the bumps but not the bones. If this is how your dogs ribs feel, it's overweight.
If you have to press down to bones on the rib cage, your dog is a bit heavy.
Make a fist. Again, run your finger along the base of your knuckles, as before. If your dogs ribs feel this bony, it's too skinny.
Why does my dachshund bark so much? This is a common question among dachshund owners. Dachshunds were developed to hunt. Part of hunting is to notify their owner that game has been spotted and is being pursued. To add to the problem, dachshunds are very territorial, so a fuss must be made if their turf is invaded. Also, it’s not uncommon for a dachshund to be lonely or in need of some attention, so a bit of barking may solve these dilemmas. Put all these together and you can understand why your dachshund is barking. Barking is both a genetic and a training problem.
Before you can fix the problem, you need to figure out what triggers your dog into barking. Was it a flash across the window? Another dog barking? A noisy car? The doorbell? These all indicate a territorial protection bark. Did a squirrel run up a tree in the backyard? Or, a mole tunnel through the lawn? Or, A bird land at the feeder? These suggest a prey drive bark. Have you been sitting at your computer all afternoon? Are you cooking dinner? Is it time to go for a walk? These imply an attention getting bark. One last possibility is that you trained your dog to bark by doing the same action repeatedly while the dog is barking; such as feeding the dog or letting him outside or in the car. In this case, the dog got what it wanted when it barked, so that must be how it gets its way. Bummer for those of us guilty of this one. There are other possible triggers, but these give an idea of what might be causing your dachshund to bark.
One management technique is to distract the dachshund while it is barking. Squeak a toy, throw some treats, present a dog puzzle or take off running in the opposite direction of your dog. The dog should be so interested in what you are doing it stops barking and comes to investigate. When the dog stops barking, start praising like crazy. Adding the work “quiet” to the praise. The dog will learn the word quiet, eventually, and you may have peace at last. In order for distraction to work, you must muster the energy to physically go distract your dog. It is worth it!
Managing the triggers can be very helpful. If your dachshund loves to watch out the window to bark at what passes by, a solid window covering can stop the barking. Play a radio to block out sound triggers. Put up solid fencing the dog can’t see through. This is the easiest way to control barking, but it may not be the cheapest.
Immersion training can be most beneficial. This is where you do the trigger over and over again until your dachshund no longer cares, thus ending that trigger. An example of this is to have someone ring the doorbell several times while you throw treats at the dog to distract him. This may have to be done several times before completely effective. Some triggers may be difficult to immerse your dog thoroughly. Be creative and you may find a way.
For the attention seeking dog, ignoring him is the best way to stop the barking. If the dog barks at you, turn your back and say nothing. When the dog stops, even for a moment, turn and give him some loving. Your dog will learn barking won’t get him what he wants. This may be easier said than done. Give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Retraining the dachshund that learned to bark in a certain situation, such as at the door to go out, will take time and effort. Distraction training will help break the cycle. When in the situation, be prepared with a toy or treat to use as a distraction. When the dog starts to bark, squeak the toy or toss the treat, saying “Quiet”. As the dog stops barking, quickly open the door, of put down the food dish or hook up the leash. Consistency is a must on this method. Repeat as often as possible until the barking behavior stops. Remember to praise, praise, praise when the dog is quiet.
The last resort for breaking the barking is devices sold for this purpose. These devices will shock or spritz the dog with water or another substance. Yes, they will stop the barking as long as the battery lasts or while it is still loaded, but forget to put the collar on, or run out of fuel, and the dog will bark again. It is astounding how well they know if the collar is on and working and when it is not. Research these products carefully. Many can harm your dachshund.
If you have reached your limit and need to release some frustration, a fun way to stop barking temporarily is to squirt the dog in the ear flap with a squirt gun. When the dog looks at you, say “Good quiet” and praise like crazy. This method only works when you have the gun, are close to the dog, and on hand to squirt. Be careful to avoid the dog’s eyes. Sometimes, it feels good to shoot the dog… with water.
Barking is a difficult behavior to change, but it can be done with some understanding and determination. Find the triggers, remove or avoid the triggers, immerse your dachshund in the triggers and always let your dachshund know when it is being good. Dachshunds are prone to barking, so it’s something we all need to manage. Good luck and happy quiet!
Licks and wags to all!
Have you ever put on a jacket and found the pocket was chewed through? There were once treats in that pocket as a reward for doing good business. Not anymore! Have you ever walked into the spare bedroom only to find a doggie landmine? When you look for the culprit, there’s your dachshund innocently curled up in your favorite recliner. When did all this happen? You were watching the whole time… or so you thought. Dachshunds are wonderfully stubborn and determined to get what they want. It’s part of their charm. A dachshund wants what a dachshund wants and he’s willing to be sneaky to get it!
What is one to do with a very determined dachshund? There are options. First, you can laugh at the fact the dog pulled one over on you. This can be a difficult thing to do if the above jacket was your favorite, or the dog escaped the yard and upset a neighbor. Just remember, it is always better to laugh then to cry.
Another choice is to train your dachshund. The training does not stop the sneakiness, but it does tire the dog out enough that he would rather lay down. Training a good recall, also called the come command, can help out a lot. When you are busy with something, you can call your dachshund to you and give praise and a treat. This way, you know where your dog is. Obedience training will also create an overall good dog. Both the mind and body are used in training, making it a nice workout for your dachshund.
Crates or kennels provide safe supervision when you are out or busy. The dog crate is a safe haven for your dachshund. Your home and its contents will be protected if your dachshund is trained to a kennel. The crate is never to be used as punishment! Your dachshund will be comfy cozy in his crate as you are busy elsewhere. Many dogs will go sleep in their crate when they get tired, without any encouragement. The crate is a safety measure for you and your dog as some of the things your dog gets into can be dangerous.
Finding an alternative for your dachshund’s determination can be helpful. A good way to make your dog feel like he’s getting something is to use a dog puzzle. This can be as simple as a Kong with peanut butter in it or a more elaborate puzzle made just for dogs (see photos). The puzzle uses your dog’s mind and some physical effort to get all the treats. The puzzle can be used as a food dish for dachshunds who like to bolt their food. For extra distraction, fill the puzzle, hide it, and ask your dachshund to go find it. Your dog will be thrilled to score while satisfying his need to do it on his own. A peanut buttery Kong is a great crate pacifier because it gives the dog something to do.
A tired dachshund is a good dachshund. As emphasized in previous articles, exercise your dachshund to manage many of the issues facing this breed. A nice walk or 10 minutes of fetch can cure most of the challenges you face as a dachshund owner, sneakiness included.
The members of DFCV hope that these articles have helped you manage some of the challenges of living with a dachshund. These tips are meant to help and to be built on as you and your dog learn and grow in knowledge. Learn more by joining the club and discussing your issues with other club members. We have loads of fun talking about our beloved dachshunds.
Licks and wags to all.
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