Known for its hot dog shape and energetic personality, the dachshund originated during the 1600s in Germany, where he was bred to fearlessly hunt badgers. Dachshund in fact means "badger dog." These dogs come in two sizes: standard and miniature. The weight varies between 11 and 32 pounds. The dachshund has long been a popular breed; it ranked in the top 10 in popularity in 2011, according to AKC statistics. However, the breed is affected by several genetic diseases and orthopedic issues. To help prevent such problems, it is important to take care with your dachshund's diet and exercise.
Feed your dachshund a diet that contains proteins mostly derived from eggs, chicken or fish, the VetInfo website recommends. Look for high-quality dry commercial diets that list these first among the primary ingredients. Feed your dachshund according to his size and weight, following the manufacturer's directions. Don't overfeed a dachshund. Overweight puts stress on his spine and also can lead to diabetes.
Give your dachshund plenty of fresh water at all times. Dachshunds are prone to urinary and kidney stone formation; abundant water helps to prevent these stones from forming.
Give your dachshund a dog crate to serve as his own safe retreat and napping place. Place it in a quiet corner in your bedroom or another place he favors in the house. If you have children, teach them to leave your dog alone when he is in his crate so he can have a quiet area of his own. Don't use the crate for punishment, but instead give him treats in it so he'll eagerly enter it when you tell him to.
Exercise your dachshund. Take him for frequent walks on leash, or play with him outdoors. These energetic little dogs were originally bred to hunt; playing games such as fetch with some dog toys will safely give your dachshund a sense of hunting "prey." The exercise will let him expend some energy and also can help control your dog's weight. When walking your dachshund, walk at a pace he can match. These dogs have short legs and no speed.
Prevent your dachshund from jumping to get where he wants to be by providing him with special pet steps, found in pet supply stores. Dachshunds are prone to back injuries that can result in the herniation of a spinal disc or even partial paralysis, according to PetPlace.com. Injuries may be caused by jumping. Do not allow your dachshund to jump up onto furniture or other high places, or into cars. When necessary, gently pick him up, supporting his back legs, and lift him into places such as your car.
Brush your dachshund daily if he has long hair or wire hair, to prevent his coat from matting and to remove any debris. If your dachshund has short hair, brushing once per week may be sufficient.
Check your dachshund's ears regularly to make sure no infections are present. The shape of the dachshund's ears makes them prone to infections. Regular cleaning of the ears with a cotton swab and an ear-cleaning solution, found in pet-supply stores, helps prevent such infections.
Fence your yard securely if you want to allow your dachshund the freedom to enjoy being outdoors without a leash. Bury a foot of chicken wire under the fence to prevent him from digging out. The dachshund is a great burrowing dog. Your dog should have a collar and identification tags on at all times in case he escapes.
Train your dog, using a clicker and treats to focus his interest. Use brief training sessions, and always end on a good note. Teaching your dachshund obedience and tricks will help keep him occupied and less likely to take part in destructive behaviors. Take your time, and repeat training as long as it takes for your dog to respond.
Housebreak your dog by taking him to a designated spot outdoors and giving him a command such as "potty." Wait for a few minutes; if he performs as expected, praise and treat him. Keep the training consistent and frequent to prevent accidents. Return to the same spot each time.
Diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease and certain eye conditions run in the dachshund breed. Take your dog to a veterinarian for regular checkups to check for these and other illnesses he may develop.
Dachshunds may not get along well with small children, and their potential back problems make it particularly important that they be carefully protected from rough handling. Supervise all interactions between your dachshund and children under 6 years old. Teach all children the proper way to behave around dogs.
Dachshunds may suffer from separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviors such as inappropriate chewing and breaking house training. To correct a chewing habit and save your slippers, buy chew toys that you know you dog can't destroy, and let your dachshund have unlimited time with them. Provide your dachshund with plenty of exercise before you leave him alone in your house. Companionship or play dates with other dogs are an ideal solution. Puzzle toys that contain treats can help keep him occupied, but should be given only when you're there to supervise. In some cases, anti-anxiety medication prescribed by a veterinarian may be necessary.
Items You Will Need
- Dog food
- Dog toys
- Pet steps
- Ear-cleaning solution
- Cotton swabs
- Clicker training device
- Dog treats
- American Kennel Club: AKC Meet the Breeds: Dachshund
- Rescue Every Dog: Dachshund Breed Profile
- PetPlace.com: Dachshund
- PetPlace.com: Learn About Dachshund Diseases
- VetInfo: Choosing the Best Dachshund Dog Food
- VetInfo: Six Common Illnesses Found in Specific Purebred Dogs
- Eukanuba: Dachshund
- Kentucky Dachshund Rescue: The Dachshund
- American Kennel Club: AKC Dog Registration Statistics
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
- Interested Dachshund image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com