I’ve spent the last 20 years studying the Dachshund breed and there are 10 common behavior problems I see most often.
Now, some of these aren’t “problems” per se.
They may just be behaviors owners are shocked or surprised by because they didn’t fully understand the Dachshund breed before they got one.
Although my experience is primarily with mini Dachshund behavior problems, standard Dachshund behavior issues are very similar.
In other words, the common Dachshund behavior issues have more to do with the breed than their size (mini and standard is just a size classification of the same breed dog).
I will also preface this with the notion that not all Dachshund owners see everything on this list a behavior problem.
What is annoying to one owner may be acceptable, or even cute, to another.
Generally though, all of the things on this list could be considered problems and probably would be by a dog trainer looking in on your life.
Below are the Dachshund behavior problems I see most often and propose a solution or two to help you modify, or minimize, the undesirable behaviors.
The 20 Dachshund Behavior Issues I See Most Frequently
These are the Dachshund behaviors that I see owners lament about, or ask for help for, most frequently.
1) Excessive barking
Dachshunds were bred to hunt.
Part of their duties were alerting hunters when they found prey or perceived a threat.
This means Dachshunds are natural barkers.
A Dachshund may also bark out of boredom, lack of exercise, attention seeking, or separation anxiety (see below).
If your Dachshund is constantly barking, it can be a nuisance to neighbors, to you, or get you kicked out of your apartment.
While you should never expect to stop your Dachshund, you can minimize it and manage the excessive barking behavior.
2) Separation Anxiety
Dachshunds are very social and get attached to their people.
Some might say Dachshunds are needy and, typically, they favor one person in the household over all others.
When separated from this particular person, or their people in general, whether it’s because you left the house or simply walked into another room and your dog can’t follow you, your Dachshund may experience what is called separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety can lead to inappropriate behavior like excessive barking, howling, and destructiveness.
Barking caused by separation anxiety tends to be different than the nuisance barking above.
Nuisance barking can range from occasional barking to prolonged barking where a bunch of barks are strung together when they sense a danger.
Think bark, bark, baaaaark.
You can usually determine if your Dachshund’s excessive barking and howling is caused by separation anxiety by the type of bark.
Your dog will typically bark for a prolonged period of time but with space in between – bark, stop, bark, stop, bark, stop – or howling like arooooooo in kind of a “sad voice”.
This howling may also have a moment of silence in between but often it’s just long enough for a Dachshund to catch their breath and do it again.
Curing your dog’s separation anxiety takes a lot of repetition and patience but it can be done.
See the separation anxiety article linked to above for a how-to explanation..
3) Potty accidents in the house
Dachshunds have a reputation for being notoriously difficult to potty train.
There are so many factors involved in successful potty training.
Typically, potty training fails because a mistake was made somewhere in the process.
I am not putting all of the blame on the owner – Dachshunds have their own ideas and can be challenging – but there are plenty of opportunities to accidentally send your dog the wrong message.
- Training with potty pads inside the house first.
I know sometimes this is unavoidable but a dogs tend to generalize behavior and going potty in the house is going in the house to them no matter what the surface is.
- Not taking your dog out often enough.
- Failing to recognize your Dachshund’s subtle signals they need to got out
But one of the biggest things that can lead to what I like to call “pooping in the house season” is a Dachshund’s reluctance to go potty in the rain or cold.
4) Pulling on the leash
Dachshunds will often pull on the end of the leash when they go for walks.
This is especially true if they aren’t getting enough exercise, or haven’t been out for a while, so they are overly excited or anxious.
Dachshunds may also pull on the end of the leash because they are naturally inclined to explore and investigate their environment.
Additionally, if a dog is not trained to walk on a leash, they may not understand the concept of remaining close to their owner and may pull in order to go where they want.
The solution is teaching your Dachshund good leash manners, potentially teaching them to walk beside you in a heel, and making sure you are taking your Dachshund for a walk frequently enough.
5) Barking and lunging at strange dogs and people while on leash
When a Dachshund barks and pulls on the leash when they pass new dogs or people, this is called reactivity or, more specifically, leash reactivity.
Your dog is likely fearful, anxious, or over-excited and “reacting” to the stimuli.
Not only is this behavior bad manners, and potentially embarrassing for you, but it could result in a dog fight if the other one is unfriendly or interprets your Dachshund’s behavior as a threat.
There are several training techniques that can help with your Dachshund’s reactivity problem, like the “leave it” command, or desensitization through the “look at that” exercise.
However, the most important way to thwart reactive behavior is through proper socialization and confidence building.
6) Refusal to walk on leash
Dachshunds, especially Dachshund puppies, are notorious for stopping in the middle of a walk and refusing to go any further.
In some cases, this could be due to asking your puppy to do too much exercise too soon.
But it can also be due to fearfulness – being scared of what’s ahead – or refusal to walk in a harness or jacket that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Giving a couple, soft, encouraging tugs on the leash may be enough to get your Dachshund to start walking again.
But if that doesn’t work, don’t try to drag your Dachshund along with you.
Instead, try these tips to get your Dachshund walking again.
7) Refusal to come when called
Because they were bred for hunting, Dachshunds love to follow their nose.
When a Dachshund gets on an interesting scent, or finds something very intriguing, it can seem like their brain shuts off and they don’t hear you calling their name.
It’s unlikely that your Dachshund didn’t hear you though.
Compared to humans, dogs hear nearly twice as many frequencies as humans and they can hear from almost 4 times the distance away.
In order to get your Dachshund to come back consistently every time you call them, you need to make yourself more interesting than anything else they will find out in the world and regularly practice recall training.
8) Submissive urination
Submissive urination is a behavior in dogs where they pee when they they feel threatened, scared, or overly excited.
This can happen when they are greeted by unfamiliar people, scolded or punished, when you come home and your Dachshund is excited to see you, when you try to pick your dog up, etc.
Submissive urination is a normal and instinctive way for dogs to show submission and appeasement to a perceived higher-ranking individual or to defuse a situation that is causing them stress.
It is important to understand that this is not a house training issue, and scolding or punishing a dog for submissive urination will likely make the problem worse.
Instead, try to identify your dog’s triggers and minimize actions or situations that cause your Dachshund to submissively urinate.
The article about confidence building and socialization linked to in the above section about barking and lunging on leash.
Dachshunds like to jump.
This includes jumping up on people, jumping off furniture, and jumping against things like the door or cupboards.
Jumping at the door or on people can be annoying.
However, any jumping, especially off furniture, can be risky for a Dachshund.
Dachshunds are the breed most commonly affected by Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD), a genetic disease that can cause spinal disk ruptures, back injuries, and paralysis.
While it’s probably impossible to stop your Dachshund from jumping in all circumstances, minimizing it is the prudent thing to do.
You can minimize your Dachshund jumping on people by putting them in a crate or pen when guests first arrive, through training, or jumping off furniture by using a ramp or blocking access.
10) Begging for food
Almost all Dachshunds will try to convince you they are starving 24/7. They are definitely food hounds!
And the pleading eyes? So hard to resist.
But too many treats and table scraps can lead to your Dachshund becoming overweight which, in turn, can lead to other health issues, including shortening their life.
The best ways to put a stop to begging is to ignore your Dachshund (don’t even say “no” or give eye contact), put them in a crate or pen away from where you are eating, or train them not to.
I have a rule at my house: My Dachshunds are allowed to sit near me when I eat but they can only look at me and my food if they are sitting on the floor.
They are not allowed to stare at my plate from eye level (if I’m sitting on the couch).
They know to lay there and look the other way or burrow under the blankets so they can’t see.
If they violate this rule, and don’t go back to the proper behavior when I gently say “no”, I put them in their crate until I am done eating.
11) Resource guarding
Resource guarding is when your Dachshund finds something to be of high value and they protect and defend it.
- Growing at you when you try to take a favorite toy away
- Growling at you, or other pets in your household, if they get too close to your Dachshund’s food dish
- Growling or snapping at a friend or boyfriend when they try to hug you or sit close on the couch
- Barking or snapping if you try to remove you dog from furniture
Keys to prevent and discourage resource guarding include:
- Proper socialization, teaching training commands like “drop” or “leave it”,
- Supervising your Dachshund’s interactions with other animals or people
- Removing the item they are resource guarding
- Teaching the dog that good things happen when other dogs or people are around their resources or they give it back to you
- Consulting a professional trainer or behaviorist if the resource guarding is severe
My Dachshund Summit will occasionally resource guard food and her favorite toys.
In most cases, I don’t let her plan with the dog toys she is obsessed with when other dogs are around (including my second Dachshund).
If I am giving both of my dogs treats, I watch her closely for any sign she is getting nervous like side eye or quiet grumbling.
12) Fearfulness and Shyness
Dachshunds can have a tendency to be fearful or shy around new people and dogs.
They may also be wary of new places or sounds.
This can result in frequent barking, refusal to enter a room or building, shaking, growling, or submissive urination (mentioned above).
I know I keep mentioning socialization but that really is a key here.
A Dachshund who is comfortable around, and regularly exposed to, new people, dogs, sights, and sounds will be more likely to be calm and relaxed in all situations.
For example, some dogs will sit alert and bark at every tiny noise when staying in a hotel room.
My Dachshunds are exposed to new situations and sounds all of the time so they rarely react when we are staying in a hotel.
13) Destroying things in the house
Dachshunds like to chew and dig. They have very strong jaws and a lot of determination.
Unfortunately, this means they might chew your socks, underwear, baseboards, charging cable, or dig holes in the carpet.
The two best ways to combat this are to keep your dog in a pen or crate when you are gone so they physically can’t destroy things and to teach them early what is acceptable to chew on and what isn’t.
However, it’s also important to pay attention to when it’s happening in order to try and solve the issue.
Destroying things in the home can also be a sign of separation anxiety if they do it primarily when you leave the house.
14) Digging holes in the yard
As stated above, Dachshunds like to dig. It’s in their nature.
Dachshunds were bred to hunt animals that burrow in the ground.
In order to get to them, Dachshunds were often required to dig and excavate the dirt in burrows, dens, and tunnels.
Even though most Dachshunds don’t hunt anymore, some Dachshunds still really love to dig.
They might satisfy this urge by digging up your flower beds, digging holes in the yard, or digging holes under the fence to escape.
You can help prevent your Dachshund from digging holes in the yard by providing adequate mental stimulation and physical exercise so they don’t get bored.
You can also try providing an appropriate place to dig, like a dog sandbox, and teaching them to dig there.
15) Bolting out the door
Oh, my. When I open the back door, my Dachshund Summit takes off like a shot into the back yard.
I let her because our yard is fenced but many Dachshunds will try to run out the front door as soon as you open it due to things like impatience, excitement, or chasing “prey” passing by.
This poses a danger though because your Dachshund could run into traffic, run off and get lost, or run off and encounter dangerous wildlife (link).
To prevent dogs from bolting out the door, it is important to train them to understand basic obedience commands like “stay” and “come” and to supervise them when the door is open.
Training your Dachshund to sit and wait for a release word (permission) to go out the door can help prevent a rogue escape artist too.
Dachshund have a strong prey drive, which means they like to chase fast-moving things.
These things could be cars, children, cats, or wildlife.
The best way to prevent the chasing children is to teach children to walk calmly around them and to not move too fast.
The best way to keep your Dachshund from chasing other things is to keep them on a leash when you leave the house or perfect their recall training (but it’s difficult to get a Dachshund to comply 100% of the time)
17) Defiance and Stubbornness
Dachshunds developed tenacity, the willingness to persevere, and the ability to think independently back when they were bred to hunt.
While these traits make Dachshunds highly intelligent, it also makes them relentless problem solvers.
I always tell people that a Dachshund will use their smarts and ingenuity to find an easier way around what you are asking them to do in order to get the reward.
This trait can be perceived as stubborn or defiant.
But they are really smart and it’s not difficult to train a Dachshund to do what you want if you are patient and consistent.
Sometimes, when all you want to do is get some work down or lay on the couch watching Netflix, your Dachshund may get really hyper, bark and zoom around the house.
This could be because your Dachshund is bored, they aren’t getting enough exercise, they’re over-stimulated, or over-tired (this is very common with puppies).
My Dachshund Summit almost always gets hyper after dinner.
She can be disruptive and relentless in her pursuit to pester me or run around the house and sometimes she tries to hump by arm or her dog bed.
A lot of this hyperactivity can be addressed by teaching your Dachshund to settle when it’s quiet time.
This can be done through “place” training – training a dog to sit on a bed or mat and settle – or by teaching them a word that means to settle down like “calm” or “tranquilo”.
If that doesn’t work, sometimes giving your dog a short time out in a crate or pen will help them understand that hyperactivity is not welcome at this time.
It is important to note that hyperactivity can be caused by medical conditions like an overactive thyroid or a brain tumor so it’s best to get your dog checked out at the vet if this is a new habit.
19) Whining or grumbling for attention
Oof! This one is a biggie with my Dachshund Summit.
Her favorite thing to do? Wait until I’m in the middle of a work project and then stand in front of a blanket grumbling so that I will come over and lift the edge so she can burrow under it.
When a Dachshund whines or grumbles, they are usually trying to tell you they want something.
However, they may desire something they can’t have so this one is not easily solved by giving them what they want (which, really, will just train them that this behavior gets them what they want anyway).
The best course of action against this is to ignore them or redirect their attention to something else (not the thing they wanted but something satisfying like a toy or chew).
Dachshund puppies often bite because they explore the world with their mouth and teeth.
They may also think it’s fun.
You can follow these tips to stop your puppy from biting.
If your adult Dachshund is nipping and biting though, you have a bigger problem.
An adult Dachshund may bite because they were not taught it’s unacceptable as a puppy, they are fearful and reactive, resource guarding, or they are in pain.
If your Dachshund has been biting for a long time, the cause is likely one of the first three.
I’ve discussed how to address those things above so revisit those sections if needed for help.
If the biting is a new behavior, it could signal pain or an underlying medical condition so a vet visit is in order.
It’s also important to note that what looks like biting may, in fact, be play and not an issue.
Light mouthing, biting, and tugging on skin is a natural way that dog’s play.
This game is often referred to as “bitey face” and is not harmful unless one dog is being dominated by the other, one dog is trying to escape the situation and can’t, or it has resulted in an injury.
If your dogs is biting in conjunction with what would be considered mean behavior, or they are clearly trying to harm another dog or person, please consult a professional trainer or behaviorist.
Like any dog breed, Dachshunds are unique and have their quirks.
While some of these quirks are seen as cute or endearing by some, others can view them as frustrating behavior issues.
Also, these common Dachshund behaviors can become problems if they put your dog, you, or other people in danger.
If your Dachshund exhibits any of these behaviors, it’s up to you to decide what you can live with and what you can’t, and decide when and how to address them.
Hopefully, this list has made you aware of the potential behavior problems you might encounter with a Dachshund and provided some tips to help with training and behavior modification.