In case you missed the first part of this series, you can read it here: Training a Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund – Part 1. In this second installment on Training a Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund, I am covering some particularly tricky issues. These include crate training, socialisation, and the dreaded regressions! I hope you find this information helpful, and feel free to leave a comment about your experience.
An aspect of Wilbur’s personality that I adore is how much he loves to see other people and dogs. This can also be frustrating because he flumps on the ground and refuses to leave if he’s enjoying visiting ! Generally though, it makes it so much easier and more enjoyable to walk your dog if they aren’t afraid or aggressive towards others. This fear and aggression can be an issue with dachshunds. There are certainly many dachshunds I’ve met that are really unfriendly! Do you best to socialise your puppy with lots of different types of people and dogs. It will pay off in the long run! This Blue Cross guide to socialising your puppy is a good place to start.
In regards to interactions with big dogs, I’ve found that two things can happen:
- People have big dogs that are afraid of little dogs because they can be aggressive.
- People with bigger dogs are worried that Wilbur is afraid.
I find that if I initiate an encounter (with dogs or kids) and say to Wilbur “go say hello” it makes it easier to gauge the situation. Sometimes people are incredibly grateful that we’ve let him meet their dog. Other times, I appreciate when people say “sorry my dog isn’t friendly”, and we skirt around them. Off lead is a bit of a trickier situation, but I use my best judgement. I try avoid Wilbur being run over by a stampeding greyhound, while still letting him have fun with the bigger dogs.
When we meet little kids, I crouch down and pet Wilbur while the kids pet him. This keeps everyone calm and gentle.
I think it took until around 7 or 8 months before Wilbur was routinely sleeping through the night in his crate. Even now at 15 months , bedtime routines can be difficult. Wilbur often gets a hormone surge in the evening, and turns into a humpy demon that barks in frustration. The crate is intended to be your pup’s safe space so it needs to remain as such. One of the biggest errors we made was using the crate as a “time out” space because it’s the only space we really have. I felt like this slowed down our progress with crate training.
If you’re just getting started, try feeding you dog their meal in the crate, or give them a peanut butter Kong. Otherwise, it’s really down to routine and repetition. I spent many hours sitting beside the crate in a chair saying on repeat “if you’re tired, go to sleep in your crate”. Of course, now Wilbur is big enough to jump on the sofa so he naps there during the day.
Crate Training Tips
- A tact I tried which was inadvertently successful was letting Wilbur fall asleep on the sofa at night. I found that he would wind up in his crate anyways, which is a clear indicator that crate is his safe space.
- The crate should be large enough that they can comfortably lie down and turn around, but not too big. It should be safe and durable and be located in a draft-free part of the house. Dogs tend to prefer to sleep in corners/ against a wall.
- Sound machines with white noise can be helpful if your dog wakes up to nighttime noises.
- An article of worn clothing for scent comfort can be very helpful if your pup has separation anxiety.
- Dachshunds love to burrow and they can always be found under blankets. I recommend going for a medium weight fleece throw (affiliate link) intended for humans, rather than the overpriced fleece blankets marketed specifically for dogs.
- Wilbur was going to bed on his own for a while, but that is no longer the case. We wait until he falls asleep and then transfer him to the crate.
- A bedtime routine of light off and sound machine on and low volume on t.v signals that it’s time for sleep!
Like children, routine is important with dogs. However, it can be a catch-22 because any change to the routine can really throw off your dog. We are finding this challenging with me going back to on-site work and Wilbur is now trying to get used to a new routine. Another example is timing for meals and walks. They might not be the brightest breed of dogs, but dachshunds will let you know when it’s time to do something, even it’s only 5 minutes late for the evening walk.
Something we quickly discovered is that puppies go through regressions. The teething regression at 4-5 months is hard work. Then, we had a regression at around 6 months which was very hormonal/humpy. I think there was another regression at 8 months and again at a year. These velociraptor memes are quite common and I’ve seen the raptor phase marked from 18-36 months. We are at 15 months now and there is very little sign of the dinosaur disappearing. The advice I’ve seen, which I agree with, is that you might have to go back to basics, and you will need a heck of a lot of patience. Much like a toddler and then teenager, they are testing boundaries.
What we are still working on
- Trimming nails. Most recent success was eating peanut butter off a spoon while we trimmed.
- Barking (mainly at us, not other people/dogs)
- Separation anxiety and time on his own