Wilbur turned two years old this month! In some ways it feels like time has sped by and I still think of him as my puppy. Yet, in other ways, it has been a very long two years! In celebration of Wilbur’s birthday, I thought it would be fun to do a post on common dachshund behaviours and traits. If you have a dachshund, I’m sure you will be familiar with many of these traits. And, if you’re thinking about adding a dachshund to your family, these are some common behaviours and traits to be aware of!
It’s a good sign that every time I see another dachshund on the street, my response is still “OMG look a sausage dog!”, even when Wilbur is right by my side. Dachshunds are comical, adorable otter-like critters with big personalities. Wilbur’s charisma and loving nature certainly make up for some of his more frustrating traits, of which there are several.
In no particular order, here are some of Wilbur’s funny and frustrating dachshund behaviours and traits, which are common to many sausage dogs!
Dachshunds were bred to dig into badger sets after all! Wilbur digs:
- in my garden
- the sofa or the floor in frustration
- at the sunspots on the carpet
- me, when he wants something
- blankets and bedding to “get cosy”
This is probably the best-known dachshund trait. When people say they are little dogs “full of character”, what they are really saying is that they can be stubborn little devils! I would say that dachshunds are most reminiscent of a toddler who has missed their nap.
- They have tantrums when they don’t get their way.
- Selective hearing
Ask any dachshund owner, and they are likely to tell you that their dog likes to burrow. You can often find Wilbur under the covers or blanket. His favourite spot is the “cave of wonders” – i.e. under my bent knees when I’m sitting in bed!
Wilbur’s instinct to bury his bones and other precious items is strong! The particular dachshund trait that is hilarious is the “fake burying”. He will push his nose against floor as if he is shoveling soil over his bone to bury it, when in fact it is still in plain site. He will also often give it the nudging “boop” to check that it is in fact buried (it’s not).
Wilbur’s best trait is that he loves cuddles. Dachshunds certainly are known for their snuggles and lap lounges. Wilbur often sits like a baby in Lucy’s arms, or perches on my shoulder like a parrot.
I really hope it isn’t just Wilbur who has perfected the “old man groans”. If he is really comfortable or if we are too noisy, he lets out the most ridiculous sighs/groans.
This definitely isn’t applicable to all dachshunds as I know many are greedy and prone to weight issues. Wilbur is however in the fussy eater camp. Apart from some high-value treats, Wilbur can be very indifferent about his food. After a lot of trial and error, the routine that seems to work best to get him to eat consistently is:
- Breakfast – chicken porridge a.ka. some shreds of boiled chicken with kibble and a bit of hot water
- Lunch – kibble and tinned dog food. Also likes scrambled egg and kibble
- Dinner – kibble and tinned dog food
Wilbur goes through phases where he skips meals and then other times we just can’t feed him enough! He also doesn’t eat when he is stressed or feeling poorly. On the positive, he doesn’t resource guard, unless it is a precious bone!
This behaviour we affectionately call “d*ckhead tail”. When Wilbur is extra alert or mischievous his tail is raised and arched towards his back. When Wilbur has d*ckhead tail, we know we are in for some “fun” behaviour!
This trait isn’t specific to dachshunds, but they are very much prone to separation anxiety. We call Wilbur our “stage 5 clinger”, meaning he wants human contact (ideally from both of us) a lot of the time. Some of this may be due to him being a lockdown puppy. Wilbur gets upset when I leave to go to work, or if Lucy is out in the evening, but soon calms down.
The worst separation anxiety was at night. Every evening Wilbur would throw a tantrum just before or after I went to bed because he knew that eventually he would be left alone in his crate. We tried leaving the crate door open, and leaving him to sleep on the sofa, but he would just get upset. After nearly 2 years of this evening fight, Wilbur now sleeps in the bed with us. It is the compromise we are willing to take for more sleep and a less anxious dog. If you google “crate training difficulties with dachshunds”, there is very little advice out there. I have come to realise that this is because many dachshunds sleep with their humans. At least we now have peaceful evenings!
Since doxies have such long backs, they tend to stretch and lounge in unusual pretzel contorted positions. My favourite is the “upsidedown free ballin'” with legs splayed.
I don’t really need to expand on this. Dachshunds are notorious barkers. Wilbur tends to bark at people over the back garden fence, he sometimes barks at other dogs. However, he mostly barks at us for attention. This is my least favourite dachshund trait.
I don’t think all dachshunds necessarily love the heat. Wilbur, on the other hand, would fry his little brain given the chance! If there is any spot of sunshine in the house, Wilbur will sleep there. Most often, I need to bring him indoors so that he doesn’t overheat. In winter, he is a sad Eeyore who yells at me when there is no sunshine.
Wilbur’s more unusual traits
- Likes to poop with his butt in the air against trees/fences.
- Self-flagellates with his rope toys
- Thinks all farts come out of his butt and gets very concerned and stares at his butt.
- Trots around like a prancing pony, and bites his harness at his chest before walks (excitement)
If you have a dachshund, comment below what their funny / annoying traits are!
Happy 2nd Birthday, Wilbur!