There is so much to love about the indomitable Dachshund breed, with personalities the size of Great Danes in their little sausage-shaped bodies. Unfortunately, the very things that endear the Dachshund so sought after are also the cause of destructive breed-specific behaviors.
Dachshunds tend to calm down when they reach their second year of age if they are adequately trained and socialized from puppyhood. Their hunter genetics make Dachshunds prone to aggression and anxiety if they are not given enough stimulation and exercise. Bad behavior is usually the result of poor training or treatment by their owners.
If your Dachshund is larger than life and running you ragged, don’t feel alone. They can be a handful, and their genetics are partly to blame.
However, you have a say in whether your Dachshund will be a terror or a pleasure. If you wonder why your Dachshund is so hyperactive and how to calm them down, please keep reading.
Why Are Dachshunds So Hyper?
Your Dachshund was bred to be a working hound and hunt down aggressive badgers down into their lairs. Like all working dogs, particularly those bred to hunt and kill prey, your Dachshund may suffer from an excess of exuberant energy.
Your Dachshund’s lively and curious temperament is both endearing and aggravating in equal measures, it seems when often you can’t keep up with their manic drive.
Your Dachshund was genetically ‘engineered’ to spend a good part of its life on the job, scenting and tracking quarries in high energy bursts.
Just because your Doxie is living in an apartment does not mean that the urge to be active and hunting has diminished. Their frustrated drives may even lead to excessive aggression or their characteristic barking displays.
The joy of and honor of owning these unique creatures also often means that your sausage-shaped companions may run circles around you in the energy department. However, take heart because there are ways to rid your pet of their native urges and ensure peace in your home.
Dachshunds and Aggression
Dachshunds have the dubious distinction of having one of the highest percentage rates of aggression towards humans (shared with Chihuahuas and Jack Russells). They also exhibit a high percentage rate for dog and dog and dog to human aggression (both owner and strangers.)
Dachshunds don’t just exhibit aggression but also seem to display a disproportionate idea of their size and strength and may fearlessly challenge dogs sizably larger than themselves.
Once Dachshunds reach adulthood, they are incorrigibly challenging to retrain and exhibit another breed-specific tendency of single-mindedness and stubbornness when it comes to training.
Because Dachshunds are a small breed, owners often overlook the potential hazards of their beloved pet’s aggression, of which larger dog owners are more aware. This naturally courageous and independent breed needs to be socialized early and trained from a puppy early away from aggressive tendencies.
This breed-specific tendency is not set in stone; however, there are specific measures that Dachshund owners can take to lessen these negative traits, which I will discuss later.
What Can I Do About My Aggressive Dachshund? Five Possible Solutions
There is a distinction between aggressive behavior and true dog on dog aggression, the firstly being anxiety-based and the latter caused by a significant trauma in your Dachshunds life. Trauma induced aggression is particularly challenging to curtail and often requires the intercession of a qualified dog behaviorist.
Early socialization is critical in keeping your Dachshund from aggressive behaviors, and neutering also helps this breed tendency. There are other ways you may target aggressive patterns in your Doxie.
1. Make Sure Your Dachshund Gets Exercise
Dachshunds are hunting dogs by nature and generally act against confinement as it is contrary to their natures. Allowing your Dachshund free roam in the city is not a viable option, so the only real solution is plenty of exercises, preferably twice a day.
Smelling the smells and getting outdoors gives plenty of stimulation for your active Dachshund and, if possible, supervised off-leash exercise in a protected area. These exercise times can be supplemented by stimulating play and games to keep your Dachshund’s busy little minds from boredom, which is the cause behind many psychological issues in canines.
2. Positive Reinforcement
As a generally obstinate breed, Dachshunds don’t respond well to punishment and negative reinforcement. As loving and closely bonded companions, they love nothing more than to please their owners and respond well to praise.
Instead of rebuking bad behaviors, reward your Dachshund with their favorite things, be it treats or play or a good belly rub when they are well behaved and don’t respond to triggers to bad behavior.
Early socialization is key to a well-adjusted dachshund, and introducing new people and dogs regularly when they are young gets them used to relate to unfamiliar presences.
It is also preferable to spay or neuter your Dachshund, as sterilization has been proven to reduce the canine species’ aggression.
4. Set Firm But Fair Boundaries
It is hard not to spoil your Dachshund because they are so adorable, and they know just how to manipulate their human pack members to get their way. If you are firm and patient in teaching your Dachshund their expected behaviors, your Doxie will be less prone to anti-social actions.
Studies have shown that 40% of dog aggression is due to their owners not ensuring their dogs’ obedience through consistent training and reinforcement. We have a responsibility towards our pets to ensure that they are adequately trained and understand bad behavior from good.
5. The Last Resort – Medical Help
If you have an older Dachshund who is resistant to all other avenues of training and increased exercise does not help, you may try the medical route. Studies have shown that Clomipramine (an antidepressant) paired with behavioral modification may be a solution to reduced pacing, whining, and barking issues.
Fluoxetine, coupled with behavior modification, has been proven successful for separation anxiety in many case studies and is an option for owners who have exhausted every other avenue.
It must be said that medication should only be a last resort, and medicating a dog without trying to work through the causes and potential uses can be seen as a form of animal abuse. If you are reluctant to medicate your dog, you may try Anxiety wraps or dog appeasing pheromones DAPs for your Dachshund’s anxiety in a home environment.
Why Is My Dachshund So Anxious?
Genetics plays a role in anxiety, and there were interesting findings in a scientific study that measured five types of anxiety when faced with stressful scenarios for Dachshunds. These stresses involved:
- Meeting new people
- Meeting unfamiliar dogs
- Sensitivity to touch
- Loud noises.
They found that breed size has a significant influence on anxiety levels of the various dog breeds, and small breeds that display significantly higher anxiety levels were:
- Miniature Dachshund
- Toy poodle.
Anxiety and fear give rise to more pathological behaviors such as flight avoidance, aggression, and separation anxiety, particularly in small breed dogs such as the Dachshund.
More fearful dogs tend to develop noise sensitivity, and noise-sensitive dogs are typically more aggressive towards unfamiliar animals and humans, so they do intertwine.
A lack of stimulation has been definitively linked to increased anxiety, and the incidence of separation anxiety commonly found in dachshunds can make separation anxiety worse. The potential destructive behavior and the corresponding action of a dog that suffers separation anxiety can ultimately affect the human and dog bond over time.
Will My Dachshund Calm Down When They Are Older?
Your Dachshund will never display the indolent and laid-back nature of a Bulldog, but owners of younger Dachshunds can set their minds at ease.
The manic energy of your Dachshund should begin to taper off somewhere after their second year. This settling down will be most evident with socialized dogs, consistently trained, and with firm boundaries set earlier in life.
The highly individual and charismatic nature of your Dachshund is the reason why so many owners never chose another dog breed.
The intelligence and the depth of a Dachshund’s bond are hard to rival in other breeds. With your magical, infuriating Dachshund, you must accept their genetic makeup and guide them with a patient and firm hand.
Much of the breed tendencies can be channeled or lessened by responsible owners through training, exercise, and positive reinforcement. Early socialization is vital to ensure your Dachshund’s even temperament.
Don’t be afraid to show your little terrorist that you are the boss in a non-aggressive yet unequivocal way, or you might end up being ruled by your strong-willed companion.