Dachshunds are by nature an assertive breed. First bred in the 1600s to hunt vermin, they still retain their independent, “go get ‘em” attitude. That makes training a little more challenging in their case than with some other breeds. But, with patience and the right techniques, they can be shown that you are the alpha dog in the pack.
Since they love to play, take advantage of that and combine the two activities. Turn every session into a joint exercise in listening to commands and enjoying the rewards. Leash training serves as a good example.
Young dogs will naturally go wherever they want if unconstrained, Dachshunds even more so. But with a long leash you can keep them in check and still have room to exercise and play. Start with a short leash and then relax it as you throw a ball. Let the Doxie fetch, but slowly draw them in to return it. This allows them some fun but also teaches them what you want them to learn: obedience.
‘Heel’ is another common and important lesson. Start with the leash up short again and let the dog face outward at your side. In fact, insist on it. But when you tug on the collar and encourage them to stay at your side, be sure not to lift them up off the front legs. With most breeds that isn’t a problem. But Dachshunds are prone to spine problems and stress on the back should be avoided.
The leash will first seem to them like a restriction. Turn that around by allowing them to see that it represents a chance to explore and roam, which Dachshunds love. If you have an area of the yard or a field where digging is ok, let them get their natural impulse out there. But reinforce the idea that they are not allowed to dig in the rest of the yard or garden. They are natural vermin hunters and will quickly make a hole unless trained.
All dog training requires patience, but Dachshunds will stretch yours to the limit. They are clever and will take a leash between the teeth to avoid carrying out a command.
Put the leash on the ground and step on it with your foot, close to the dog’s head. Gradually move the other foot closer to the head, sliding it along the leash. Avoid stressing their necks, but this will encourage them to let go. Once they do, follow with lavish praise and maybe a small treat. Avoid handing out too many treats, though.
All training should start young, preferably right after housebreaking, which is itself a form of training. By ten weeks they are fully ready to begin simple ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and other common obedience actions, some even younger. Take care not to overdo the effort. Ten minutes at a time is plenty. Young dogs are like very young children and have limited attention spans. Stressing them only leads to willful disobedience and sometimes even aggression.