Personality Traits of Dachshunds

Dachshunds have four basic personality characteristics. Knowing them and taking advantage of the personality traits of Dachshunds will help you take and maintain control. You're the top dog in your dog's pack (or at least you should be), so you need to know how your dog thinks.

The hunter/tracker

Dachshunds were bred to hunt, to track scents, and to follow their quarry — with unwavering persistence and courage beyond their size — until the prize is won. What does this mean for your training?

  • Training challenge: If your Dachshund detects a scent while you're working, training, playing, or walking together, his every instinct will tell him to run after it. Be prepared. Keep him on his leash in an open area.

  • Great games: Dachshunds almost always enjoy games that mimic a hunting or tracking situation. Show your Dachsie a small ball, let him sniff it, and then throw it as far as you can (in a safe area). Watch him do his stuff.

  • An edge on the competition: You can use your Dachshund's tracking ability for advanced training in field trials, earth dog events, or den trials — all of which take advantage of the Dachshund's natural abilities.

The digger

Some Dachshunds love to dig more than others, but in general, they all love it — after they discover how fun it is. What does this mean for your training?

  • Training challenge: Be prepared. A digging Dachshund can dig under fences, dig up your flower beds, and even try to dig through your carpeting. Realize that this is a reality and take action. Bury the fence at least a foot deep and use raised flower beds. Sounds like a lot of work, but its all part of life with a Dachshund.

    Don't get mad if your Dachshund digs. You can't argue with instinct, but you can try to teach him what he can dig in and what he can't. It is important to give his digging an outlet. Try giving him a sandbox as your Dachsie's very own digging playground. If you seem him digging some place he shouldn't, pick him up and put him in the sandbox.

  • Great games: If you get a sandbox, you can play a digging game. Show your Dachshund a toy, and let him sniff it. Then go bury the toy in the sandbox, and cover it up. Until he gets the idea, let him watch you bury it.

  • An edge on the competition: Dachshunds are born for den and earth dog trials. They're events that utilize a dog's natural instinct and aren't for exhibiting special skills developed by training.

The athlete

Dachshunds may have delicate backs, but many are superior athletes. Dachshunds are built to work, not to sit around looking pretty. What does the Dachshund's natural athletic ability mean to your training?

  • Training challenge: Dachshunds like to move, exercise, and use their natural athletic ability, so if you're a sedentary person, you'll have to work to make sure that your Dachshund gets enough exercise to use up all that excess energy. A bored Dachshund is a mischievous Dachshund.

    Athletic as they are, Dachshunds probably shouldn't engage in certain activities too often. This would include any activity that involves running around sharp corners, jumping or shaking the neck (like in a boisterous game of tug of war).

  • Great games: Dachshunds love to play. There are a number of games he'll love. Chasing a Frisbee, running an obstacle course, and don't forget the all-important walk.

  • An edge on the competition: Dachshunds have achieved the highest obedience titles, which takes tremendous athletic ability. They can and do participate in agility competition as well — if jumps are adjusted for height.

The actor within

Your Dachsie is a real clown and is happiest when all eyes are on him. He considers himself to be the star of the household, and he likes it that way. What does this mean for your training?

  • Training challenge: If you don't make training sessions fun for him, forget it. Take advantage of your Dachshund's showy side and make a big deal out of good behavior.

  • Your performer wants to be center stage and hates being ignored even more than being yelled at, so take advantage of this trait. React to bad behavior by ignoring it and he will quickly stop.

  • Great games: Teach him some really flashy tricks that are sure to elicit oohs, aahs, giggles, and applause from spectators. Tricks are sure to become a favorite part of your scene-stealing Dachsie's repertoire.

  • An edge on the competition: This type of Dachshund loves canine freestyle. This competition involves a choreographed routine that includes both you and your Dachshund. Because Dachshunds love to show off, freestyle may be right up his alley.

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