Dachshunds might appear needy because they are a social, independent, and intelligent breed. Selectively bred as badger hunters, they historically hunted in packs with a team of human handlers close by, dachshunds revel in both companionship and positive reinforcement.
Does your dachshund show a needy disposition? This is not uncommon, but know that there is plenty you can do to manage the behavior. Read on to learn more about your dachshund’s physical, emotional, and social needs to curb their clinginess.
Dachshunds and Anxiety
Incessant barking, destructive behavior, frantic chewing: do any of these sound familiar? These needy behaviors are common symptoms of underlying anxiety in your dachshund. Other symptoms may include:
- Panting and pacing
- Running away or cowering
- Escaping and running away
- Self-harm, including excessive licking or chewing
- Loss of appetite
- Indoor accidents
- Looking away and avoidance behavior
- Excessive chewing
- Self-harm (rare but serious)
If any of these symptoms are persistent enough to cause you concern, consult with your vet, as they may be a sign of something more serious.
Tame Needy Dachshund Behaviors by Curbing Anxiety
To get a handle on your dachshund’s anxiety, it’s important to reflect on what might be causing it. There are a number of factors that may play into your dachshund’s needy behavior.
Problem: Changes In Routine
Have you recently moved? Taken on a new schedule? Any changes in your life impact your dachshund as well, especially since your dachshund does not know why things are changing around them. These changes can heighten their anxiety and cause an uptick in needy behavior.
Solution: Familiarity Brings Comfort
You can bring reassurance to your dachshund and head off needy behavior by trying to keep as many things the same as you can. Sticking to a predictable feeding, walking, playing, and sleep schedule can go a long way towards easing your dachshund’s mind.
Familiar objects are can be comforting, too. Keep favorite toys, blankets, and other objects well-maintained and available so that your dachshund can use them to self-soothe as needed.
Problem: Separation Anxiety
As mentioned above, dachshunds are sociable pack animals that love attention. If you live alone and/or are your dog’s sole caregiver, this makes the time your spend apart even harder on your dachshund.
Solution: Ease the Separation
If you live with others, consider splitting up your dog’s caregiving with the rest of your household. This might include tasks like feeding, walking, and playing with your dachshund. By sharing these responsibilities, your dachshund will learn that they can rely on others for what they need, not just you. Having a “pack” will help lower their stress (and yours), and ease their possessive instincts.
If you live alone with your dachshund, don’t fret! Here are some ideas to curb your dachshund’s neediness and clinginess:
- Invest in doggie daycare
- Visit friends and family with your dachshund
- Take a trip to the dog park for canine social hour
- Practice spending time apart, and gradually increase the time
- Leave your dachshund something with your scent on it while you are gone
- Play it cool: don’t make a game or spectacle out of leaving and returning
Whether you and your dachshund live alone or with others, making sure your pet has everything they need before you leave will also help to manage their neediness. Make sure food and water dishes are filled and fresh, their sleeping place is clean, and that they have mentally stimulating activities to occupy them.
Problem: A Four-Legged Shadow
Does your dachshund follow you from room to room? Do they try to follow you to bed (and do you cave)? Sometimes clingy habits are set by a former owner, sometimes we enforce them ourselves. Either way, don’t get frustrated: it’s never too late to change bad habits.
Solution: Set and Create Boundaries
If your needy dachshund follows you everywhere, make sure you do not reinforce the behavior. Do not reward with treats and attention, or your dachshund will think this is what you want from them! Dachshunds are people pleasers and will never stop trying to make you happy.
At bedtime, maintain and reinforce a sleeping space for your dachshund that is separate from yours, but close enough from comfort. Try a cozy spot on the floor a few feet away from your bed, for example. Give small rewards every time your dachshund sleeps alone.
Does your dachshund seem battery-operated? Do they run around, and/or chew constantly? your dachshund may have pent-up energy, so it’s best to find a productive outlet for it.
Just as exercise reduces stress in humans, it can do the same for your dachshund. Dachshunds are an active breed. Exercise will keep their bodies strong and their minds relaxed, especially when you aren’t around. For best results try walking your dachshund just before leaving.
A Needy Dachshund: Other Factors
There are other factors that may trigger needy behavior in your dachshund. These include:
- Recent adoption
- Past Trauma
- Aging (particularly hearing/vision loss)
- Hormonal changes, including pregnancy
- A specific fear, such as storms or fireworks
Your dachshund’s neediness may have a short-term or long-term underlying cause. If you know or suspect that any of these factors are amping up your dachshund’s needy behavior, it’s best to talk over your concerns with your vet. Your vet can suggest community resources, products, or even medication to help your dachshund relax.
Problem: Your Dachshund Can Sense Your Anxiety
Be honest with yourself: Are you an anxious person? Are there significant stressors in your life right now? If the answer is yes, then chances are good that your perceptive four-legged friend has picked up on it. Dogs are naturally sympathetic creatures, and dachshunds are no exception.
Solution: Be Self-Reflective And Invest In You
If you and suffering from anxiety and stress, consider self-care strategies. By managing your stress level, you can reassure your dachshund that everything is all right and help them to better self-regulate.
If your dachshund is exhibiting needy behavior, the best thing you can do is to stay calm. Assess your dog’s daily life and make a plan. And when in doubt, ask your vet for help.