The humble Dachshund. The sausage dog. A nugget of joy as playful as they are affectionate.
And yet, they are biters.
As much as these adorable hounds make great pets, they do have a tendency to chase small critters, get aggressive in the face of new dogs and humans, and (in the event they develop separation anxiety) chew up your home.
If a larger dog had this disposition they would be regularly reported and rank among the likes of Pitbulls and Rottweilers as hounds with a bad rep.
But Dachshunds are small. Their bites don’t tend to cause serious injuries.
All that being said, a dog with a tendency to bite is not a good thing, even if they are small enough to fit in an undersized handbag. But how hard can a Dachsund bite?
Well, harder than you think. The name Dachshund literally means ‘badger hound’. They were bred in Germany around 300 years ago to hunt badgers. So, they can bite hard enough to take out a fifteen-pound mammal built like a concrete bunker.
Consider that in a collision between a car and a badger, the car usually suffers considerable damage, and you begin to understand where the aggressive streak in these little pooches comes from.
While it’s a privilege to own a Dachshund, like any pet it comes with responsibilities and requires work to ensure your pup is safe, both in itself and for others to be around.
So how do we deal with a biting Dachshund?
Why Do Dachshunds Bite?
As hunting dogs, the Dachshund’s role was to alert its owners to the presence of prey. So while they’re small, they’re also driven by those working behaviors and instincts.
Doxies are notorious for being barkers and biters without the proper training. The barks are to alert you to the presence of an intruder or scare that intruder off. The bites are usually in response to powerful emotions.
Once you understand what causes your Dachshund to bite, you can effectively prevent this negative behavior. There are several main factors that lead to biting:
Fear is a very understandable cause of biting. Something spooks your pooch, and they’re naturally going to respond with a bite to keep it from scaring them further, or hurting them.
Try to remember how small your pup is compared to other hounds and their humans – the world must seem very big and frightening from their perspective.
It’s important to teach your Dachshund that other people and dogs don’t need to be a cause for alarm. From a young age, get them used to behaving appropriately. Give them plenty of reassurance so they don’t develop feelings of fear and inadequacy.
Dachshunds are pack hounds, which means anxiety is a common issue for them if they’re separated from their humans and/or other dogs.
If you’re leaving your beloved pooch alone for long periods it can cause separation anxiety. This will manifest a fear of you leaving, which will cause them to bite when you try.
Their badger hunting roots lend Dachshunds a certain level of natural aggression, which can be shown towards strangers, but also people they know and love. It’s behavior they can display at any age, and an aggressive Dachshund is likely to become a frequent biter.
Don’t let that small stature fool you. Top of most Dachshunds’ minds at any given time is being in charge.
They’re a breed who love to be boss and will frequently want to show that dominance. This can easily lead to nips and bites to keep you and everyone else in check. It’s kind of adorable when they’re puppies, but if you let them rule the roost from a young age, it’s a lot harder to discourage the same behavior when their adult teeth come in!
Another tendency that runs strong in the Dachshund breed is possessiveness. They’re prone to seeing food, objects, and even humans as theirs. Warning people away from anything they ‘own’ with growls, nips, and bites is very common.
Just as they’re possessive about stuff, they’ve quite territorial hounds. Home is definitely where the heart is with these guys. They may not look like the typical guard dog but they will prove very protective of their space.
That frequently leads to unwelcome behavior whenever someone new enters their territory, including barking and biting.
How Do I Stop My Dachshund Biting?
If all this talk of biting and aggression has you stressed, don’t worry. Dachshunds can be taught how to manage their desire to bite, once you understand why they feel the need.
Just like humans, they can learn better ways of handling their emotions!
As a Dachshund owner, it’s on you to ensure your pooch has the best possible upbringing and learns to become a trustworthy and well-balanced hound. Here are a few tips to help you do that…
Start Training Early…
Training is essential for any dog from the earliest possible age. With Dachshunds, you have an advantage, as they’re a bright breed. From a young age, they’re easily capable of picking up new commands.
Puppy training classes are the best method of training your hound, teaching them a range of strategies to help you (and them) manage poor behaviors.
Regular attendance and ensuring YOU use the skills learned there, as well as your pup will help them to understand what is expected of them in everyday situations, not just in classes.
Treat Them Like A Dog, Not A Baby…
When you have a fluff baby who is the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen in your life, it’s tempting to spoil them. While there’s nothing wrong with lavishing love and affection on your dog, it’s important to treat them like a dog, and not a human baby.
They need to understand their place within the family, what is appropriate behavior when interacting with other humans, and how to behave as they grow.
Use Positive Reinforcement To Discourage Biting…
Positive reinforcement is a great way to retrain a Dachshund with a tendency to bite. The concept s extremely simple: praise their good behavior, and ignore them when they misbehave.
It’s quite common for humans to respond to aggression from a dog with aggression of their own. Sadly, all this does is reinforce the dog’s aggressive behavior by showing them it is a normal way of expressing their emotions.
All dogs want their owners to love and praise them. It’s far easier to convince them to stop poor behavior by demonstrating that love and praise will be withheld when they behave badly.
For example, if you’re holding your hound and she bites, immediately put her down, make a loud noise of disapproval – but not anger or aggression – and then simply ignore her.
They will soon come to associate biting with an end to the affection and attention they crave and stop doing it in order to maximize cuddles!
When they begin to respond to your training, give them extra fuss and affection as a reward, so they understand that good behavior gets them what they want.
Redirect Their Anxiety…
Redirecting your own behavior when you notice your Dachshund becoming anxious or beginning to bite is another effective way of managing their behavior.
By instantly adapting what you are doing to reduce their anxiety, you can give your pooch time to calm down before attempting the activity again.
Keep a close eye on your pup and monitor their behavior carefully so you can pick up on any changes.
When they start to show signs of biting, redirect their attention to something else. Give them chance to calm down, then continue with the original activity, but monitor them. If they become agitated again, repeat the redirection.
Keep doing this until they’re able to complete the activity without becoming anxious and biting.
Don’t forget to give them attention and treats each time you’re able to redirect them away from biting. They will very quickly learn to trust you’re helping them with their anxiety.
Remember, Consistency Is Key…
Dachshunds have a surprisingly strong bite. While it is most often not the cause of serious injury, it is behavior that should be discouraged as early on as possible. Through effective training and behavior modification, you can gently discourage biting and other aggressive behavior and ensure your pooch is healthy, happy, and saving their teeth for their treats!