How to Leash Train a Dachshund Puppy

Medium
2-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

Dachshunds can be very independently minded dogs. While their unique spirit gives them a lot of character and can provide hours of entertainment, it can also make them resistant if you do not approach training with the right approach. It's important that you are working with your dog, not against him, which can trigger a stubborn streak. Pulling against your young Dachshund can create a tug of war, and a spirited young Dachshund can become confused or fight pressure he does not understand or is naturally inclined to resist. 

Because your Dachshund is small, especially as a puppy, it may be tempting to just pick him up and carry him where you want to go. In an emergency situation this may be acceptable, but ultimately having your Dachshund puppy well leash trained will be invaluable. Your Dachshund needs exercise as he grows and learning to walk comfortably on a leash without pulling, which can damage his neck or spine, will be important. Because Dachshunds have long, low to the ground bodies they can be particularly susceptible to back and spine injuries.  A dog that walks comfortably on a leash without pulling or resisting is less likely to cause or aggravate such injuries.

Defining Tasks

If possible, it is best to start training your Dachshund puppy to walk on a leash as young as possible, usually at about 8 weeks of age. Older dogs can be taught good leash manners too, but breaking established bad habits can be a challenge with a stubborn Dachshund. Practice redirecting your Dachshund puppy to get him to walk with you and avoid constantly pulling him to correct his attempts to go his own way, which can result in frustrating tug of wars, and a battle of wills. Instead, use positive reinforcement like treats or play to convince your Dachshund puppy that following you and staying with you is his best option. Your goal is to teach your dog not to pull on the leash by walking too far in front of you, lunging off to the side, or lagging behind you either.  Remember on long walks, that your short legged canine companion may get tired, so keep walks an appropriate length or be prepared to carry a tired puppy when absolutely necessary.

Getting Started

Have an appropriately fitting collar or harness on your Dachshund puppy and the right length leash. Avoid flexi leashes during training as they do not provide firm boundaries. Have treats and a toy available to reinforce appropriate leash walking behaviors.  Have patience and be ready to use some creativity to get your Dachshund puppy’s attention and avoid a pulling contest that can cause undue pressure on your dog's neck, resulting in injury. Distracting your Dachshund with a toy or getting him to chase you, or making a loud noise to get his attention may be more effective than constant tension from pulling to achieve correct leash behavior.

The Extinguish Tension Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Coax forward
Put your Dachshund puppy on a leash and start walking forward. Call and encourage your dog forward, but do no pull. If he resists, put a treat in front of him and call him or hold a toy out in front.
Step
2
Change direction
When your Dachshund pulls off course, stop, let out slack on the leash, and turn around and run in the opposite direction.
Step
3
Call your puppy
Call your puppy as you run. Provide a toy to play with when he follows you.
Step
4
Stop for tension
Continue on. When your puppy pulls on his leash or walks too far in front, stop and wait. When he releases tension on the leash, proceed.
Step
5
Encourage to stay with you
Practice walking with your Dachshund puppy next to you. If he resists, encourage forward, play games by running or tossing toys, stop when he pulls, and do not proceed until tension is released.
Recommend training method?

The Verbal Commands Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Reinforce 'follow me'
Prior to introducing the leash, teach some off-leash verbal commands. Start with 'follow me' to get your Dachshund to come to you. Say "follow me" and run away from your puppy, when your puppy runs after you give him a treat and praise. Repeat.
Step
2
Reinforce 'look at me'
Teach your puppy to 'look at me'. Provide the command and when your puppy stops and looks at you, capture the moment with a treat. A clicker can also be employed to capture and add another recognizable signal to the desired behavior.
Step
3
Use 'follow me' with leash
Put your Dachshund puppy on a leash and say “follow me”. Your puppy should follow along with you and not resist or drag behind. You can praise and periodically reward your puppy.
Step
4
Redirect with 'look at me'
When your puppy starts to pull in front or of to the side say “look at me” your puppy should stop and look at you. Give him a treat and then proceed. Do not let your puppy pull, but correct him by directing him to look at you. You can also provide praise or a toy or play instead of a treat.
Step
5
Add 'heel' command
Practice walking with your Dachshund puppy beside you. Add the command for 'heel' to associate walking next to your left leg and not moving out in front of you or dragging behind you. Praise and encourage your puppy as you go.
Recommend training method?

The Lure to Position Method

Least Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Have treats at side
Have a pouch full of yummy treats at your side.
Step
2
Hold treat at side
Put your Dachshund puppy on a leash and hold a treat in your closed hand at your side so your dog can smell the treat.
Step
3
Encourage to walk at side
Proceed to walk, calling your Dachshund puppy and directing him to walk beside you.
Step
4
Provide treat
Provide a treat from your hand periodically, encouraging your puppy to keep his nose by your hand. Never provide a treat if your Dachshund puppy is lagging behind, or pulling out in front or to the side.
Step
5
Continue to provide treats
Put another treat in your hand from your treat pouch, and continue walking with the treat in your hand to lure your puppy into appropriate position. Provide treats every few steps, gradually increase the distance your Dachshund has to walk before getting rewarded.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Laurie Haggart

Published: 01/25/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Holly
miniature dachshund
8 Months
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Question
0 found helpful
Holly
miniature dachshund
8 Months

My 8 month old mini dachshund puppy is very active. We have tried the crate route which she hates and barks for hours, then we went to the pen in the house, which gives her a good amount of room to walk but when she gets out onto our floor area and gives herself full reign, it is extremely difficult to catch her. She thinks you are playing and corners you, runs around like crazy, hides under the chair, no matter what will not come to us, unless you are lucky enough to catch her on your own when she runs by crazy toys in mouth. She is about 75% house trained and that is why we keep her confined, because when she does get out, she will go if she has to. Other times she will give you the signal by barking or wining, does the same at night. We don't know what to do.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Very sweet pup! If Holly is spending a lot of time in the pen, it is not surprising that she runs when she gets out of the space. How about working on the potty training and taking her out often as a method? Take her out every hour and verbalize "go potty" when you are out there to cement the idea in her head. She is smart and will catch on! This may satisfy both needs. https://wagwalking.com/training/go-to-the-bathroom-outside. Dachshunds (as you know) are very energetic dogs and Holly will need lots of exercise to be content and happy. Lots of walks, games of fetch, trips to the park are needed. When inside, provide her with interactive toys and feeders (you can even feed one of her meals from the feeder to keep her mentally stimulated). It's a big need with this type of pup! Good luck!

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Question
bella
mini dachound
8 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
bella
mini dachound
8 Weeks

bella is finding it hard to sleep in her crate on her own so for the past two nights we have slept next to her, she crys about 4-6 times in the night and i take her out and she goes to hte toilet everytime. but from aobut 2 am onwards she finds it hard to settle down when i put her back in the crate, what would you advice. shes also not to keen on eating her food is this normal?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
842 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ruby, For the food, I would check with your vet. Pup may be stressed due to the adjustment and that temporarily effecting her eating, but puppies are also very vulnerable to diseases like parvo, parasites, changes in the type of food being fed, and they need several rounds of worming - so pup may need another one. I am not a vet, so I would have pup evaluated to make sure the lack of appetite isn't a symptom of an issue that needs to be addressed right now. Because puppies are vulnerable I wouldn't wait too long just to be safe. For the crying, once you are confident pup is in good health, at 8 weeks of age, know that what you are experiencing is completely normal. Pup is getting used to sleeping alone and that's an adjustment. Usually the first five days are the worst. It typically takes about two weeks for most pups to adjust completely; however, you can help that adjustment be as smooth as possible by doing the following. 1. When pup cries but doesn't have to go potty (like after you return them to the crate when they just went potty outside) be consistent about ignoring the crying until they go back to sleep. The more consistent you are the quicker the overall process tends to take even if it's hard to do for the first couple weeks. 2. When pup does truly need to go potty (when it's been at least 2 hours since pup last peed), take pup to go potty outside on a leash to keep pup focused and things calmer. Don't give treats, food, play, or much attention during these trips - boring and sleepy is the goal, then right back to bed after. This helps pup learn to only wake when they truly need to go potty and be able to put themselves back to sleep - helping them start sleeping longer stretches sooner and not ask to go out unless they actually need to potty. Pup will generally need 1-2 potty trips at night even after trained for a couple months though due to a small bladder. 3. Wait until pup asks to go potty by crying in the crate at night before you take them - opposed to setting an alarm clock, unless pup is having accidents in the crate and not asking to go out. This gives pup the chance to learn to start falling back to sleep when they wake in light sleep if they don't really need to go potty, instead of being woken up all the way when they could have held it a bit longer. 4. Practice the Surprise method from the article I have linked below to help pup get used to crate time during the day too - so that there is less crying at night due to pup adjusting to being alone. Surprise method - only give treats during daytime practice, not at night though: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ducky
Dachshund
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ducky
Dachshund
7 Months

My dog is a strong leash puller. He doesn't resist the leash, but often lunges forward and pulls to run. I have tried the stop/start method many times but he just gets frustrated and bites the leash. He seems to be set in his ways and he does not listen well, as he has quite a strong mentality.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
842 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kat, I recommend using the Turns method I have linked below. The Turns method tends to be more effective for determined pup's who need help learning to focus on you better. Be sure to change directions and speed often, start in an open calm area, and gradually work up to straight sections in your neighborhood or streets. At first, it can seem a bit hectic. The key is to turn in front of pup as soon as you see their nose start to move past your leg. As pup starts to get the hang of it, it should feel less chaotic. It will be a bit of a dance at first until pup slows down a bit as they learn to expect your changes. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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