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Anyone who has ever owned a Dachshund will appreciate the breed's unique blend of intelligence, character, and stubbornness. However, it should never be forgotten that the Dachshund breed started out as a working dog with the strength of character to pursue badgers down into their dens. So although your sausage dog is a cutie, he also has the beating heart of a lion.
For a truly adorable pet, it's crucial not to overlook basic training so that the Dachshund learns to listen to you and doesn't do his own thing. A badly trained Dachshund is apt to take things into his own paws, which can lead to snappiness if he encounters something he doesn't like. The simple way to avoid this is to use reward-based methods and teach him to listen to you for guidance and know that you (not he) is in charge.
Teaching 'sit' is a basic command for any dog. It is a means to keep your dog under control and out of trouble when the occasion arises. When a dog learns a rock solid 'sit', you can stop him bolting out of the front door onto the road or stop him running towards a dog that means him harm.
With a Dachshund being to low to the ground, it's not always easy to tell when he is sitting or standing. Therefore, it's a good idea to start teaching him to sit by going down to his level and sitting beside him on the floor.
Keep training sessions short so that you don't overtax his powers of concentration, and above all makes the sessions fun. The methods described below use reward-based training techniques. These techniques reward the dog when he does as commanded, which in turn starts him thinking about what he did that earned the treat. This is great because not only do you end up with an obedient dog but he starts to anticipate what you want him to do, which means he's working out for himself how best to behave.
Training a Dachshund to sit is about time, patience, and consistency rather than needing special equipment.
To get going you need the basics of:
- A distraction-free space in which to start training
- Small treats: Bite-sized is plenty big enough as you don't want the dog to spend more time eating that acting
- A bag or pouch in which to keep the treats handy
- A clicker
- A soft mat: Some dogs will be reluctant to sit on a cold or uncomfortable floor. Providing a soft surface for the dog to sit on can help training to progress without resistance from the dog.
The Lure Method
Understand the idea
Dogs learn best when they are motivated to obey. The simple act of using a treat and having the Doxie follow it with his nose will cause him to sit. You can then praise and reward him. As he starts thinking ahead and offering a 'sit' (in order to earn that tasty tidbit) then you can add a label or "cue" to the behavior and put it on command.
Work on the Doxie's level
When teaching a command for the first time, it's necessary to get down on the dog's level. If you stand full height, you will tower above the dog and intimidate him. Alternatively, you'll end up stooping and hurting your back. Make things easy on both of you and either sit on the floor with the dog or place the dog on a table covered with a non-slip towel.
Get the dog's attention
Use a small tasty treat and hold it in front of the dog's nose, but don't allow him to get it. Once you have the dog's attention and he's attempting to sniff or eat it, you can start moving the treat.
An imaginary arc
Draw an imaginary arc that goes from the dog's nose above his head and down toward his back. Slowly move the treat along this path, watching carefully for when the dog's bottom sinks to the ground. If you describe the arc correctly the dog with naturally sink to the floor. If he squirms around and avoids sitting, then try again by with a slightly different path.
Praise the 'sit'
As soon as the dog's bottom is on the ground, say "Yes" in a happy, excited voice to let him know he did good. Then let him have the treat. Keep repeating this. The dog will quickly predict what's going to happen and offer a 'sit' in anticipation.
Add the cue word
Once the dog is anticipating what comes next and offers you a 'sit', add the cue word. Say "Sit" as you hold the treat in front of his nose, start moving the treat if you need to. As soon as the bottom hits the ground, praise him and give a reward.
The Clicker Train Method
Understand the idea
Using a clicker is a neat way of marking a desired action (such as 'sit') as worthy of a reward. When the dog realizes he gets a treat when the clicker sounds, he'll start thinking about what he can do to make you press that magical clicker. In this case, you ask him to offer a "Sit", then click and reward when he does just that.
Teach him the link
First, teach the dog that a click means a treat. This is super simple to do. Throw a small treat on the floor. When the Dachshund gobbles it down, click him. Repeat this lots of times. Now, try clicking and watch the dog. If his nose shoots to the ground to sniff out the treat he expects to find there, you know he's made the connection.
Reward casual 'sits'
Sitting is a natural behavior, so watch your dog and be vigilant for when he happens to sit down of his own accord. Click the 'sit' and give him a reward. Repeat this as often as you see him sit; click, say "Sit" and reward.
Label with a cue word
Your dog start sitting and then looking at you expectantly to see if you're going to reward him. He's made a connection between the action (sitting) and getting a reward, so it's time to start giving the command ahead of the 'sit'.
Use the cue word
With the dog in a quiet, distraction-free room, say "Sit" in a clear, firm voice. When he offers the 'sit', click and reward him.
When he's reliably offering you a sit on command in a quiet place, start to broaden things out by training in different places so that he learns to obey regardless of where you are.
The Do's and Don'ts Method
Don't: Use old-fashioned training methods
Older training methods rely on dominating the dog and making him obey out of fear. While this outwardly makes for a very obedient dog, he's doing so for fear of punishment, which is a not a desirable thing for either dog or loving owner. With this in mind choke chains, prong collars, and shock collars have no place in training a Dachshund.
Don't: Press on the Dachshund's back
That long sausage-dog back is especially vulnerable to slip discs and back pain. Never haul up on the dog's collar and push down on his spine in order to elicit a 'sit' position. To do so risks physical harm. Instead, lure him into position with a treat.
Do: Make training fun
Make training into a game by reacting enthusiastically and telling the dog how clever he is. When he enjoys the training, he will be eager for the next session, he'll learn more quickly, and it's an excellent way of spending good quality one-to-one time together.
Do: Train regularly
Several short training sessions a day are desirable. This prevents the dachshund becoming overtaxed mentally and getting confused. Try training when the ad breaks come on the TV or before he is fed.
Do: End on a high
End each training session on a positive note with a command the dog is able to do. Then praise, fuss, and reward him. This helps build his self-confidence and will keep him keen for the next session.
By Pippa Elliott
Published: 03/20/2018, edited: 01/08/2021