How to Teach a Dachshund to Walk on a Leash

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You dachshund comes from a long line of German hunting dogs and his instinct to chase anything that moves is a challenge you must deal with. While this breed is incredibly bright, your dachshund's hunting instinct may cause him to dart back and forth on his leash, barking at cats and dogs as if he were ready to chase them down. This can cause problems for both you and your dachshund, especially since dachshunds are prone to back injuries and any pressure on his spine can cause damage. Train your dachshund so you can both enjoy your walks.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog harness
  • 6-foot leash
  • Fit your dachshund with a leash attached to a harness, not a collar. Your dachshund's long spine is vulnerable to pressure and stress, and can easily be damaged. Your dachshund may wear a collar, but his leash must be attached to a harness to avoid spinal injuries.

  • Place your dog on the ground on your left side and hold the leash in your left hand with the excess in your right hand. After your dog becomes familiar with the leash, you may give it a little slack and hold the leash in only your left hand.

  • Allow your dachshund to familiarize herself with the ground by sniffing or walking around. Stand still until she sits down. This is a rule you must always follow. Do not let your dog pull you into walking. The walk does not start until your dog is sitting obediently.

  • Use a command such as "heel" or "let's go" to start the walk and begin walking. Do not drag your dog. Exerting pressure on your dachshund's spine can cause slipped vertebral discs, which are extremely painful for your dog and require veterinary treatment. Look straight ahead and keep slight tension on the leash. When you dog moves in the same direction, praise her and continue to walk.

  • Stop immediately if your dachshund pulls on the leash. To avoid injury to your dog, do not allow her to pull on the leash with excessive force. Just stop and look straight ahead. After a while, your dog will wonder why you are not walking and she will sit down or come back to you. When she does, praise her and begin walking again using the "heel" or "let's go" command.

  • Repeat the procedure every single time your dachshund darts in front of your or pulls on the leash. Your first walking sessions may be more "standing" sessions than walking, but eventually your pooch will get the idea.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep initial leash training sessions brief -- about 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Once your dachshund walks alongside you without pulling on the leash you can attempt longer walks.
  • If your dachshund is dragging his hind legs, refuses to stand or walk, barks at you when you touch him, refuses to lower his head to eat or drink, shivers or has hind legs that appear to be out of his control he may have a spinal injury. Take your dog to the vet immediately.
  • Because of their susceptibility to spinal injury, dachshunds should not go up and down stairs or jump. Install ramps on stairs or pick up your dog when you encounter stairs. Do not allow or encourage jumping.
  • Spinal injuries can lead to incontinence, nerve damage and paralysis. Make sure your dachshund is not overweight -- more weight equals more stress on her spine. Take your dachshund to the vet regularly to ensure her spine is in good shape, and remember that older dachshunds are more prone to spinal injuries and disorders.
  • Never exert pressure on your dachshund's neck or spine.
  • Never verbally or physically assault your dachshund.

References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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