Welcome to the world of dachshunds! This is a breed that will love you, challenge you, make you laugh, and make you cry. They are clever, comical, and tenacious. If you ever wanted a challenge that came dressed in a dog suit, this is probably it.
Puppies don't come pre-programmed to develop into model canine citizens. This book is therefore designed to help you understand the dachshund as a breed. It gives you the tools you will need to select, care for, and raise a terrific puppy or to adopt a rescued adult dog.
As you may already know, today's dachshund is the result of centuries of breeding for a formidable hunter (or huntress) with the courage to hunt den-dwelling animals, particularly the badger. Today's dachshund still possesses many of her ancestors' qualities, which can make for interesting situations in a family pet. For example, you may find that a dachshund is more likely to chase after rabbits, foxes, and other wild creatures than other breeds of dogs. You may also discover that the dachshund has “selective” hearing while in hot pursuit of a creature. The dachshund may also be more likely to dig immense holes in your yard in search of underground creatures and to bark at nearly anything that moves.
Of course, true dachsie lovers find most of the dachshund's strong hunting instincts endearing. Many more are learning the sheer fun of channeling these instincts into activities where a dachshund can earn titles, such as field trials, hunting, and Earthdog tests.
Dachshunds are actually one of the most versatile breeds, as far as performance events are concerned. This breed can participate not only in hunting-based activities but also in agility, obedience, conformation, flyball, or tracking. You name it, the dachshund can probably do it — and do it well!
Training the dachshund does require patience, a lot of back-bending, and a positive, upbeat attitude. This is not a breed that responds well to harsh treatment. For that reason, this book goes into detail on how to train your dachshund using the principles of operant conditioning — in a positive, reward-based manner.
Another critical point to keep in mind is that in order to find a healthy, well-tempered, sound puppy or dog, you must be prepared for a hard search. It cannot be emphasized enough that an impulse decision to buy a puppy from a breeder whom you don't know — and who doesn't know much about dachshunds — can be disastrous. A poorly bred dachshund is susceptible to a myriad of hereditary diseases, many of which are chronic and/or fatal. Additionally, getting the “right” temperament is key in owning a great dog; unfortunately the poorly bred dachsie is often seriously lacking in this quality. So do your homework. Find a great breeder who has tested his breeding stock for hereditary diseases and whose dogs have not only wonderful temperaments but also the conformation qualities that make for a sound, healthy dachshund.
Even a puppy with all the necessary components for a great canine companion (health, temperament, soundness) will only reach its full potential if you invest time and effort into building a strong bond and healthy relationship. Dachshunds must be socialized with people of all sizes, ages, and races, often a lifelong endeavor. Additionally, the dachshund requires an owner who is willing to include the dog in his or her everyday life activities — the dachshund doesn't accept being left out of anything — and someone who can gently but firmly establish a leadership role with the dog. As a wannabe “ruler,” the dachshund responds best to an owner who is also a good parent.
Are dachshunds great dogs? Yes! Are they fun, lively, and liable to keep you on your toes? Absolutely! Is this the breed for you? Very possibly. Just remember as you weigh the pros and cons of the breed that the dachshund does not believe it is a small or compact dog. This is truly a breed with moxie! If you choose to own a dachshund, choose wisely. You will be rewarded with a lifetime of devotion and fun.