Your "Canine Fitness": Mental, Physical, and Financial
What are your expectations for your new dog? Do you understand the physical aspects of dog care? Are you financially prepared for life with a dachshund? These three questions are important because they include conditions of ownership that you may not have considered. If you can find potential trouble areas before you take on the commitment of a dachsie, you're better equipped to find creative solutions to these problems and prevent a lot of hardship and potential heartache.
Mental: What Are You Expecting?
Most people's ideas of how a dog should behave and how much work it is to get a dog to a well-mannered state are based on past experiences or what they've seen in the movies. As a result, many people's expectations for a new puppy or adopted adult are far too great, and the dachshund fails in their eyes because it acts like a dog!
Fond recollections of a childhood dog can distort the expectations of a future dachsie owner. Though you might remember all the good times you spent palling around with your old dog, you probably don't remember all the messes your mom or dad cleaned up while the puppy was growing up, the basic training that was involved, or how often the dog didn't behave the way your parents wanted. In your mind, Princess was pretty perfect, wasn't she?
Well, don't let these memories muddy your perception. That childhood dog may have been a terrific canine, but this time around you'll be the one who has to do all the work molding your dachsie into a wonderful pet. This involves effort and commitment.
If you have special needs or are physically disabled, you do not have to live without a dachshund! In fact, dachshunds are very often enlisted as service dogs for people with special needs, such as the hearing impaired. However, make sure you work with a very experienced breeder or dachshund rescue to find a dog who will bring you much joy, rather than additional consternation.
Then there are those delightful dachsie dog stars you see featured in children's movies or as “the greatest dog ever” on various television shows. You see a terrific, perfectly behaved, intelligent dog. What you don't see is the inordinate amount of time and training experience that professional trainers have invested in these wiener dogs to get them to look so well behaved on screen.
Movies and television shows aren't real life, so don't set your expectations for your new dachshund based on what you've seen on the screen. Instead, keep an open mind. Base your views of raising a dachshund on real facts and real dogs.
Canine Physical Fitness
Because the dachshund has an unusually long back and is prone to back injuries and disc disease, you must be able to limit its jumping up on furniture, running up and down stairs, and definitely not allow jumping in and out of the car. Though your dachsie will be more than happy to perform these physical activities, they are not good for him.
So, you must be able to make sure your dachshund is never put in physical jeopardy of injuring himself. This will involve your picking up your dachshund and carrying him when necessary. If you plan on owning a miniature dachshund, this isn't much weight to lift, and it probably isn't anything to be concerned about unless you are frail or suffer from a condition, such as arthritis, that makes such an effort painful. If you plan on owning a standard dachshund, you'll need to be prepared to pick up and safely hold a 16- to 30- pound animal. Can you do this? Or is it time to hit the gym?
In addition, you'll need to be able to briskly walk your dachshund at least twice a day for half an hour. If you're a leisurely walker (20 minutes per mile), this means three miles a day. If you haven't been exercising, this can be quite a jolt on the system.
Will my dachshund need disc surgery at some point during his life?
The odds of severe disc disease striking your dachsie could be as high as 25 percent. Treating disc disease can be very expensive. Surgery can cost upwards of $2,000. If your dachshund does need surgery, are you prepared to do what it takes to give him the quality of life he deserves?
On the other hand, if you haven't been exercising, perhaps the dachshund is just what you need! If, however, you suffer from a medical condition that limits your movement, you will need to consider other ways to provide your dachsie with the exercise he needs, which may mean hiring someone to walk him for you.
So, just how much is that dachshund going to cost you? A healthy, well-bred dachsie puppy from a reputable breeder may cost anywhere from $300 to $500, while the adoption fee for a spayed or neutered adult dachshund is generally around $200. But it's pretty safe to say that the initial fee for the dog itself is going to be the least of your expenditures. You'll need to pay for a new crate, veterinary expenses, food, grooming supplies — these things all add up. Your first year is likely to cost well over $1,000.