How to Teach Good Manners
There are certain skills that a puppy or adult dachshund needs to master in order to become a good companion in the home, in the neighborhood, while traveling, and in public places. None of these tasks is difficult to teach if you approach them correctly, are consistent in giving your commands (and hand signals, if any), and have patience.
Keep in mind, too, that the steps outlined in this chapter are simply guidelines to training specific skills. There are no hard-and-fast rules in training other than to keep it positive, know how to use your primary and secondary reinforcers, take very small steps, and keep it fun and exciting for both you and your dachshund. For all commands, you should expect to repeat the learning process until your dachshund gets it right ten out of twelve times.
Terms You Should Know
In this chapter, the primary reinforcer that you use to reward your dachshund is called a treat. You do not have to use a food treat if this does not work for your dog. If your dachshund has a high play drive, she might prefer to shake a fake animal or catch a ball. A dachshund who loves attention might think the best reward is some really good pats and rubs. You know your dog. Substitute the primary reinforcer that works for her.
Similarly, the secondary or conditioned reinforcer is called a click. This does not have to be a click from a clicker. You can make a clucking noise with your tongue, use a whistle, clap your hands once, or make any other effective, convenient sound that your dog can hear from a reasonable distance. If you choose to use your voice (verbal praise) as a secondary reinforcer (such as “Yes!”), keep the verbal reinforcement very clear and concise. Be consistent — use the same word every time, and express it in the same way.
If you are using food treats as your primary reinforcer (reward), make sure your dachsie has not eaten a full meal before you begin training. A little hunger will help make the treats even more appealing.
Making the Connection
Before you can begin using primary and secondary reinforcers, you must first teach your dachsie what this all means. The method for teaching her that a reward is coming every time she hears the secondary reinforcer is fairly simple.
In a room without any distractions, click the clicker, and toss your dachsie a treat. (If you are using your voice, you would say “Yes!” and treat your dog.) Continue to click and treat until you see that your dachshund anticipates the treat when she hears the click.