Biting is the most extreme form of aggressive behavior in any breed of dog. Dachshund biting is no different, even though with their smaller size they are much less problematic than a German Shepherd, Rottweiler or a Doberman Pinscher. Unfortunately the way that many owners treat their Dachshunds actually contributes to the breeds’ negative reputation as being a biter. In a University of Pennsylvania study in 2008, of the 6000 dog owners interviewed the Dachshund was found to be the most aggressive with 20% of Dachshund owners reporting their dog had bit a person or another dog.
There are two general types of Dachshund biting behavior. These are biting due to possessiveness or biting out of fear. Understanding why the dog is biting is the first step in making the very necessary correction in the behavior.
Possessive Dachshund Biting
Biting because the dog is protective or possessive of an object or person is a sign of a dog that thinks he or she is running the household. Often dogs that are improperly trained or socialized have this problem. These are the dogs that largely do what they want regardless of what the owner wants. The owners are very passive and make excuses for the dog’s poor behavior and lack of obedience. Often they simply pick up the dog or isolate the pooch in another room to solve the problem. Inconsistency and lack of leadership by the people in the family also contributes to this extreme type of behavior.
These dogs literally see themselves in control and the humans or other animals inside or outside of the family as something to be bossed around. In some dog behavior literature these dogs will be categorized as having “small dog syndrome” a sort of a canine Napoleonic complex.
Correcting this problem starts with the humans becoming consistent, firm and fair in working with the dog. During this time the Dachshund needs to be kept away from other people or animals except during structured socialization and training activities to prevent any risk of another bite. Working with a professional trainer to start on corrective training is highly advised as they can correct the human faults as well as working directly with the dog.
The dog should have all objects he or she deems as “theirs” removed. The owner will give the dog the toys or objects to play with and then collect them after the play time is over. This establishes that the human, not he dog, is in control of the items. The Dachshund should not be given excessive attention by the owner he or she is possessive of either. Normalize contact with the dog and encourage others that are experienced in handling dogs to pet, play with and work with the dog.
Dachshund Biting From Fear
A Dachshund that bites because of fear is only following their instincts. Biting is not the first sign of fear and usually only occurs when the dog is cornered or feels there is no other way to get out of a terrifying situations. Often Dachshund biting from fear is seen in abused dogs or dogs that were neglected or trained using very harsh negative training methods.
If the dog is afraid of people the first goal is to socialize the Dachshund with a variety of positive human interactions. Have the dog in the room with one other person that is very comfortable around dogs. Don’t force the Dachshund to be close, just allow the dog to become comfortable around a stranger. This may take several sessions, but if the individual is calm and ignores the dog the dog will, eventually, start to become curious. Provide small treats that the individual can give to the dog when he or she approaches.
Once this is mastered, you can then start working on having the other person pet and work with the dog, again taking it very slowly and positively, working at the dog’s comfort level.
Prevention is really the best way to stop issues with Dachshund biting. Socialize your puppy and take them to a puppy kindergarten class to help overcome any type of fear responses from developing. Obedience work and maintaining good, responsible dog owner behaviors will also be essential in the emotional well being of your Dachshund.