"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Aggressive Dachshund

– Posted in: Columns

We adopted a male 4-year-old Dachshund. When we got home he ran up the stairs and greeted our other 2 rescued Dachshund normally. Day 1 he was good, day 2 he was good, day 3 he was good, day 4 he started being very aggressive and protective of the mutual toy box. Day 5 even more so and he nipped at me. Day 6, he has started to show me his teeth and nipped again. The little devil has a heck of a set of teeth.

I am very concerned about this aggressive streak that has developed. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do with an aggressive Dachshund? Being pretty much retired now, I can’t really afford to start taking him to a bunch of experts.


Hi P.M.,

One thing I’ve noticed with a lot of rescue dogs in a new household is they’re a lot like a houseguest. If I were to come room and board at your place, you and your wife would be in no time commenting on what a considerate, jolly fellow I am but it wouldn’t be to long before you’d come home unexpectedly and find me raiding the fridge in my underwear getting a glimpse of what might be a reflection of my true nature.

It seems your dachshund was checking out the lay of the land, playing it safe until he decided who had the moves to lay down the law and he decided it was him. He may just set the bar higher then the other dogs you have as to who he’s willing to listen to and you may find you’re going to have develop a different set of handling skills for him then the others.

Dogs are like kids, some you don’t need that much discipline or supervision and others would end up in juvenile court without it. You have to get it right too. Over discipline a kid that doesn’t need it and while they won’t necessarily end up in juvenile court, they might need therapy for the rest of their lives. That’s part of what I mean when I so often refer to balanced dog training. It’s not about being all positive or all negative; it’s about finding the right balance for each individual dog.

If you’re not going to go to a training class here’s what I’d do. I’d rock this little Dachshund’s world. He’d drag a leash on in the house, 30’ of rope outside. I would never reach for the dog. I’d reach for the leash handle. He wouldn’t be allowed up or down stairs, in or outdoors, in the car or out of the car without doing something for me first, (like waiting for up to a minute). He’d have to stay on a mat whenever there was food in a room or I was in the kitchen. He wouldn’t be allowed on a stick of furniture without permission and again I’d make him work for it. He wouldn’t be allowed anywhere I couldn’t get to his leash and when I was busy he’d be a crate (ideally near me). This would go on for a full year. I’d also exercise his rear end off every day, especially before training sessions.

You’ll find any dog is smart enough to “get it” in 90 days but there’s a difference between “getting it” in 90 days and experiencing it for a year. The difference is that as they say, experience is the greatest teacher of all.

Pawsitively yours,

John Wade
*protected email*

13 Comments… add one
J.LeBel June 5, 2014, 3:27 pm

I rescued a part dachshund and we are having aggression issues also. She is only aggressive towards other dogs. She is a very well behaved dog otherwise but it is impossible to take her anywhere (vets,parks,walks in the park) she freaks out when she sees another dog and turns into a tazmanian devil. The pound said she had “cage aggression” .How can I help this dog have a normal life – she is truly worth it.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade March 26, 2015, 12:06 pm

There may be other factors but the main reason these things get out of hand has less to do with the relationship the dogs have each other and more with the relationship they don’t have with their owner. Think of it in terms of human children. It these were two eight year old boys constantly scrapping, yes it’s possible one or the other has a screw loose but much more likely they don’t respect their parent(s) enough to abide by house rules. I would suggest you buy a copy of my book “The Beautiful Balance – Dog Training with Nature’s Template“. It’s downloadable and inexpensive. Either that or get a trainer in to help you.

Denise March 19, 2015, 4:42 pm

Thank you, John, and thank you PM for asking this questions. I have adopted a 10 yr old daschund with aggression issues. He was to be euthanized, but I felt like he may be a little misunderstood. Sure enough, after day 4, he started showing his teeth and getting mad at me when I wouldn’t give him “human” food. After reading this advice, I put his harness and leash on him and let him walk around with it. Immediately, he began acting differently. Thank you for this timely, and much needed advice.

Carol-lynne March 25, 2015, 9:42 pm

I have 2 brothers who are 7 months old and the younger one has started violently attacking his brother, especially when I shoe him attention. But he also pins him in a corner and watches over him so he can’t move and when he tries the little one attacks. Please help me stop this as I hate to see either one hurt or sad.

Elaine June 17, 2015, 3:17 pm

Good Afternoon, I have a 3 yo winner. every time some big dog or people are around he wants to attack, also when anybody from my family comes close to me. If I’m sleeping and my husband come to our room Rufuss attack him, He already bite my husband and my daughter. I love him, he follows the order, but he is very aggressive. Can you help me to avoid problems again.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade June 20, 2015, 4:30 pm

Hi Elaine,

I can only help indirectly. Finding a trainer to work with one on one preferably in the home would be the way to go. You will find a lot on my website http://www.askthedogguy.com that will give you some clues as to why your dog is doing this but in a nutshell he’s likely perceiving you as a resource to guard. He has no idea as to who is the teacher and who is the student. Your first step is to straighten this part out. Often they stop the behaviour but if not it’s easier for them to unlearn it once you’ve the relationship issues resolved.


Rosie murfin August 5, 2016, 8:15 pm

Hi Mr John. I have a dachshund that we got when he was 4 weeks old. For the last year and a half, he has been getting more aggressive to all members of the family. We can no longer pick him up, nor at times, even touch him. He is not nuetered. He was normally a good Dog, he listened and followed commands from the start, but recently, he has been getting more aggressive and less loveable. Is there anything we can or should do? What advice can you give us.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade August 8, 2016, 11:31 am

Hi Rosie,

Some dogs require a much more hands on approach to being reared then others, otherwise they get confused as to who is living in whose home and start asserting themselves when they hit young adulthood. With the right sort of training they can be turned around and be quite happy in a subordinate role (much less pressure). However, it takes some time and patience. Find a good trainer or read my book –


Rosie murifn August 10, 2016, 11:39 am

Thanks for the reply. We will try a trainer in the area and look at your books.

Mary December 30, 2016, 11:51 am

We just came home yesterday with a 3 year old dachshund mix that hasn’t been neutered. He was abused by his former owners (hit and starved) and is food aggressive plus we of course can’t make sudden movements. Last night he was licking my hand and when he stopped I went to pull my hand away and he went berserk and bit me good on two of my fingers. It drew blood. Now I am leery and know that it’s not good to show fear but I am out of my element here. I guess I could try the leash trick you mentioned but I don’t want a dog that could bite me or my husband but more importantly my grandbabies. Please help us. We love dogs and can’t afford a trainer.

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade January 1, 2017, 6:36 pm

Hi Mary,

Did this dog come from a rescue?


Sasha Munoz January 14, 2017, 1:36 am

HI John,
I have a two year old dachshund mix that I adopted about a year ago. When I got him, the shelter told me he had behavior problems and I was willing to give him a chance. Being that I’ve had him for over a year, some of his behaviors have changed. Others, not so much. He runs out the door, barks agrresively at guests and their children like he wants to attack them, he will nip at somebody if they try to hug or play with me, he pulls the leash when walking outside, he barks at dogs when we walk, and he has ruined multiple clothing pieces by ripping holes in them. I know this is a lot, but what are some of your suggestions? I would love the help!

John "Ask the Dog Guy" Wade January 17, 2017, 3:44 pm

Hi Sasha,

I’m glad you’ve made some progress. You may want to start working with a trainer if you can find a good one. Otherwise there are lots of good tips in my book that will help with the sorts of things you’re describing.

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