"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

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