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Aggressive Dachshund

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/Force-Free’ 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
[email protected]

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33 thoughts on “Aggressive Dachshund”

  1. J.LeBel

    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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Carol-lynne

    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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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 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.


  5. Rosie murfin

    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.

    1. 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 –


      1. Rosie murifn

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

  6. 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.

  7. Sasha Munoz

    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!

    1. 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.

  8. Melissa

    A few years ago we took in a Dachshund we found roaming our neighborhood. We did everything to find his owner but were unable. We had him neutered and kept him. He can sometimes be aggressive. He goes nuts at our fence line barking at our neighbor and has bit her. Luckily she is forgiving. He usually only shows this aggression to people near our fence or visitors when he is in his crate. He has growled at others while on leash and he did bite our toddler once but she was being too rough and we have established improved behavior with her but we have a 5 month old now too so…We also can not pick him up without him growling. Is this behavior that can be changed with a trainer? Or am I always going to be nervous that he may snap on guests? Do daily walks help to tone this behavior down? We have all grown very attached to him but I hate the constant worry he is going to bite, especially with our newest addition.

    1. It isn’t that this sort of behaviour can’t be turned around – on paper, there’s the risk of doing so to people while you’re doing so. As big a responsibility it is to care for a dog, it does not or perhaps I should say shouldn’t be a bigger responsibility then the one we have towards keeping our children, neighbours, guests etc. safe.

      Daily walks won’t have much more impact then increasing the aggression if he’s doing the same when someone approaches him. Exercise however, (walks aren’t exercise) is one of the things that make turning him around easier but in itself, no it won’t help.

      If you’re interested in trying to turn this dog around I’d suggest reading my e-book – The Beautiful Balance – Dog Training with Nature’s Template and/or booking a telephone consult with me. (

  9. maureen adams

    I have a little boy he is dashhound/BORDER COLLIE mix and his sister..bandit gets so agressive at other dogs and people that he bites me or anything around him even his sister dog..he will be 1 yr old in may..i have had him since he was 5 wks old..he has just stared this agression the last 2 months. I worry he might bite one of my grandchildren one day out of excitement of something else..what can i do to break him from biting

    1. Hi Maureen,

      If you’re calling your dog a “little boy” instead of a young dog I suspect part of the problem is that someone has confused you as to the nature of what it is to be a dog. If you’re treating him like a child, rather then a dog I suspect his aggression is a byproduct and a message to you that he’s in fact a dog. Do a search on this website for dog to dog aggression living in the same home. I’ve written about it several times. Some good tips there. Search ‘all positive’ dog training as well as it’s a big contributor to this sort of behaviour.


  10. I have a 4 year old Dachshund and a 2 year old Dachshund. The older one has started becoming agreesive towards stranger dogs and we dont know why, often unprovoked. He is very protective over the younger dog. How do we stop this?

    1. Hi Vicky,

      Thanks for writing to me about your dog. It might be a while for me to get back to you as there are just far too many emails coming in, from around the world, for one person to handle any more. Sometimes I don’t get to some of them at all. 

      If you haven’t already, I’d suggest doing a search on my website to see if I’ve written about anything similar that may be of some help.

      For what it’s worth, I give emails that include video of the dog issue much higher priority as I feel with that element it will help more people reading the column. I’ll give you a heads up should I post a reply so you don’t miss it should it be highly delayed.

      I also do telephone or Skype consultations if you think that would help. I can send you the details regarding what’s involved and on how to go about booking if you wish.



  11. Arely Uriza

    My Doxie Athena was not aggressive as a puppy. She was sweet and loving. Now she growls at me and barks at me and tries to bite my face. She’s 1 year and 5 months. What do I do?

    1. It might be a while for me to get back to you as the number of emails I receive every day from around the world has grown to the point I can’t always keep up. Here are 3 suggestions.

      1. I give emails that include video of the dog issue much higher priority as I feel with that element it will help more people reading the column so if you can send some video involving the behaviour you are concerned about I’ll give your inquiry priority. Small files sent as attachments are usually fine. If it’s a larger file instructions on how to send it for free are below my signature line.

      2. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest doing a search on my website to see if I’ve written about anything similar that may be of some help.

      3. I also do telephone or Skype consultations if you think that would help. I can send you the details regarding what’s involved and on how to go about booking if you wish.


      John Wade

  12. Chelsea

    Hi John,
    I have a dachshund that we have had since he was 4 weeks old and he is a good dog except for the fact that he is aggressive in certain situations. He is very hesitant with certain people, even people he has met before. When people come over to the house he will bark or growl at them and then when they try to pet him he snaps at them. But some people he is super happy and friendly from the get go. He also growls at us most of the time when he has something in his mouth he is not suppose to and when we try to get I‎t he growls and we are scared he will bite so we use to go get him a treat to drop whatever I‎t was, but that doesn’t work anymore. Not sure what to do. We have tried trainers but nothing seems to work. We really don’t want to spank him.

    Any idea how to fix these behaviors?

    I am scared that of how he will react once we have children and want to be sure this issue is fixed soon.


    1. Thanks for writing to me about your Dachshund.

      I want you to know I’ve read your comment. I will try to respond in greater detail, however I have to reply to comments on my website and emails in between the activities that pay the bills and even so, I receive so many emails with great questions like your own that I am always behind.

      I may have some other suggestions that might help. The first is, if you haven’t already do a search on my website for the question you have. There are hundreds of articles that I have written and you may very well find some suggestions from me or in the comments. This is one off the top of my head that I know is applicable.

      The second suggestion is to send me some video. I still can’t guarantee that I’ll get back to you promptly or at all but I do give the questions that include video of the issue much higher priority for replies because I think that my reply will be far more likely to be accurate and it will be of great value for anyone else searching The Ask The Dog Guy website for answers to similar questions. I’ve included instructions below with options for sending video to me. Simply attaching a video to an email doesn’t always work due to file size but the service mentioned below can handle it simply and for free.

      The third suggestion is to book an appointment if you are within my in-home visit consulatation area (London, Ontario region). If that’s of interest, let me know and I’ll send the details with regard to availability, costs etc.

      If you’re not within that area, another option is to book a telephone or Skype consultation with me. If that’s of interest let me know and I will send you the details regarding what’s involved, costs and on how to go about booking if you wish.

      Lastly, buy and download my book, The Beautiful Balance – Dog Training with Nature’s Template ( It explains dog training the way dog training is supposed to be rather than the ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free’ and ‘Might Is Right’ methods that get so many companion dog owners and their dogs into trouble. I think it’s currently $9.99 CND which is about $7.94 U.S.


      John Wade

      How to Send a Video or Videos to Someone for Free (I’ve only personally used and Dropbox)

      Instructions for WeTransfer

      If you feel it would help, send John Wade any video or photographic examples of the issues in advance of our appointment or in relation to an email question you are sending. Photographs can be sent as email attachments. Videos are usually too large so please send to me using this simple to use, free service.

      1. Load the video onto your computer.

      2. Visit the site

      3. Click on the +Add files button

      4. Find the video file or files and add

      5. Add my email to “Friend’s email” *protected email*

      6. Add your email to “Your email”

      7. You do not need to include a message

      8. Click on “Transfer”

      The file will upload. Once it has, I will be notified by email. I will upload and once I have done so you will receive an email letting you know I have the file. If you have other questions you will find the answers here,

  13. Athena Collins

    I just adopted an 11 week old duchshund puppy. I have children in my home ranging 2-10years old. Day 1 not aggressive but curious seemed happy with playful nipping. Day 2 and 3 a bit aggressive, growling and nipping more often and a bit harder. Day 4 nipping turned to biting my 2 year old scratches and bites all over his arm, the other 2 are scared of him. When I attempted to pick him up he jumped and bit my face. Tried to calm him by cuddling he tried to bite my hands and growled. Is there anything I can do?

  14. We adopted our female miniature dashound about a year ago. She is aggressive to the whole family and nothing we do works. She is good agressive,you agressive, and will even growl if you walk into a room. I need help!!

    1. Hi Camryn,

      I’m very sorry for the delay replying. It’s been a busy month for consultations which are what pay the bills and keep this website up and running. Aggression in Dachshunds is far too common. They rarely get the sort of training that really works and rather than just become occasionally annoying goofballs they often lean towards aggression. Read my ebook The Beautiful Balance – Dog Training with Nature’s Template. It will give you an idea as to why he’s doing what he’s doing and some practical ways to turn things around. That said, if she’s aggressive enough to be a liability to the kids, take no risks. Find her a home that can turn her around with anyone risking life and limb or remove her from the gene pool. Not a great solution I know, but our responsibility for providing a great life for our dogs do not take precedence over our responsibility to our children. (No matter what all the crazy animal rights and love dogs more than people dog trainers say.)


      John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
      Embracing Science and Common Sense

  15. We were given a Male unnutered mini medium hair dachshund. He turned 3 in March.
    He is agressive to Men, was diciplined with a Fly Swatter, attacks the kids when they play with their Nerf guns, before we got him.
    He is protective of the 4 of us. However we got a female dachshund puppy (she is 4 months old) and they play well for the most part, but there is this sudden change in His attitude where he will suddenly attack her for No apprarent reason. He always goes for her head, neck & ears. Usually her ears take the brunt of his attacks.

    What can we do to break him of this problem????

    1. Hi Wendi,

      I’m sorry for the delay in replying. It has been a very busy month for consultations. Can you try to send some video so I can get a better idea whether this is a normal dog to dog interaction or something else? I can say with reasonable confidence that the way he’s behaving with humans is typical of an untrained dog with his genetics. There are tons of things you can do to help him behave better but you have to start treating him like he’s a two-year-old child and apply some boundaries. Read my e-book The Beautiful Balance – Dog Training with Nature’s Template. It’s inexpensive and based on real-world living with any dog.


      John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
      Embracing Science and Common Sense

  16. Yolandre

    Hi John,

    We adopted for the first time. We only have him for 4 days now. Today he snapped/attacked my other dog. He was laying on the carpet before the door and she wanted to go. Not sure if he has claimed some sort of owner of that rug. They are also more or less the same age.

    On the first day they both growled at each other and i quickly calmed them both. Trying to talk to them and show them there is enough attention to go around. But sins he attacked her i would like to know how I can go about to stop this now.

    We have left them alone and nothing happend of what we could see.

    Your advice will be appreciated.


  17. Hello and thank you for all of your very helpful advice. I will look into getting your book, but I’m truly worried. Our dog is now 14 and I know that getting old isn’t very pleasant for dogs, especially this breed with their long backs and the arthritis. Our sweet Gary has always been a good dog, though his temperament did change when he was attacked at a dog park and nearly had his eye ripped out. Before that moment he was a regular fixture there and some might even say king of the dog park as he would run and play with all of the other dogs. After his accident we could no longer take him to the dog park, in fact he hasn’t been able to be around other dogs for long as their seems to be much anxiety. Even though I feel he is very lonely without the companionship of other dogs, we have tried to give him a good life with so much love, but something has changed. He’s had a few bites in his life and they were all pretty serious. He tore off my husbands eyebrow and bit my daughter on the check and eye. Keep in mind this was in a 10 year span. He’s not a rabid beast that just goes around biting all the time. I have noticed he has some sight issues and most of the attacks happen when he is approached suddenly or possibly when he is startled from a nap. Also this past week he has had a few moments where he will Yelp when picking him up. He just went to the doctor and she says he is pretty healthy except for arthritis. I hate that he’s in pain, but I can never really discern when he’s actually hurting as he still loves to run and play. Is their anything I can do to help him avoid these moments of yelping and then the attacking afterwards. A supplement I can start giving him to manage the pain maybe. We love him so much and don’t want to have to let him go. I want to be there until his very last day. I’ve never been afraid of Gary, but lately something has changed with him and I don’t know how to handle it. My apologies that this is so long, but I greatly appreciate your guidance.

    1. Hi Chree,

      You want to go a supplement route? You need to go to another veterinarian, or you didn’t fully inform your veterinarian as to the extent of his behavior. He should have been x-rayed, blood work is done, etc.? They have a wide range of choices for pain management.

      To be perfectly frank, much of the rest of his history and your take on it is confusing the dickens out of me. (“He’s had a few bites in his life and they were all pretty serious. He tore off my husband’s eyebrow and bit my daughter on the cheek and eye. Keep in mind this was in a 10-year span.”), you sound exactly like what victims of abuse sound like. If I had a spouse that lost an eyebrow and a daughter’s cheek AND EYE! bitten, I frankly wouldn’t have a 14-year-old dog. I’d give the dog every chance by attempting to get to the bottom of why the dog was behaving as such and if I couldn’t absolutely guarantee that I could keep my family, friends, acquaintances, or myself safe, love or not, that dog would be long gone. At least those are my priorities.

      It’s one thing to love a dog and seriously embrace the responsibilities that should accompany dog ownership, but it shouldn’t absolve us of our responsibility to those that have to cross paths with the dog. For this level of behavior, “‘good’ most of the time”, isn’t good enough in my book.

      It’s never an easy position to be in. Here’s an article for others with similarly aggressive dogs.Seven Options Worth Considering For Dog Owners with Dogs With Very Serious Behavior Problems

      – John Wade (

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