There are a lot of things to consider before getting a new dog. One might think of the small, playful dachshund as the ideal dog to have, but are dachshunds naturally aggressive?
Yes. Dachshunds are aggressive dogs.
According to a study published in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science, dachshunds scored higher than average for aggression directed toward both humans and dogs.
However, this breed is most aggressive towards strangers, and none of the dachshund bites have resulted in fatalities.
Reasons for aggression in dachshund
Often, dogs have been bred for specific purposes. Guarding houses, guarding sheep, fighting, hunting – some breeds are made selectively.
Dachshunds are hunters by nature. They were bred to hunt badgers. Badgers can be quite aggressive, so dachshunds needed to match them to hunt them down. So, dachshunds are genetically prone to be aggressive.
However, in today’s times, dachshunds are mostly just house-pets, and adorable ones at that.
Breeding does not play a huge role in their aggression. It depends on a lot of other factors as well.
When your dachshund becomes fearful, it can feel threatened.
This can cause it to go into survival mode, and it will result in your dachshund lashing out at whatever the object is. Your dog could feel afraid of any person, animal, or even an object.
Fear aggression needs to be corrected as soon as you detect it. This is one behavior that should never be allowed to go on because this is more dangerous than aggression for any other reason.
This is because if your dachshund fears something, it could lose all sense of control as it attacks whatever it was that is scaring it.
Anxiety or boredom
Anxiety in dogs can lead to a lot of disruptive behavior, including aggressive tendencies. The main triggers for anxiety in dachshunds are boredom and separation anxiety.
Dachshunds, like a lot of other dogs, are pack dogs. They are a part of a pack, which is why they need companionship. If they don’t get it, they can start to feel bored or anxious.
To get rid of their anxiety, and also to emote it to their owners, dachshunds will display it through destructive behavior and aggression.
That is why anxiety issues in dachshunds need to be looked after at the earliest.
Territorial aggression refers to the territorial instinct of dachshunds.
Your dachshund could be very territorial about its space, which could include the house and its own space and could extend to its food, toys, and people.
If a dachshund feels that someone is intruding on what it considers its territory, it might feel threatened and get aggressive.
They can act on this aggression by barking or defining their territory lines, or in the worst cases, attacking the intruder.
Dachshunds were bred to be pack dogs. They recognize an alpha, which they obey and follow.
If you do not assert your dominance over them as an alpha, they will recognize themselves as the leader of the pack.
So it is possible that it will show aggression from time to time because it believes that it is in charge of everything else.
Similarly, they can be aggressive towards other dogs to show that they are the dominant ones around.
Food and toy aggression
Food can trigger a dachshund’s territorial instincts. In nature, animals have to hunt for food.
This hunting instinct is imbibed in almost every animal, even the ones that have been domesticated for a long time.
Therefore, dachshunds can be very protective about their food and can get aggressive if it feels that someone else is trying to take their food.
To help with this, supervise the time that they eat. Also, ensure that they know that they do not have to fight for their food with anyone else.
The same goes for their toys. Dachshunds can feel possessive of their toys and territorial about things that belong to them.
This possessiveness can turn into aggression if it feels like someone is going to take away their stuff.
Dachshunds, like a lot of other dogs, are also prone to hoarding. They store away food or their playthings to use at some other time.
Dachshund, being a hunting dog, is especially territorial about its personal things.
Illness or injury
If your dog is sick or in pain of any kind, it might feel aggressive. Just like when we humans are sick, we feel frustrated and angry, the same goes for animals as well.
If they have any sort of injury or pain that they are not able to avoid, they could get aggressive.
It could also get snappy if you try to go near it or touch its painful spot. It is important to go to a vet immediately if your dachshund is in pain of any kind.
Dachshunds can have a special person that they think of as theirs and are more protective, loyal, and affectionate about them than anyone else.
This loyalty and affection can often turn to jealousy if they see their special person giving attention to some other person or dog.
This jealousy could result in aggression towards that person.
Dachshunds who have had a rough past and were neglected at some point are likely to be more aggressive.
Neglect can come in many forms: from not being looked after, being underfed, not being given attention, abused, or poorly trained.
Either way, these dogs are going to be traumatized and as a result, could become more aggressive in later life.
Especially if your dog is a rescue, you need to make sure that it does not feel the same way ever again. You should treat your dog with unconditional love and never make it feel alone.
If there has been some big change in your dachshund’s life or surroundings, it could start showing aggressive tendencies.
The changes could be anything, like
- If you have shifted to another place
- If someone new has come to stay at your house if there’s a new baby in the house
- Or, if anything in its routine has changed
all these could be reasons for your dachshund to start being aggressive.
As puppies, dachshunds can be quite feisty, especially during their teething period. Because it appears to be adorable since they are puppies, we usually let it go on, and it gets reinforced in them.
A dachshund puppy is good to be trained when it is about 10 weeks old. It is best to start as soon as it is ready so that it learns early.
Aggression towards other animals
Some dogs are aggressive towards other animals, especially other dogs. This happens usually if they feel threatened by them.
They get aggressive to assert dominance. The solution to this is to train your dog to be around other animals.
Until then, it is better to keep your dog on a leash while on walks, so as not to put other dogs at risk.
Male vs female aggression
The most common aggression among dachshunds is male to male aggression. Females are usually tamer than males.
Neutering and spaying your dachshunds can help in reducing their aggressive behavior.
Aggression towards people
Strangers: Dachshunds sometimes can show aggression towards particular people, like adult men, or people with a cane in their hand. This could most likely be the result of past experiences and abuse.
Owner: Usually, dachshunds are not aggressive towards their owners, but it can happen if the dog is trying to protect its food, is injured or in pain, or while trying to assert dominance. This will occur especially if you get an older dachshund with already established behavioral patterns.
Kids: It is quite rare for dachshunds to be aggressive towards kids, but if it does happen, it is almost always due to a lack of proper training and socialization, or some inappropriate or rough behavior by the child.
How to train your dachshund to be less aggressive
Training your dachshund should only involve positive reinforcement. Ignore its bad behavior, but don’t encourage it in any way. Reward good behavior with praises or treats.
Never use negative reinforcement like spraying water or using loud noises or shock collars.
That could scare or anger your dachshund, making it even more prone to aggressive behavior, not to mention that these are very cruel techniques.
A lot of behavioral issues can be resolved by exercising your dog. Dachshunds have a lot of energy, and exercising can help them release the energy.
A tired dog is also a happy dog. If all its pent-up energy is spent in playing, it will not come out through aggressive behaviors.
Training and socialization
Proper training and socialization from an early age are very important for a dachshund.
If you get a dachshund puppy, you need to start its socialization from about 8 weeks old. This can help stop aggressive tendencies from developing as it gets older.
You should also start obedience training so that your dachshund can easily follow commands.
Take your dog outside and introduce it to other people and animals gradually, so that it becomes acquainted with its surroundings. It will soon get familiar and not feel threatened or scared by anything that comes in its way.
Your dachshund should know that you are the alpha. Once it understands what you expect of it, it will be obedient and loyal. It will behave properly in front of other people and animals.
There is no question that you will spoil your pet to no end. It is indeed very hard to resist puppy eyes.
However, it is important to set some firm boundaries right from the start. You need to teach your dachshund what behavior is expected from them and what is wrong behavior.
This will ensure that your dachshund doesn’t engage in anti-social behaviors.
Quite a lot of dog aggression comes from not being consistent in dog training. The owners are ultimately responsible for teaching their pets good and bad behavior.
This way the dog will be obedient and not engage in aggressive behaviors just to get something.
Neutering or spaying
Often, aggressive behavior in dogs is a result of their hormones. Neutering or spaying your dachshund can help in reducing their aggression and calm them down.
However, dachshunds are prone to IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease). Spaying or neutering them too early can increase the risk of IVDD in dachshunds.
Therefore, speak to your vet before deciding to neuter or spay your dachshund.
Sometimes, you might not understand why your dachshund is behaving the way it is.
Often, it can be difficult to stop its behavior on your own. Your dog might need an animal therapist. It could need medical attention. This is not something that you could provide yourself.
So, the most effective solution here is to take your dachshund to the professional it needs.
It could be puppy classes, animal behaviorists, dog whisperers, animal therapists, or a vet. Either way, don’t try to solve your dachshund’s problem on your own even when it is not helping.