It can be worrying if suddenly whenever you go to pick up your dachshund, they yelp!
Your first natural instinct may be to think that there is something horribly wrong with them.
If your dog is yelping for no obvious reason, especially if it is not something that they usually do, the best thing for you to do is always take them to your vet so that they can be checked over by a professional.
Even if it turns out that there are no serious health problems with your Dachshund, at least the visit and your vet’s professional advice will give you peace of mind.
Your vet may even be able to help reveal the mystery, or point you in the direction of an animal behaviour therapist or dog trainer, to work through the problem or help you to understand your dog better.
In the meantime you may want to think about some of the potential reasons as to why your Dachshund yelps when you pick them up.
We have compiled the top 5 most obvious reasons this may be happening.
Has your Dachshund developed a fear of being picked up?
Your Dachshund may have developed a fear of being picked up.
This is more likely to apply to you if you have recently brought home a new Dachshund puppy, if you have recently rescued a Dachshund from a dog rescue center or re-homed one that used to belong to someone else.
Maybe your Dachshund has spent some time away from you under the care of someone else.
Alternatively they may be having a repeated negative experience of being picked up with someone else either in your household or in their life – Your children for example, or a dog walker.
Dogs can develop “fears” or aversions to things very quickly if they have a reinforced unpleasant experience.
This is because they can attribute the bad feelings that they experienced to the action of being picked up, and not necessarily to the person who has helped to create the fear.
They can also remember the specific situation or context in which the fear developed.
Let’s say you have a young child who likes to hold and cuddle your dog.
A young child doesn’t necessarily know the proper way in which to handle an animal, and they might be picking your Dachshund up awkwardly, or squeezing them too hard.
A child probably won’t understand your dog’s body language, and if this is the case then your dog may have been forced to endure a situation they aren’t comfortable with.
They may find an alternative way to communicate the fact that they don’t like what is happening to them – hence the yelping.
Dog body language can be very subtle and easy to miss by the untrained eye.
It is common for adults as well as children to misinterpret or miss completely the signs that a dog is displaying in order to communicate how they feel.
If your dog’s body language is being unintentionally ignored, they may feel that they have to resort to expressing their discomfort or objection in a different way.
This can escalate from wriggling to yelping, and even from to growling to snapping or worse.
If your Dachshund yelps when you pick them up ask yourself if they might have been exposed, or are being exposed to a situation that has taught them that yelping gets the action they want – which is to be put back down on the ground.
Is your Dachshund experiencing some kind of pain that you are unaware of?
Dogs are able to disguise pain extremely well.
This is a survival mechanism.
In the wild an animal that displays the fact that they are in pain or have been injured is also displaying the fact that they are weak and vulnerable, which makes them an easy target for predators or a liability to the pack.
Survival is the most naturally important thing to an animal, and so their bodies are designed to compensate for injuries by using other areas of their body in order to function as normally as possible until the injury has healed.
This makes it very easy to miss when your pet has been hurt or is suffering from an ongoing physical ailment.
If your dog is older they could potentially be suffering from arthritis.
Often when we pick a small dog up in our arms we may do a sort of jolting or jostling motion, similar to when we pick up a child and bob them up and down to rest them on our hip.
This jolt can cause pain or discomfort to a dog that is already suffering from arthritis, or something similar like a bruised rib or pulled ligament.
Is your Dachshund experiencing a back problem?
It is very common for the Dachshund breed to experience back problems because of the shape of their body. This may be causing a problem when you lift them up.
Because the Dachshund has been bred to have a long body and short legs, there is often more pressure put on the spine during normal everyday activities.
In fact, many of the normal everyday activities that other dog breeds can enjoy without any problems can present serious health issues or injury potential to a Dachshund.
For example, running up and down stairs or jumping off the sofa can result in minor and more serious back injuries.
Even walking long distances can cause long-term problems for a Dachshund.
There is even more of a risk if your Dachshund is overweight because of the extra pressure being placed on their joints during exercise and body movement.
If your Dachshund is experiencing back problems they may not enjoy being picked up, and could be experiencing serious pain or discomfort.
Does your dachshund have a fear of heights or trust issues?
Sometimes a dog yelping when they are picked up can simply mean that they don’t like it.
For a small dog, being lifted high up in the air by a human can be daunting, and the ground can seem like an awfully long way down.
If your dachshund yelps it may be that they feel insecure about the way they are being held, or they just don’t like being that high up without their feet on the ground.
Think about how you would feel if someone came along and swept you off your feet.
Many people would probably yelp or shriek or want to be put down immediately. It could be the same for your dog.
Being lifted off the ground by someone else means you have to put a lot of trust in that person, because your safety and survival is effectively in their hands.
Some people (and dogs) just don’t like that feeling.
If you have a Dachshund who feels insecure about being picked up off the ground, make sure that you are at least holding them correctly with enough support so that they feel safe and secure.
Does your Dachshund object to being picked up unexpectedly?
If your Dachshund yelps when you pick them up, the sound may well be an involuntary expression of shock. Perhaps they weren’t expecting to be lifted up, or even touched?
Did they even know you were coming?
If your Dachshund was sleeping or dozing, and you picked them up for a cuddle or to take them somewhere but they weren’t prepared for it, you may have jolted them out of sleep or daydreams.
And in doing so they may have yelped in surprise. Some dogs even sleep with their eyes open!
If this is something that is happening more and more with a dog that you have had for a long time, it may be that they are losing their sight or hearing.
If your dog can’t see you clearly or they can’t hear you coming, it is bound to be a shock when you lift them up in the air from behind.
You need to be more careful when you are handling a dog who could be losing one of their senses.
Make sure that you are approaching your dog from an angle that ensures they are aware of you coming. You don’t want them to accidentally lash and bite you in defence.
They wouldn’t have meant to hurt you of course, but dogs that have lost or are losing their senses know that they are more vulnerable, and they can develop instinctive reflex behaviours that are intended to protect them from “surprise attacks”.
It can be confusing and upsetting when you have a pet that is displaying behaviour that you just don’t understand, but it is bound to happen at some point in your relationship with them, because humans and dogs are different on so many levels.
The best you can do when something strange is happening, or your Dachshund is behaving out of character, is to be observant, be open-mind, do your own research, and always consult a professional when in doubt.
If your Dachshund yelps when you pick them up it could be for a number of reasons, and you won’t know for sure which one applies to your dog until you have sought advice from an expert.