No, dachshunds are perfectly sane, but they do love to bark. And bark, and bark, and bark…
Doxies were originally bred to hunt, and like all hunting dogs, barking is in their DNA.
Their bark is also very loud for a small breed; dachshunds are ranked number seven in the top 25 breeds with the loudest bark right between the Siberian Husky and the Doberman Pinscher.
Why do dachshunds bark? They may be bored, looking for attention, or suffering from separation anxiety. Sometimes they just get too excited.
The good news is that doxies are intelligent and can be trained to bark less; all it takes is a little common sense and patience.
Identifying what is causing your dachshund to bark will help you understand what sort of training and activities are needed to change the behavior.
Reasons Your Dachshund May be Barking
Dachshunds are intelligent, active dogs that need both physical and mental stimulation.
Doxies left alone in the backyard with no toys and no human company will be bored and may entertain themselves by barking incessantly. This is sure to drive your neighbors crazy.
Dachshunds also dig the best holes in the world, so even if you don’t care about your neighbors’ sanity, a bored doxie will wreck your yard.
Exercise is a great way to relieve your dachshund’s boredom. A daily 30-minute walk will exercise your doxie not only physically, but also mentally.
The different smells and neighborhood bustle will arouse your dachshund’s curiosity and interest.
Try to take different routes instead of following the same path every day to challenge your doxie even more.
Interesting toys will keep your doxie mentally stimulated. All dogs love squeaky toys, but puzzle toys, like the Kong, will keep your doxie entertained for hours.
In recent years, there’s been a flood of new interactive puzzle toys in the pet market guaranteed to stimulate your dachshund; some even claim to improve your dog’s IQ.
Hide some toys away so that when your doxie loses interest in one, it can be replaced with another.
Dachshunds love company and an outing to the dog park is a piece of heaven for them. They’ll meet and play with other dogs and tire themselves out.
Ask a professional dog trainer for help if your doxie isn’t socialized; dachshunds can be aggressive and if they’re not properly socialized, the dog park could turn into a dog fight.
Try to tire your dachshund out every day with exercise and interesting toys; an exhausted doxie is a quiet doxie.
How do dachshunds learn that when they bark a lot, they get attention? From their human companions, of course; they’re so cute we tend to spoil them.
John Grogan, the author of Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog, said, “There’s no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner.”
We give our doxies attention when they bark, and then we call them naughty for barking too much.
Ignore your dachshund when he barks at you; turn your back and walk away. When your doxie is quiet for a minute or two after a bout of barking, give him a treat.
Repeat until your dachshund knows that barking doesn’t result in a treat or attention, silence does. We’re often as joyful to see our doxies when we’ve been away from home for a few hours as they are to see us.
This happiness at being reunited can become a very noisy ritual that you will tire of long before your dachshund stops barking out his joy.
When you come home from an outing, don’t pay any attention to your doxie for five or ten minutes. Put away the shopping, check your social media, do some chores.
When your dachshund stops barking for a few minutes, give him a treat and a cuddle.
Training your dachshund to stop barking needs consistency and patience; your doxie won’t learn that attention seeking barking is a non-starter if you sometimes ignore him and sometimes don’t.
You don’t want to stop your dachshund from ever barking at all; it’s useful to be alerted by your doxie that an intruder or stranger may be around.
But if your doxie barks every time the doorbell rings, or whenever someone passes by the gate, then the barking is due to excitement rather than protection of territory.
Teach your dachshund a simple one-word command, like “Quiet!” If you find it challenging to teach your dachshund to obey your commands, then get the help of a professional dog trainer to train your doxie to stop barking on command.
Always remember that you’re the alpha dog, not your dachshund.
This may be the single biggest reason why your doxie incessantly barks when you’re not at home. Dachshunds are social creatures who love being with their humans, and they can feel very distressed when they’re left alone.
If your doxie is a perfect angel when you’re at home but barks and howls non-stop while you’re out, he may have separation anxiety.
Some dachshunds also get anxious when they see you getting ready to go out: as they see you pick up your purse and car keys they start circling or barking and whining.
Some doxies dash out the door with you, jump into the car and refuse to get out, making every departure from your home a challenge.
The very first thing to remember is to leave the house calmly and quietly and to come back the same way. Don’t make a big fuss of saying goodbye and hello; your doxie will eventually follow your example.
If your dachshund shows signs of distress when you’re getting ready to leave, do the same things you usually do before going out and then stay home.
For example, if the trigger for your doxie is seeing you pick up the car keys, then pick them up a couple of times a day and carry on your regular at-home routine so that your dachshund stops associating the car keys with being left alone.
Tire your doxie out before leaving home. Take him for a 30-minute walk or play a game with him; he’ll have less energy to bark while you’re away.
Make leaving your doxie alone an enjoyable experience by filling a puzzle toy (like a Kong) with delicious food.
Fill the puzzle toy with healthy treats in place of his usual meal if you’re watching your dachshund’s weight.
Also, a squeaky chew toy may keep your doxie happy and quiet for hours. Getting a companion dog for your dachshund will be very helpful.
Don’t rush out and get another dog without considering all the implications, though; the expense of a second dog is considerable.
It will also backfire if your doxie doesn’t get on with the new dog, so it’s best to have some trial runs with prospective candidates.
As a Warning
A bark by your dachshund which is low-pitched and consistent can be an alarm that your doxie perceives a threat.
It may be someone who is approaching your home or an animal that has moved by your window. Either way, your dog is feeling like it needs to protect itself and it’s home.
Although this type of barking can be irritating if your Dachshund is constantly feeling threatened, you should appreciate the fact it wants to protect you and your home.
Happiness and excitement is contagious. If the environment they are in is loud with lots of activity, then you can reasonably expect your dachshund to join in the festivities.
This often means that they will express themselves by barking! This barking is not them feeling threatened, but quite the opposite. Your dachshund is letting you know they’re happy and communicating this to you by barking.
Just like humans, dogs can get excited and happy too! We tend to chat more and get louder when we’re excited and your dog feels the same way expressing themselves through barking.
Your dachshund may act aggressively towards other dogs based on fear and wanting to protect itself. They probably want to keep the other dog at bay.
On the other hand, it may not feel threatened at all, but it just wants to play with the dog(s) it is encountering. You’ll need to pick up on these cues – are they sniffing.
Don’t Use Shock, Ultrasound, or Citronella Control Collars
Even in extreme cases of incessant barking, control collars are not recommended.
Shock collars that give dogs a jolt of electricity when they bark are cruel, which is why most humane societies the world over have banned them.
You can also harm your doxie if you don’t use the remote control that delivers the electric shock correctly.
Even professional trainers have problems in delivering the shock at precisely the right moment to stop a dog from barking.
Ultrasonic control collars make a high pitched sound when a dog barks; it irritates the dog and supposedly interrupts the barking.
The ultrasonic collar is often paired with a shock collar: first comes the high pitched sound, and if the barking continues, a jolt of electricity follows.
For that reason, it’s every bit as cruel as the shock collar.
The citronella collar is also controversial but is thought to be less cruel than the shock or ultrasound collar. It’s also considered to be less effective.
When the dog barks, a spray of citronella is released and distracts the dog from barking.
Another dog barking nearby can set off the spray release, punishing your dog even when he’s not the one that’s barking.
But perhaps the best reason to avoid control collars like the plague is that they don’t change your doxie’s behavior; they punish your dachshund for barking without addressing the cause of the barking.
Never Yell at Your Dachshund for Barking
We’re all guilty of this from time to time, but yelling doesn’t help a doxie understand that barking is a no-no.
When you yell at your dachshund for barking, he thinks you’re barking back, and the game is on! A command to stop barking should be one word, like “quiet!”, said in a firm but calm voice.
Barking is normal doxie behavior, and it’s unlikely that you will be able to stop all barking, nor is it necessary to. It’s a valuable thing to have a dachshund who warns you of possible danger.
But incessant and unnecessary barking due to boredom, attention seeking, and separation anxiety can be controlled by making sure your doxie has enough mental and physical stimulation.Paragraph
All it takes is a bit of training, and some interesting activities and toys. Always remember that training is to change behavior, not to punish it.
And if you have a particularly stubborn doxie, then a couple of sessions with a professional dog trainer should do the trick.