#1 Understand the cause of your dog’s barking
Barking can be the consequence of a variety of different underlying issues. Dogs bark when they are anxious, afraid, demanding, reactive, tired and excited; or when they want to play, when they want to alert their owner of a noise they heard or even when they are bored. The training required to stop your dog’s barking will always depend on why he barks in the first place. A dog that’s demanding a treat needs a different training approach than a dog who is reactive. Keep track of when and in which situations your Dachshund barks the most. This will help you understand what the cause is.
#2 Reactive barking
As small dogs, Dachshunds tend to bark out of reactivity. They are calm and quiet until they encounter what dog trainers call a “trigger” - essentially a person or dog that “sets them off”. A common mistake is that dog owners trust dogs grow out of reactivity and it goes away by itself. This is not true! In order to stop reactive barking, you need to provide a lot of well-planned exposure and positive experiences for your dog. Instead of letting him approach his triggers so closely that he “loses it”, let your Dachshund observe anything that stresses him (such as other dogs) from a safe distance, while feeding him treats. That way you can form a positive association and teach him that there is no reason to be anxious or aggressive.
Note that many dogs have very ingrained reactive behavior. The longer your pup has been exhibiting reactive barking, the longer it will take to change this behavior. It is important to practice at least 2-3 times a week to make a lasting improvement.
#3 Demand barking
Dachshunds might be tiny, but they sure feel quite full of themselves! This often results in demand barking when they do not get what they want. The biggest problem with demand barking is that owners usually give in eventually. This way the dog learns “If I bark long enough, I can have a treat/toy/game of fetch/walk/etc.”
Even if it is hard - you need to stay strong and not give into your dog’s demand barking. You can ask your Dachshund to do a different skill instead, such as sitting or lying in his place. Do not give him what he wants, especially if he gets worked up and jumps or nips as well. The only way to stop demand barking is to show your dog that it does not work.
#4 Excited barking
Dachshunds love to run and play. They often bark when they are excited and ready to have fun. This is the least concerning form of barking as it is very situation-specific and usually easily managed. Teach your Dachshund as a small puppy that playtime happens outside. This is especially important if you live in an apartment building or have close neighbors.
If your dog learns that wild games are only played outside, he will not “get crazy” inside and disturb your neighbors.
#5 Noise sensitivity
Many small dogs are noise sensitive and react to many sounds with incessant barking. They often run back and forth as they are doing so. Noise sensitivity is solved similarly to reactivity: By exposing the dog to the trigger (in this case sounds) many times with positive associations.
The dogs that develop the strongest noise sensitivity live in very quiet homes. If you don’t have children, don’t watch a lot of TV or listen to the radio your Dachshund is much more likely to become suspicious of the slightest sounds.
To help your dog conquer noise sensitivity, try to expose him to different background noises as often as possible. This can even be in the form of YouTube recordings of random sounds such as traffic and different vehicles, household gadgets, rain, chatter, clapping hands, music, etc.
You can feed treats to your dog as he is listening to them or give him a bone or chew toy so he associates the sounds with positive emotions.
#6 Barking out of boredom
Do not make the mistake to not provide sufficient mental and physical stimulation for your Dachshund. While they are cute and small, they once were bred to hunt small game such as badgers, rabbits and foxes. As such they have a high need for exercise and enrichment. If you do not offer your dog daily interaction and challenges, he will become noisy and bark out of boredom.
The only way to remedy this is to introduce more activities into your dog’s life. Dachshunds excel at dog sports such as agility or rally and enjoy learning new tricks, fetching balls or doing nosework. It does not matter so much what exactly you do with your dog as long as you do it frequently! That way you keep his body in great shape, his mind sharp and the boredom at bay.
The bottom line
When addressing excessive barking in Dachshunds you need to consider what the root of the behavior is. We cannot simply “stop barking” - we need to address the underlying cause of the barking. Depending on whether this is reactivity, noise sensitivity, boredom, excitement or being demanding, your dog will need specific training approaches.
Barking is often exacerbated by dogs being bored and not having enough mental and physical stimulation. As working dogs, Dachshunds need daily enrichment and exercise. If you are not yet providing this to your dog, add a bit of training time to your schedule. You will notice that he will be more focused, less noisy and better behaved right away.
Written by Anne Handschack