Between choosing the perfect name, stocking up on toys and treats, and puppy-proofing your house, it’s easy to get so caught up in the prep of bringing home your dachshund pup that you don’t actually think about what happens once they’re officially part of your family. Potty training and teaching your pup that no they may not chew on electrical cords is far less fun to think about, after all. But in the spirit of covering both the good and the messy, Witzig’s Christina Boland shares reflections below on the first month with her new dachshund pup, Monster — a longhaired tweenie.
What’s something you wish you would have known before you brought Monster home?
Dachshunds can be a bit worse than other breeds in terms of biting and chewing as puppies. When we first got Monster and we couldn’t easily get him to stop, it was stressful! Friends with other breeds of puppies said that they hadn’t had that issue, and so I felt like it was just a problem with Monster. I think we would have been a lot calmer if we had known that it was a common behavior for dachshund puppies. It’s not at all aggressive — it’s just been one of his ways of communicating. He hasn’t grown out of it yet, but it’s getting better as we’ve learned how to react. We startle him by yelping when he bites, which helps him understand that it hurt.That response is fairly classic advice, but I didn’t know that beforehand.
How did housebreaking Monster go?
Dachshunds are notoriously tough to potty train. I think we had slightly unrealistic expectations for how fast we could train Monster, because for some dachshunds, it can take up to a year (or more) to be fully potty trained. When it comes down to it, a lot of patience is required.
We were feeling pretty helpless for a bit and after doing more research on potty training, we decided to try putting a bell by the back door for him to ring. It’s not to say that he never has accidents now, but it seems like it’s given him a way to communicate with us and let us know more clearly what he needs. I think dachshunds are really smart dogs, and we’ve had a lot fewer accidents since we started using the bell.
How does Monster feel about meeting other dogs?
We’ve introduced him to a few vaccinated dogs whose owners we know in our backyard, and it was really exciting for him to meet our neighbors’ dogs who are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. He’s met other bigger dogs, but it’s clear that he’s so much more comfortable playing with dogs his own size — I think he understands how to play with them in a different way.
Are there any products that have been a particular help or hit with Monster?
Teething toys have been a godsend. He’s so interested in chewing on things all the time that I think his gums get pretty sore. The ones that have been the most successful look like a pacifier teething set. They look a bit ridiculous to me and I didn’t think he was going to be all that interested in them, but he’s obsessed. Having a teething toy that can be put in the freezer and provide some soothing and relief for their gums and teeth has been a game-changer.
As he grows, is there anything you miss about his early puppy days?
I really miss his puppy breath. I hadn’t had a puppy before and so while I theoretically understood that puppy breath was a thing, it wasn’t until we brought home Monster that I understood how intoxicating it was. I wanted to be near his face all the time. I’m sad that that’s gone forever.
Do you have any parting advice for expecting puppy parents?
Remember the importance of patience. Training dachshunds takes a really long time, and I’ve certainly found myself frustrated at times. I’ve been really grateful to have my fiancé’s help, too, because we’re able to take turns when one of us is running out of patience. In the first few weeks, when Monster had more accidents inside the house, we had to remind ourselves that he was just a baby and he didn’t know any better yet. We tried to shift our perspective and be aware that there would be things about his puppy days that we’d miss too. At the end of the day, even though it was a lot of work, he’s just so darn cute.