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How To Raise A Dachshund

 

SOURCE OF INFORMATION
Believe it or not, there is a book entitled Dachshunds for Dummies which is actually a pretty good source of general information about our breed.

REMEMBER…If you have never groomed your dog, he may be afraid and you should proceed slowly.

Coat needs combing/brushing
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Ears/toes in need of a trim

GROOMING YOUR DACHSHUND
This article is directed at those of you who own pet longhairs.  Care of the coat is not difficult and surprisingly enough, shedding is not a big problem for longhaired dachshunds.  The trick is to brush and comb them frequently. That is especially important if the dog is spayed or neutered since the hormonal change promotes growth of "puppy fuzz". Don’t pull at mats or tangles since this will make the grooming a torture.

The tools you should have are a slicker brush (short wire bristles) and a flea comb with a handle.  The intent is to pull out the undercoat and fuzz.  The flea comb will do a lot of that since the teeth of the comb are so close together.  Obviously brushing and combing removes foreign matter from the coat and clears matting and tangles, all of which is important.  As important is the removal of excess hair which makes the dog more comfortable, looks a lot better, and keeps shedding to a minimum.  My dogs love to be brushed and combed and normally go to sleep while I'm grooming them.  I don't know why, but I've never had a dog that didn't enjoy having his hair pulled out.  Go figure.  A good brushing and combing should be done at least weekly, and it's a good experience for bonding between animal and human.

Bathing isn't all that critical if the brushing and combing is done regularly.  I'd say a bath every couple of months is sufficient.  If your guy gets really stinky or rolls in something obnoxious then you'll want to clean him up really fast!  One of my girls loves to roll on dead lizards.  Yuck.  Any inexpensive dog shampoo from the supermarket will do.  I towel dry and then use my own hair dryer, set on low, to finish it off.  I hold the dryer with one hand and brush with the other.  Excessive bathing can be just as harmful to skin and coat as too infrequent bathing.


toe hair and nails needing a trim
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NAIL, EARS AND TEETH

All of the discussions below involve using specific techniques. Ask your vet or groomer to show you how and develop a technique that works for you and your dog.

Cutting toenails is a different story.  I just hate it!! The secret to a more cooperative pet is touching and playing with their feet and ears frequently. When the task is at hand, be confident, firm, gentle and fast.  Dogs don't like it much either. Trimming the hair on top of their toes and around their pads makes it easier to cut the nails. The toenails should be short enough so they don't click on the floor when the dog walks.  It also depends on what surfaces the dog walks on.  If they're on pavement a lot that will help to keep the nails worn down, but grass won't do it.  You may have to trim them every 3 to 4 weeks.  There are 2 kinds of cutters available.  You should have something to stop bleeding such as KwikStop or white yeast bread will do.  The technique for trimming nails is something you are just going to have to work out with your dog. Start by trimming off just the tip of the nail. Watch for a black spot at the end as you trim. This is the quick (blood supply) and the part that bleeds if cut too short. Mother Nature will force it back as your dog wears the nail down.  When you're only cutting off the dead part of the nail, it eliminates pain and bleeding. 


Then there are the ears.  Some dogs have a lot of ear wax, some have none.  Get a good ear cleaner from your vet, check on-line or make your own (email us for the recipe).  Fill the ear canals with cleaning solution and massage externally to loosen up the gunk.  Use cotton balls to clean the inside of the ear flap and cotton swabs to go down into the canal and clean that out.  Keeping the ears clean decreases a source of doggy odor and the chance of ear infections. Just keep checking your dog's ears to determine how often they need cleaning.

Teeth.  I know someone who brushes all her dogs' teeth every single day!!  Then there are those who don't brush at all.  I would guess there's a happy medium in there somewhere.  Dental care is important for several reasons, not least of which is that it can eliminate very expensive dental treatments by your vet when the dog gets older.  Good dental hygiene also decreases bad breath odor and harmful bacteria which can affect many other areas of your dog's health, such as heart disease.  Canine dental kits are available in pet stores.


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RAISING YOUR FOUR-LEGGED CHILD

If you have raised a child, you can handle a puppy. Their growth and development is much more rapid (thank god), but they go through the similar stages.
RULES OF PUPPYHOOD
If something is within their reach, it must be there to play with.
A puppy can not distinguish between an old item (an old shoe) and the new one you got for xmas!
Chewing is their favorite pastime.
Anything they chew, they will usually try to swallow.
Potty training takes practice.

All this boils down to the subject of a “CRATE”. I know, it sounds like a cruel and abusive solution to a problem but think of it this way….You have an infant who has started crawling. It is time to fix dinner and you can’t fix a meal and watch the baby. Easy, the baby goes into a device that will keep them SAFE. A dog feels safe in his crate if he has been taught that. It is his “room” and if he feels that it is a positive place, he is happy there. He may even go there for rest periods on his own. He should have comfort things in the crate and not be left unattended.
My girls know that they are crated when I go to work and run into the crates in the morning when I leave. They are the focus of my attention when home but I will often find them in their crates napping or chewing a bone.
A crate can be your helpful solution to a terrible headache if used with thought and understanding.
Don’t forget, that puppy will grow to an adult with the lessons he has learned. Love and guidance, positive feedback and discipline (no hitting), along with an obedience class, will reap boundless rewards

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WHAT DO I FEED MY DACHSHUND?

There are as many opinions about the best food for your dog as there are dog owners.  Some people make their own food using any number of recipes Most of us  feed prepared food which we purchase.  The only real rule here is that whatever works for you and your dogs is just fine.  You should be expecting good healthy skin (no hotspots, flaking or itching), glossy long coat, good energy level, solid compact stools, good breath, and general good health.

Over the years I have tried a number of what I call “designer” foods  Often these foods are very expensive and difficult to find retail.  My experience is that none of these products offered any distinct benefits to the dogs.  JUST MY OPINION!!!!!  I now feed Purina ONE which is readily available at a reasonable price.  Depending on the dog I feed one half cup up to one full cup to each dog twice a day.  I think feeding twice daily is better for the dog than once.

If your dog has special needs, such as an allergic condition, or other health problems then of course you should consult your vet regarding diet and food additives which may be necessary.

If you do decide to change foods do it gradually.  Start by mixing a little of the new with mostly the old, and change the proportions slowly increasing the amount of the new so your dog’s system adjusts to the new food, finally eliminating the old.  Allow at least three months, six is better, for any differences in your dog due to the food change to show up.

DO NOT ALLOW YOUR DACHSHUND TO GET FAT!!!!!!!!

Overweight dogs suffer from all the same problems as overweight people which you’re familiar with – arthritis, joint strain, diabetes, restricted activity, circulatory and heart problems, you name it.  But there is an additional consideration with long backed dogs.  A dachshund’s bone structure is similar to a suspension bridge with the rib cage and keel supporting the back.  The more weight you hang from the spine the more likely it is to suffer strain and damage.  If you’ve ever had a back ache you know how debilitating it is, and surely you wouldn’t do that to your dog.

I have found that I can control my dogs’ weight very precisely by varying the amount of food slightly.  My dogs get NO treats or human food – NONE!!!  Cruelty to animals I know, but if everyone is sneaking them extra food I can’t control their weight.  What they do get when they come in is an ice cube, which they love.  They go right to the refrigerator and wait for ice.  It’s cute and harmless.  Hard to resist those beautiful pleading eyes I know, but be strong.

Most dachshunds are real chow hounds so no problem getting them to eat!!  If you have questions regarding your dog’s diet just ask us, and we’ll answer you to the best of our ability.

TRAINING TIP – BE CONSISTENT!!                     

Most of the time your dachshund wants to please you, so it’s up to you to make it clear to the dog what it is you want from him.  For this to happen you must do the same thing the same way, time after time, to get your dog conditioned to behave the way you want him to.  For instance, when my dogs do something I don’t like I make a nasty noise from the back of my throat, and they all recognize that as a negative comment from me.  But if someone else says “No” to them, they don’t know what that means any more than they understand the words “Bad Dog”.  Everyone has to use the same words to mean the same thing.  The dogs do not understand English.  The tone of voice you use in delivering the words or sounds is also very meaningful.  But I did have one bitch years ago (my very first dachshund)  that I think was smarter than I am.  She had a vocabulary of about thirty words.

Obviously you’re going to feed them at the same times every day (you are going to do that aren’t you?) and put them out at the same times every day.  That just makes sense for a schedule which fits into your routine as well as theirs, and they become accustomed to that timetable.  If you vary a schedule once established all it does is confuse them and could possibly lead to bathroom accidents.

Set the boundaries for your dogs and then you and EVERYONE ELSE in your household stick to them.  If your dogs are allowed to jump on the living room furniture that’s great, but don’t let one old fuddy duddy in the house try to keep them off the sofa when everyone else encourages them to jump up.  Such inconsistent behavior just makes for an unhappy dog and unhappy people.  The same rule applies for giving them snacks and treats.  And fair warning to you – if you start giving your dog bits of food while you are eating you will create a dog that begs unmercifully every time anyone takes a mouthful of food which is really annoying.

The dogs are very clever.  I realized at one point that I was unconsciously using the same words in the ring every time it was time for the dog to walk, and they learned that as a command.  Same thing with hand signals.  For some reason I unconsciously use hand motions when I give them commands around the house, and now they react to the hand signals alone without words.  Clever little buggers.

So all I’m saying is that for happy dogs and happy people, recognize that your dog learns by repeating the same thing – Pavlovian conditioning.  In order for that to happen all folks around the dog must use the same language and have the same expectations and use the same training techniques.   Look at obedience training as a prime example – your dog learns by practicing the same behavior over and over and over again in response to the same commands.  The same principle holds true for all aspects of doggy behavior you attempt to control.  It’s not at all like small children who learn quickly that mommy and daddy have different expectations and different tolerance levels and therefore that they can get away with different things with each of them.  So do yourself and your dog a huge favor and BE CONSISTENT!!

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