Dachshunds, the lovable German Badger dog, are affectionate, smart, and spunky. These sweet dogs are more popular than ever, and many people are seeking them out to join their family. However, before you run to your local breeder or shelter, you will need to evaluate your lifestyle because dachshunds are needy dogs, requiring a great deal of attention, but why is this?
Dachshunds are needy dogs because they have a strong pack instinct. They were originally bred as hunting dogs, and they tended to form particularly strong bonds with their master. Their role as badger hunters required intense focus, and they can apply that focus to you, especially if you don’t give them a job to do.
If you are interested in why dachshunds are so needy, craving their owner’s constant attention, and what an owner can do to lessen this potentially unwanted behavior in their puppy, read on.
Reasons Why Dachshunds Are Needy
Dachshunds are an incredibly loyal breed and will protect their owner at all costs. Despite their small stature, they are muscular and strong and will stand up to any threat to themselves or their beloved human (source).
The Pack Instinct
Due to their strong pack instinct, dachshunds develop an intense bond with their masters. As social dogs, they do not do well on their own outside, and they want to be in the house with their human (source).
As puppies, they may imprint on their owner, and you become their parent or mother, the one they trust implicitly. The technical term for this process is “filial imprinting,” where an animal of another species identifies itself with another species. Just like ducks waddling behind their mother, where you go, they will follow.
Because the dachshund bonds so strongly with their human, they may develop aggressive behaviors toward other humans and animals. This is especially true if approached by a stranger or anything they view as untrustworthy or a threat.
Dachshunds may also become jealous and possessive of their owner. If you are not paying enough attention to them, or what they feel is enough attention, they will begin to exhibit jealous tendencies. Your dog will stay protectively by your side and not allow anyone else near you.
Jealousy is a challenging behavior to break. If not broken early on, your lovable companion may become aggressive toward more than the mailman. They may even not allow your immediate family near you.
You do not want anyone to get bitten or hurt in any way, so teach them early on to trust other family members and friends, whether they are part of their pack or not.
Certain friends and other trusted dogs should not be a threat; behavior training and socialization are key to a well-rounded dachshund.
When stressed or afraid, your dachshund will become more dependent and needy. Dogs feel stress, much like humans do. Originating as highly active hunting dogs, they can become restless if you do no give them an outlet for their energy.
Stress triggers may include strangers, other animals, certain places, or anything they associate with unpleasant memories.
You may also notice your dachshund shying away from a neighbor. That neighbor might have mistreated them at some point. They can also be sensitive to loud noises such as thunder and fireworks, which can really set them on edge.
Some reactions to stressors include hiding, never leaving your side, shaking, barking constantly, or peeing in the house.
They Need Routine
When there is any kind of change, even as small as changing when they eat breakfast, it may unbalance your dachshund. Dogs need schedules, familiar routines, familiar surroundings, and order in their lives.
Some changes that may throw your dachshund down a spiral of clinginess include a change in routine that lasts for more than a couple of days, a new home, a new baby, a new puppy, and or change to playtime, just to name a few. Dogs are not very different from humans in this regard; change of any type is difficult.
Dachshunds and Separation Anxiety
Dachshunds, as a breed, are prone to separation anxiety whenever you are out of sight. For some dogs, it can be mild, but for others, it can become severe.
During an episode, your dachshund may tear around the house, chewing on anything they find, tearing up pillows and furniture, all in just a few minutes. Once home, your dachshund will not want to leave your side, not even to eat.
If you continue to come home to a mess, and your dog is exceptionally clingy, your dachshund most likely has separation anxiety. Consult your vet as there are medicines they can prescribe, and they can be an excellent resource to point you to a professional trainer for behavior modification therapy.
Do not wait to get help for this condition or it will affect the bond you have with your dog. Many owners, believing there to be no fix, leave their dog at a shelter, or worse, simply abandon them.
Exercise Helps Reduce Anxiety
An exhausted dachshund is a contented, relaxed dachshund, so give your dog plenty of exercise. Exercise releases their abundant energy, and your dog will mellow out as a result.
The best way to reduce their reliance on you is to give them something to do. Puzzle toys or hiding treats around the house will satisfy their hunting instinct.
Walking, taking different routes, especially on uneven surfaces, keeps their muscles strong and is more tiring. These activities can also be done solo, thereby decreasing their dependence on you (source).
Factors that Increase Clinginess
Some dachshunds have a happy, stress-free life, never worrying about very much. However, they are a breed that stresses easily, and they may quickly become too clingy. Below are a few factors that may increase your dachshund’s clingy tendencies.
If you have rescued and adopted your dachshund, they may be excessively needy. Knowing their history is helpful but not necessary.
While dachshunds are a willful, stubborn breed, they are very smart. With the right training methods, your dachshund will learn to trust and be less needy and clingy.
Like humans, as dachshunds age, they begin to lose muscle tone, their hearing, and their eyesight. This will make them naturally more heavily reliant on their human companion.
Not only will they be physically needy, but they will need even more love and reassurance from you. They are used to being able to discern their surroundings without help, and it’s troubling that they once protected you and can no longer take care of you or the rest of the pack.
Dachshunds, like any other dog breed, will cling to their master when sick. Look for signs of illness such as lethargy, anxiety, along with any other behavior that is out of the ordinary for your dog.
When your dachshund is sick with an infection, has a chronic condition such as arthritis, or is traumatized in any way, they feel vulnerable and want your protection and comfort while recuperating.
Dachshunds, when ill, become heavily reliant on their master and will want to be with you 24 hours a day seeking your comfort. However, keep in mind that dachshunds are superb actors and may feign symptoms to gain attention.
Females and Pregnancy
If your dachshund is female and has begun to exhibit extreme neediness, they could be pregnant. Your female will look to you as their source of protection and for relief from the stress she feels regarding pregnancy, especially when she is giving birth.
Remember, whether you meant for her to breed or not, your female dachshund needs you.
Bring her to your vet as soon as you suspect she is pregnant. By taking her to the vet early on, the healthier she will be, and you will be more secure in knowing what to do to alleviate her anxiety.
The vet will have valuable information and answer all your questions, allowing you and your dog to get through the pregnancy and birth with as little stress as possible.
What is Enough Attention
How much attention is necessary depends upon your dachshund’s personality and individual needs. Along with any physical needs, stress and behavior issues can happen at any age.
You may not want to believe that you are the reason your dachshund is so needy, but chances are it is true. This is not to say you did anything purposely to cause any issues. Many behaviors that you thought were so cute when they were wee puppies are not cute as an adult.
Puppies are naturally needy, but allowing certain behaviors when they are young leads to a needy adult dog. Neediness is often a learned behavior.
For instance, your dachshund manages to jump up on the couch, not an easy feat for their short legs, and rather than tell them to get down, you cuddle them. When you leave a room, and your dog follows, you pat them on the head — more affirmation.
Bringing them into bed with you is another habit that encourages clinginess. Playing with your dog whenever they bring you a toy, rather than letting your dog play alone, is again teaching them you are available all the time.
Every dog has different needs. However, if you train your dachshund from the time they are small puppies to have some independence and socialize them with other dogs and humans, they may not rely as heavily on you as their sole source of love and affection.
As a breed, dachshunds are predisposed to clinginess. As hunting dogs, they always had someone with them, whether their owner or their hunting mates. As hunters, they are innately strong-willed and like to do things their way. However, they are protective, intelligent, loving, and extremely affectionate.
Dachshunds do not like to be alone and quickly bond with their owner. Typically they do well in homes where someone is home much of the time, although this is not a requirement.
Dachshunds tend to be needy, but it does not have to become an issue. Proper training, regular vet visits, and socialization will go a long way for you to have a wonderful relationship with your puppy.