New owners of Dachshunds often ask about how to get them house-trained and the Miniatures, in particular, have something of a reputation for being difficult to house-train. In practice, this is often down to how the owner has gone about the process rather than the breed being difficult.
We’ve shared a couple of other tips on how to house-train a Dachshund but here are a few more suggestions for how to deal with some of the common challenges.
Puppies will often return to the same place to go to the toilet
This is probably because the puppy can smell the remains of urine from where it went previously, despite how well you think you may have cleaned it up. You need to clean up any mistakes really thoroughly and, preferably, use an enzyme-based cleaner such as Petzyme or Simple Solution. Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, so using an ordinary carpet, fabric or floor cleaner will probably not be much good.
Puppies need to go to the toilet frequently
A useful rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold its bladder for about 1 hour per month of age so you need to be looking for the signs he wants to go based on that rough estimate. It means keeping track of when your puppy last went to the toilet. It also means that if you are going to be out of the house (e.g. if you go to work) when you first have a young puppy, don’t be surprised if the puppy makes a “mistake”. Either you need to be there with a young puppy or you need to have a dog-sitter or friend/neighbour who can let the puppy out to go to the toilet. Crate (cage) training can also help but puppies are still limited to how long they can “hang on”.
Puppies may prefer to go to the toilet indoors
You obviously want to train your puppy to go to the toilet outdoors so putting puppy pads down indoors simply reinforces the idea that going to the toilet in the house is what you want your puppy to do. If your puppy seems to want to play rather than go to the toilet outdoors, you might want to take him back inside and play indoors for a while; then go back outside to try toileting again. You need to watch your puppy’s body language to spot the signs he wants to go to the toilet; circling and sniffing the floor are often early warnings. In the first few weeks of training your puppy, you will need to spend more time with him outside so he gets into the habit of going there. Once your puppy is into the habit of going outside, you may find that he goes to the door and “asks” to go out by scratching it or barking. Sometimes, they just sit at the door, waiting for you to let them out. You have to spot this, otherwise he may well not be able to hang on and will “go” just inside the door.
Older dogs urinating inside the house
Once you have got your puppy house-trained there is always the possibility that he will “go” inside for other reasons. Dogs may simply want to mark their territory and this may be triggered by a change of some sort. For example, if you have just got a new carpet or new furniture, the house will smell different and your dog may feel the need to reassert its ownership of things. This can apply to dogs and bitches. Other triggers for a sudden change in house-training behaviour could include the arrival of a new baby or another animal, or simply a change of routine such as different working hours. Assuming there is a one-off reason, don’t make a big thing of it by punishing your dog. Clean up the mess, look out for warning signs he might be about to do it again and make sure he gets plenty of praise next time he goes outside.
If there is no obvious reason that has perhaps stressed your dog into unwanted toileting behaviour, it may be sensible to consult your vet to see if there might be an underlying health problem. Issues such as bladder stones, urinary tract infections and kidney disease could be at the root of the problem.
Please read our other Tips for New Owners.