The First Year

Having a new addition is so exciting but can also come with a lot of frustration and uncertainty. Here are a few milestones I am commonly asked about during the first year.

Teething: You may notice around 14-16 weeks your pup seems reluctant to eat or chew toys. During this time they lose most of their puppy teeth. Now is a great time to offer cold carrots if you're not already and it may be helpful to soak their kibble for a bit. It is good to regularly check for loose teeth during this time. Sometimes you will notice the adult canine teeth have come in but the baby ones are still there. Generally after another week sometimes two of those baby canines will come out. However, it is not uncommon for dachshunds to retain these baby teeth and require a vet visit to remove them.

Teenagers: From about 6 months to a year you will notice your once obedient pup may start pushing boundaries, and even flat-out ignoring your requests. Be firm and consistent this is the age most dogs learn they can get away with things and build bad habits. Hang in there around a year hormones and attitude start to mellow out again. If only it was that short with human teenagers!

The Gangly Stage: This period is also from 6 months to a year. You may notice your pup now appears to be all legs and no matter how much they eat they still seem skinny. While they are generally their adult height by 6 months pups still have a lot of filling out to do. By a year you will see their chest fill out, hair get longer and thicker (if long hairs), as well as start putting on some weight finally. In short, start to look like Dachshunds instead of Jackrabbits.

Separation Anxiety: It is common for pups to feel anxiety about being alone after being raised in a pack setting here. Eventually, they will come to appreciate their time alone but as a young pup, it can be scary. The best way to help during the day is a distraction. A tv or radio show with people talking, a favorite chewy they only get during these alone periods, a toy or other form of stimulation. It is OK for your pup to cry as long as it has had its needs taken care of (food, water, potty, warmth/coolness). Usually, they will only cry or whine for a few minutes unless they have learned they can get a response out of you. If the pup continues to cry beyond 20 minutes without talking to or coddling them take them directly to their potty place (and then food/water if not in the crate area) then back to the crate. Only talk, play, or pet the pup once back in the crate to reinforce that this is a happy place. At the beginning of the training period if the pup is quiet for say ten minutes and not asleep by then, go ahead and take them out and praise/play with them. You only want to reward the behavior you desire however sometimes a pup doesn’t realize they were going to have free access to pottying or food when offered it and so don’t take advantage of the opportunity. This is why I suggest after 20 minutes if they are still crying re-attempt potty time. Believe me, it is going to be harder on you than the pup to learn alone time is ok.

Socialization: I have covered this topic on other pages in considerable depth however I can never stress enough the need for socialization. From 17 weeks to a year get your pup out of the house even if it’s just a walk around the block carry some treats with you so everyone you meet can give a treat. If you have mail or UPS delivery try and meet the delivery guy at the door and hand him a treat to feed your pup. On trash, day sit on the driveway with a handful of treats around the time the truck comes by. Have friends stop by if only long enough to give a treat and pat to your pup. If you have friends or family that have socially stable dogs, arrange playdates. On that note be careful you are only introducing your pup to dogs that are not aggressive or fearful both can detrimentally affect your pup. Never leave your pup unattended with another dog he/she does not yet completely understand proper social cues, and the adult dog can easily be a bit too harsh in their reprimand causing injury or permanent fear.

Patience/Consistency: One of the most difficult things to do as a puppy owner is to stay firm with your dog. They are so dang cute! You might just feel like letting things slide when it does something wrong. This is the absolute worst thing you can do because you are going to end up with a misbehaving dog that has no sense of what it can and can’t do. Be patient but consistent.

Another method I use is similar to the world-famous dog trainer Cesar Milan when your pup/dog is doing something they should not be you can “tssk” or my preferred that “uhhgh” sound moms make when their kids get caught misbehaving. My dogs ALL stop what they are doing and look at me when I make that sound to see who it is that is in trouble. It is usually followed by “mine”.

I like to use the term “mine” with my pups. If they are chewing my shoe I say mine and exchange my item with one of their toys. As they grow they learn this word can apply to the food on my plate they are giving me the puppy eyes about, or furniture they are not allowed on, even my chickens they are drooling at.

If you can opt for distraction rather than punishment then you will have a much more healthy relationship with your pup and avoid them becoming timid. However, it is very important to be the Alpha and not allow behavior that is cute as a puppy to become a dangerous habit.