The American Kennel Club (AKC) explains that the digging behavior of the dachshund quickly becomes clear when you know its translated name: badger dog. This hound was first bred in Germany during the 1600s. At the time a hunting dog, the animal was expected to dig up badger burrows and then fight the frequently ferocious mustelidae to the death. The hunting instinct is deeply ingrained in your pet dog’s DNA.
Expect Dug Up Lawns and Flowerbeds
As noted by the All American Dachshund Rescue, burrowing and digging are just a few things that your dog will do. If you take great pride in having a show-quality garden, this breed may not be the best choice for you. Of course, when you have already welcomed one of these delightful dogs into your home and heart, this admonition comes a bit too late.
What Types of Behaviors Go Along with the Digging?
It is not unusual for the dachshund to roll around in its own – or another animal’s – feces to cover up its scent. Potential prey animals will captivate the dog’s attention to the point of fixation. If there are small animals living in burrows under your lawn, the dachshund will find them, dig up their holes and most likely kill them.
Working with the Dachshund’s Hunting and Digging Instincts (not against them)
Just as you cannot make the dachshund stand taller, you cannot take the digging instinct out of the dog. Nevertheless, you have options.
- Obedience training. A well-trained pet that sits, stays and comes on demand can also be made to dig on command. Do not skimp on the training. It may cost a few dollars, but this investment is well worth it.
- Digging spot. Where would you like the dachshund to dig? Now that you know about its burrowing nature, it makes sense to set aside a spot in the yard where Waldi may dig to its heart’s content. If you cannot commit to a permanent spot in the yard, build a deep digging box for the dog. In the alternative, buy a standard sandbox and fill it with garden dirt, rocks and leaves.
- Positive reinforcement. Hide balls or dog toys in the digging spot. Command the dog to dig. If it finds a ball or toy, lavishly praise the animal and give it a treat. If it tries to dig elsewhere, briefly say “no” and redirect the dachshund to its digging spot.
- Pest control. No amount of obedience training and positive reinforcement will reign in the hunting instinct if you have pests in your garden. Either you find them and deal with them or the dog will.
- Exercise! The Humane Society of the United States points out that “a tired dog is a good dog.” If you exercise your dachshund by taking it on walks, teaching it to play fetch and playing with it, the drive to get out and get active in your garden lessens.
When All Else Fails
If you are working hard at training your dog to quit digging but nothing seems to work, make its target areas unsuitable by spreading chicken wire across these locations and keeping it in place with heavy rocks. Only leave the dog’s digging spot free. It will get the point. Positive reinforcement, treats and plenty of attention will do the rest.