It pays to consider breed characteristics when teaching tricks to your dog. Understanding a breed's strengths enables you to appeal to his instincts. Dachshunds are scent hounds; tricks that stimulate their natural instinct for tracking will really get them excited. Professor Stanley Coren, animal psychologist, ranks dachshunds of average intelligence -- smart enough to master most basic tricks.
Unfortunately dachshunds suffer from back problems, so it’s not advisable to teach them tricks that put pressure on the spine, such as roll over or beg. However, you can still teach some physical tricks, among them the fetch. He'll need to master the sit command first. With your dog in the sit, let your dog sniff a non-squeaky toy -- because this breed loves to hunt and the squeak may stimulate that instinct -- and then throw it. Say, "Fetch," and, if necessary, guide him along to where the toy is. Give him lots of fuss along the way to encourage him to collect the toy. Once he has it, squat down and put your hands out. Call him to you and give lots of praise when he brings you the toy.
Put a variety of objects on the floor. When your dog approaches one of them, say the same of that object. If he continues to approach the object, reward him with food or praise, whatever he likes best. Over time, he’ll learn to associate the sound of the word you’re saying with the object. Eventually, you’ll be able to command him to go to the object.
A type of hide-and-seek, this trick will appeal to your dachshund’s powerful scenting ability. Hide some of his known objects, preferably ones with a strong scent, around the house. Make your dog sit, then say the name of the object. You'll need to guide him to the right place the first few times. Once he finds the object, give him a reward. After a few successful runs, encourage him to pick up the object and return it to you by saying, “Fetch it,” as soon as he finds it. If he sniffs it, reward him. The trick is to encourage him step by step to eventually take the object to his mouth.
Like many hounds, dachshunds love to bark and bay, so teaching this trick is not only fun but it will help you to control his barking. Using your understanding of what stimulates him to bark -- for example the door bell or the sight of his leash -- encourage him to bark. Just before he barks, say, "Speak." Once he barks, reward him with food or praise, then say, "Thank you," and give another treat, provided he still isn't barking. With sufficient repetition, he'll learn that good things happen when he barks after hearing the "speak" command and that good things happen when he stops barking after hearing "thank you."
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.