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DO DACHSHUND HAVE HIGH PREY DRIVE
by William Atherton
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Whilst dogs have been bred away from being predators like their wolf ancestors, most of them still retain the instinctive ability and want to hunt – due to breeding, the prey drive manifests in many different ways in different dog breeds. Prey drive includes a few different behaviours including searching, stalking, chasing, biting to grab or biting to kill. Obviously not all dogs have such a strong prey drive, but it’s good to be aware of the specific behaviours as all dogs are individuals and temperaments can vary.
Dachshunds are known to have a powerful prey drive due to having historically been bred to hunt. It is deeply embedded in their instincts to hunt. You should always take great care when you let your Dachshund off the lead when on walks.
These impressive little, long-bodied dogs need to be well stimulated both physically and mentally in order for them to be well-balanced dogs and to prevent them from developing destructive or unwanted behaviours. Dachshunds can be a tricky dog to train due to them being prone to wanting to do their own thing and being easily distracted. They need an experienced Dachshund owner that is able to put in the time and effort this pup needs in order to be well-trained and well-balanced. The training of these dogs can cause them to be very high maintenance as it does take a lot of patience. They need to see you as the calm and consistent leader that you are in the home and outside – they can become very easily bored so you need to keep them engaged with various activities.
Even when a Dachshund is well-trained, the extremely strong prey drive in them is complete instinct and so can become a real issue if you decide to take your dog to areas that are not secure where there will be smaller animals guaranteed to be around. It’s hard to trust that your dog won’t run away or take off if they spot or catch the scent of anything, they believe to be worth chasing even if at a long distance.
Dachshunds are very playful dogs and greatly enjoy the company of people. Being the centre of attention is one of this breed’s specialities and they are quickly able to find the best ways to entertain and please their owners. However, there is a major difference between a playful dog and a dog that is pushing the boundaries – this should be corrected as soon as it is noticed otherwise it will develop and the dog will keep pushing the boundaries to see how far they can go.
They are generally very good with other dogs, but, as with all dogs, they must be socialised from a very young age with other dogs, people and situations. Even with an owner who is very familiar with the breed, you should never assume that your Dachshund can be trusted 100% because of their prey drive being so strong.
It’s important to understand the difference between prey drive and aggression as they can very easily look like they are one in the same. A dog’s aggression is driven by very strong emotions like fear whereas their prey drive is instinctive. Aggressive dogs will want to increase the distance between themselves and the object of their aggression, but a dog’s prey drive will draw them closer to the target. So why does this really matter? Well – as a dog’s prey drive is not driven by emotions, it is most often easier to manage than emotion-based aggression.
An extremely strong prey drive can be particularly problematic if you dog wants to chase absolutely anything that it sees – going for walks could become a nightmare for you as an owner. So, they need to be properly trained and corrected in order to prevent your dog from ignoring your every call. Most of a dog’s prey drive behaviours are harmless, but can cause problems for you as an owner, being unable to go for a walk with your canine companion and to be constantly worrying that they are going to take off.
It’s super important to look into the specifics of a dog breed before bringing them into your home to make sure that you and your pup will be a good match. Plus, it’s good to be aware of the different behaviours that your breed of interest may show more than another breed would.
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