How much exercise does a Dachshund need

Dachshund exercise

The Dachshund takes its name from the German word for badger (Dachs) and the German word for dog (Hund). Therefore Dachshunds are Badger dogs and were originally bred for badger hunting. As a result, they have a high prey instinct, are relatively high energy and highly intelligent yet a little independent.

Dachshunds come in a variety of sizes, hair types, and coat colors. See Different types of Dachshund (with pictures) to learn more. The main difference to take into consideration in regards to exercise is between Miniature Dachshunds and Standard Dachshunds. The Miniature Dachshund is likely to tire quicker and require a little less exercise than the Standard Dachshund.

Over exercised Dachshund  symptoms

Is it possible to over-exercise your Dachshund? Over-exercising any dog can have severe consequences such as muscle, tendon and joint injury, overheating and heatstroke and even collapse. It is important for a dog owner to know the signs to watch for to prevent over exercising their dog. Read “Over exercised dog symptoms” to learn more about potential problems and solutions.

Dachshund Exercise Requirements

Being a vermin hunting dog the Doxie is relatively high energy. As a result, they require a least an hour a day of exercise and activity to keep them healthy and to prevent boredom which can lead to behavior issues.

The three main ways to exercise a Dachshund are:

  • Daily Walk
  • Purposeful and High-Intensity Activity
  • Mental stimulation and enrichment

We will look at each of these three categories in turn. These recommendations relate to a healthy adult dog. The exercise needs for a puppy are different due to the fact that they are still growing and developing. See the bottom of this article for details of how to exercise a puppy.

For older senior dogs from around 7 to 8 years of age on the volume of exercise needed will decrease even though Dachshunds tend to stay active their whole lives. It is still crucial to provide sufficient exercise to maintain a healthy weight and to keep muscles and tendons supple and strong. This is particularly important given that they are prone to back issues and  Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).

See the bottom of this article for more on the exercise needs of an older Dachshund.

How far should you walk a Dachshund every day

Dachshund Walking

The daily walk is essential for all high energy breeds like the Dachshund. This is not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your dog to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds and smells they come across.

Ideally, the minimum should be 25 to 45 minutes daily. This can be just once a day, or two walks a day would be better if your schedule allows. A gentle walk around the block simply will not be sufficient.

If your Dachshund has good recall and comes on command, walks at the park off the leash are ideal. However, most Dachshunds are difficult to trust off leash. Being a hunting hound, the moment they get the scent of something worth chasing they are off. Alternatively, you can use a retractable leash to allow them more freedom while maintaining control.

Is running bad for Dachshunds

Dachshunds don’t make ideal jogging or running partners. They are built more for short explosive bursts and don’t have the stamina for long-distance running. With their short legs, they can become fatigued quickly.

In addition, running is a high impact exercise and can put a lot of strain on their joints and back resulting in injury.

Purposeful and High-Intensity Activity for Dachshunds

In addition to the daily work, you should provide your Dachshund with other activities that can burn pent up energy and prevent boredom. Boredom is one of the leading causes of behavior problems in dogs and a bored Dachshund can keep into a fair amount of trouble.

The best type of activity and exercise for a Dachshund are activities that cater to their natural instincts. Dachshunds have a high prey drive, have explosive athleticism and are intelligent.

These are some of the recommended activities and exercise ideas to play with your Dachshund. These activities aren’t just about burning pent-up energy. They are also a way to provide enrichment by giving your hunting dog jobs to do.

Play with toys

The best type of toys for Dachshunds need to cater to some or all of their natural traits and instinct. They need to be tough and robust, and to also stimulate their highly intelligent minds. In addition, they need to cater to their natural high prey drive and their digging instinct.

Digging

Dachshunds can be real diggers being an earth dog. This can lead to destructive problems if they decide to dig up your favorite plants or carpets and furniture. By using toys that stimulate this digging instinct and direct it in a constructive way can help to solve this type of behavior problem.

iDigg

The latest toy for dogs that dig is the iDig from the people that have brought you the iFetch automatic ball launcher. See Automatic ball launchers for dogs to learn more.

This is the first dog toy that has been specially designed to cater to your dog’s natural digging instinct. Ideal for Dachshunds. You simply hide their favorite toy or treats in the flaps and let them dig away to uncover the hidden treasure. Not only will the action of digging help burn off pent-up energy, but the mental challenge of working out how to get to the goodies will help to tire them also.

There are two types of iDigg available. The soft shell that is ideal for packaging up to make it easy to take with you when you travel and the hard shell.

Check out the video to see how this works or view the iDig Go on Amazon

Snuffle Rug

A Snuffe Rug is another great way to provide for your Dachshunds natural digging instinct and to provide mental stimulation and relieve boredom. A Snuffe mat is a mat that is made of fleece and you can hide dry food or treats into it.

If you are someone that is good at crafts you can try to make one yourself or check out the range of Snuffle Mats at Amazon.

Flirt Pole

A Flirt pole is like a giant cat tickler for dogs. It has a long handle with a bungy type rope with a lure or toy attached to the end. You simply move the lure along the ground around in circles or in different directions as your dog chases it. It works directly with their natural prey instinct. Be sure they have a good leave it command and don’t allow them to destroy the toy. This game is excellent for burning up that pent-up energy in a short amount of time.

View the range of flirt poles on Amazon.

Kong Wobbler

The Kong Wobbler holds a good volume of dog kibble or treats to occupy your dog for a reasonable amount of time. Because of its unique shape your dog can bat it with their paws or nose sending it off in all directions dispensing food. It is also ideal for dogs that gobble down their food too fast or are on a diet as it makes them work for their food.

View the Kong Wobbler on Amazon.

Swimming

Swimming is a great exercise for all dogs as it burns energy and uses all the muscles groups, in particular, the front legs and shoulders. It is also a low impact activity so doesn’t put a strain on the back or joints and tendons. It is a good exercise for dogs recovering from injury. See “What is Canine Hydrotherapy” to learn more.

People often think that Dachshunds can’t or don’t like to swim. Many Dachshunds absolutely love water and are great swimmers. See Can and do Dachshunds swim to learn more.

However, it is crucial that you supervise them the entire time they are in the water. Because of their short legs, they can tire quickly. When they become fatigued and exhausted they can easily sink and possibly even drown. Swimming is a very strenuous exercise and as little as ten minutes of continuous swimming is equivalent of going for a one hour walk.

This is why it is extremely important that your Dachshund always wears a dog lifejacket when in the water. If they become exhausted at least they can still float. You should remove them from the water as soon as they show signs of becoming fatigued and allow them to rest before them letting back in.

Fetch

Playing Fetch with your dog is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Hunting breed dogs like the Dachshund are generally ball or toy crazy can play this for hundreds of throws. These types of want to play fetch for far more throws than you are willing or able to do.

A great alternative is to use an Automatic Ball Launcher so your dog can play Fetch by themselves. As the Dachshund is highly trainable as long as you focus their attention they learn to use this quickly. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs

Mental stimulation and enrichment for Dachshunds.

All dogs need an outlet for their minds. This is especially true for these highly intelligent breeds like the Dachshund. If they are not provided the opportunity to challenge their minds they will come up with their own ways to achieve this.

This usually manifests itself in bad behavior such as excessive barking, digging, escaping, and other destructive behaviors.  To learn about the 6 types or categories of mind stimulation and mental enrichment and some great ideas to provide this see here.

Mental exercise for a dog can tire them just as much as physical activity and exercise. To try to tire a Dachshund using purely physical activity can be difficult. The more you can challenge their brains the better.

Some ways to provide mental stimulation and enrichment include;

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are ideal for dogs like highly intelligent hunting breeds to challenge their minds and test their problem-solving skills. Due to their high intelligence, try to find puzzle toys that are a bit more challenging as they tend to work these out quite quickly. Check out “Top puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.

In addition to puzzle toys, Kongs for dogs are another great way to get your dog to solve a problem and challenge the mind. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.

Scenting and nose games

A great way to challenge a dogs mind is to stimulate their nose. Being a Hound dog, the Dachshund nose can rule the brain. Try playing scenting and nose games to help provide mental stimulation. Read “12 Scenting and nose games for dogs” for some ideas.

Chew Toys

Provide your dog with good strong chew toys. Chewing is a great way to occupy them. In addition, chewing releases endorphins and helps to relax a dog. Many dogs hold stress in the jaw.

For more on the benefits of chewing and the best chew toys click here.

Learning

Teaching new commands and tricks is also excellent to provide mental enrichment. A popular game that involves learning is to teach them the names of their toys. Dogs can learn hundreds of words and names.

Food enrichment

Turn mealtimes into an opportunity for your Dachshund to get a mental challenge and enrichment. Instead of feeding them from a bowl, give them activities that require them to work for their food. To learn more about feeding enrichment for dogs see here.

Enrich their environment

Environmental enrichment is the process of making a dog’s living space more engaging and interesting. To learn more about environmental enrichment for dogs see here.

How much exercise does a Dachshund puppy need?

The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult dog. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing.

Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. An activity that is high impact on the joints and back should also be avoided.

The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys.

Socializing with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.

As your puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash. Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.

The general rule of thumb for walking a puppy is around 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor your puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.

Mental stimulation is important for puppies and can tire them just as much as physical activity. For more on mental stimulation for puppies see here.

For more on exercise for your Dachshund puppy read “How to exercise your puppy

How much exercise does an older Dachshund need

As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. Read ” Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.

With the older Dachshund, it is also important to watch for any potential back problems. See Signs of Back Problems in Dachshunds to learn more.

Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.

Summary

The best type of activity and exercise for a Dachshund are activities that cater to their natural instincts. Dachshunds have a high prey drive, have explosive athleticism and are intelligent.

Their daily exercise should include a walk of at least 20 to 30 minutes plus other purposeful activity to help burn pent up energy and prevent boredom.  They are also intelligent so providing mental enrichment and challenges is also required.

Let us know in the comments how much exercise your Dachshund get daily and some of the activities you do.

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