If you have children in your home (or your life involves frequently being around them), and you’re interested in adopting a wiener dog, you may be wondering “Are Dachshunds good with kids and babies?”
Like any breed of dog, Dachshunds have the potential to love or dislike kids.
Whether a Doxie is good with them generally comes down to chance (nature). Some dogs adore kids, some dogs want nothing to do with them.
However, if a Dachshund is introduced to a kid or baby can also influence how they react (nurture).
A few positive interactions may be all that is needed for a Dachshund to become good friends with a child.
In this article we’ll lay out the truth, and discuss how you can properly introduce your Dachshund to children.
Is a Dachshund Well Suited for a Home With Kids or Babies?
Some dogs – no matter the breed – absolutely love kids. Others simply prefer to keep their distance. The same is true for Dachshunds.
I know of many Dachshunds who are excellent family dogs.
Many Dachshunds do well in homes with children, but there are important factors to keep in mind.
However, there are typically some crucial elements involved.
- The Dachshund and child were introduced when at least one of them was at a young age
- All children in the household are taught how to properly interact with dogs
Let me explain…
Dogs exposed to children as a puppy, or when a dog is older but the child is a baby, are more likely to be friendly with them. I think it’s because they have an opportunity to grow together.
Introductions may also be easier because some Dachshunds are naturally more curious about babies than they are about older children.
Babies are more stationary, and try to interact with the dog less, than older children so they are less scary to a dog. Once the child is a toddler and more interactive, the dog is already used to them and usually more tolerant.
If you get your Dachshund as a puppy, they are new to the world. Unless the household they were born into had children, encountering your child or baby is their first experience. They haven’t developed any biases.
If you have a child that is mobile on their own (meaning not a baby that can’t crawl yet), it’s important to teach them how to properly treat and respect animals.
One of the big success factors is making sure kids know how to properly handle and interact with a pet.
How to Respect Dogs – What Kids Need to Know
If your Dachshund is around a child or baby who doesn’t understand how to properly interact with small dogs, your pup can quickly become agitated if they feel teased with a toy or object.
Any dog that becomes frustrated or irritated may exhibit aggressive or fearful behaviors.
Things a kid should learn include:
- Do not run around a dog: This is especially true around dogs that were bred to hunt small game like Dachshunds. The fast and erratic movement of children can trigger their prey drive and result in chasing, nipping, and/or a child being pushed over.
- Pet dogs gently: Being rough when petting a dog, rubbing them in the opposite direction that the fur grows, can be very uncomfortable and irritating.
- Dogs are not pull toys: Pulling a dog’s tail or ears can hurt and a Dachshund in pain is likely to lash out.
- What it looks like when a dog wants to be left alone: Continuing the offensive behavior despite your Dachshund showing warning signs like growling, bearing its teeth, or trying to escape can force a dog into “fight” mode (because they feel like they can’t “flight” or get away). Dog bites often occur when a child cannot read the body language of a dog, and they continue to demonstrate actions that the dog doesn’t appreciate.
Children may be more capable of learning what is proper behavior than you think.
Some people think that small children aren’t able to learn these things but you may be surprised what they pick up if you try to teach them.
If the kid or baby is too young to grasp the concepts, the best thing to do is make sure the dog and child are always supervised when together.
One other thing to note:
If your kid is old enough to try and pick your Dachshund up, make sure they know how to do so properly. It’s essential that they support the dog’s back and rear end when they lift them.
If a child were to pick up your dog wrong or accidentally drop them, your Dachshund’s back or neck could be seriously injured.
Since children don’t have a large arm span, or sometimes enough dexterity, to lift a Dachshund properly, it’s safest to teach your child to sit down and bring the dog onto their lap if they want to hold them.
If the right precautions are taken, most Dachshunds will learn to at least tolerate kids and babies in a household.
Some will become best friends but it’s important to ensure that introductions are slow, interactions are positive, and your Dachshund is allowed to go at their own pace (ie. give your dog a break from the child if they need it).
Tips for Introducing Your Dachshund to Kids
Follow these tips to introduce your Dachshund to small children that don’t live in the home.
Meeting strangers in public
If you are in a situation where a child is interested in meeting your Dachshund in public (and you believe your pup will be comfortable with the introduction), here are some tips for introducing them to one another.
- Communicate with the child and parents so you are setting expectations. It’s important to communicate if your Dachshund requires slow greetings, or if your pup is new to the concept of children, so you’re working together on proper introductions. Most people will appreciate you letting them know!
- Crouch or sit down to get on your Dachshund’s level, so they feel more confident about meeting the small human.
- If you have treats handy, positive reinforcement will definitely help. You can reward your dog for behaving and acting calming during the encounter. If you generously dole out the goodies when children are present, they will begin to make a positive association.
- Ask the child (and their parent) to move slowly and quietly. Any dog can easily be startled by an excited, tiny force of energy moving toward them.
- Allow your Dachshund to sniff the child’s hand and take their time. A Dachshund will be more accepting if they don’t feel like this small person is being forced on them.
- If your Dachshund begins baring their teeth or growling, don’t force the introduction. Your dog is clearly not comfortable, and that’s okay! It’s never a good idea to put your dog in a situation where they are stressed out or anxious. This is when dog bites take place, and that’s what you’re trying to avoid.
Introducing a Dachshund to kids in the home
Now let’s say you’re at home and you need to introduce your new Dachshund to your kids or little guests.
Many of the same techniques apply when introducing a dog to kids in the home. It’s a little different though because it’s likely not going to be a one-time interaction.
Follow these suggestions to ensure a seamless intro:
- Assuming your child is old enough to understand direction, outline the introduction expectations up front. Explain that your new Dachshund may be fearful or nervous at first and there’s nothing wrong with that! It’s crucial to avoid putting your new pup into a chaotic situation that they are not familiar with if they express severe anxiety.
- Ask your child(ren) to sit down on the floor in order to be on your dog’s level. Allow your Dachshund to sniff and move on their terms without the kids grabbing at them.
- If your Dachshund is acting brave and sniffing the new small humans with positive body language, it’s a good idea to treat your pup! Show your Dachshund that your child is not a threat, but indeed a source of happiness.
- It’s best to give your Dachshund the opportunity to back out of the initial meet and greet if they choose. Forcing your canine companion to interact with any child when they are uncomfortable will be extremely detrimental to future progress.
- Dachshunds, like all dogs, should be crate trained. A crate offers a safe space to retreat to if they need it, which is essential for new home and human introductions. If your Dachshund starts to act fearful or frustrated, you can put them in this “safe” place and let your children know the dog is not to be bothered while there.
- Never leave your Dachshund unsupervised with a baby or small child, especially if they are not already acquainted.
Final Thoughts on Mixing Dachshunds with Kids or Babies
To recap what we’ve discussed:
These are the key takeaways.
- Dachshunds are capable of being good with kids and children
- It’s more likely that your Dachshund will happily intermingle with kids and babies if they are introduced as a puppy.
- Every dog is different, but if your Dachshund puppy is regular exposed to young children, the likelihood that they will love kids is much higher.
- Adult Dachshunds who are stuck in their ways aren’t always open to happily living with children. Sometimes, the best you can hope for is peaceful coexisting without much interaction.
- Unfortunately, some Dachshunds will never learn to love children but that’s a risk you take with any dog.
Understanding how to properly introduce your Dachshund to children, teaching kids how to handle dogs and act around them, and understanding a dog’s warning body language, will help keep both your Dachshund and children safe and happy.
About the Author: Through her 17 years of owning and caring for Dachshunds, and almost 10 years researching and writing about them, JW has become a respected expert in the Dachshund community. Read more about her here.