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Discussion Starter #1
She's had them for 7 and 8 years... I've been around them for 2. They were never trained... at all. Since I've been around them I've at least taught them to come so they could go off-leash in the back yard... (yes, she would use a leash to take them to the bathroom in the backyard)

But other than that they're just thicker than rocks... They get into the trash, they jump on the couch, potty in the hallways/bedrooms, bark at everything in sight... Doesn't matter what I do I can't break there behavior.

I thought it was normal dog behavior until we got a 3rd dog from the pound which has been a joy to train and house break. She heels, sits, doesn't beg, doesn't get on the couch. Basically my new dog does what she's told with a little training.... But the dachshunds are a nightmare... :( and the kicker is, they know good and well when they do something wrong because they run and hide if they get caught.

Is this normal behavior for dachshunds? Or is because they're older....
 

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No, it's not normal behaviour for any dog. The dogs aren't stupid... they've just been allowed to get away with these things for a good number of years. Getting into the trash, jumping on couches, pottying everywhere and barking are just signs of being untrained; and these behaviours are more firmly rooted in their minds because of how long they've been taught that these behaviours are okay.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So are we just stuck with them that way? and why is it that if they do something wrong they know when they get caught? Wouldn't that imply that they know it's wrong in the first place?

With my new puppy, if she does something wrong it's because she doesn't know it's wrong. Like going potty in the house when we first brought her home... Once she learned it was wrong she stopped. Not the case with the dachshunds.
 

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You're not stuck with them that way, but you are going to need to be VERY patient, consistent and persistent to change them.

As for "knowing they did something wrong", things aren't really that simple... very often when owners think their dogs "know they're wrong but still misbehave" or "misbehave to spite their owners" they are anthropomorphising. Perhaps you could provide an example of when the dachshunds do something they know is wrong, and I might be able to explain it a little better.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, like getting in the trash. It's more a problem with the female... But if we leave the room for 5 minutes, we'll come back to trash all over the kitchen floor.

But before were even in the kitchen, she'll here us coming and run and hide in her kennel or under a table... To me it just really seems like she's knows she's going to get in trouble, hence the reason she runs before were even there.
 

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Seemingly.

I'm just going to hazard a guess at what the typical scenario is like after your dog has been trash-surfing. Your dog gets in the trash. You come home and find trash on the floor. You immediately look for the dog, bring her to the pile of trash and punish her for making a mess.

What most people don't realise is that this doesn't teach the dog that digging in the trash is wrong. It teaches the dog that trash on the floor is wrong. Which isn't the same thing in a dog's mind.

Dogs don't connect their past actions to their present situations. Dogs live in the moment. If you show a dog pee on the carpet and punish him, he doesn't think "this is the patch of pee I made five minutes ago, and I'm being punished, so I shouldn't get pee on the carpet anymore." He thinks "there's pee on the carpet, I don't know where it came from, but pee on carpet = bad." That's why if you want to reprimand your dog for something he shouldn't be doing, you need to catch him right in the act of it. Ten seconds after he's counter-surfed or jumped on the couch is too late. You need to give the "ah ah" while he's halfway through peeing, while he's in the middle of the trash, before his front paws hit the couch.

By the way, have you considered restricting the dogs' access to the trash?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I understand that you can't punish a dog after the fact. At least I do now.

No, the dogs are all crated when were not home so it's not an issue in that case. It's only when we step outside to have a smoke or something to that effect... and we'll catch her red handed with her face in the trash. But we don't even have to say anything.... As soon as she sees/hears one of us she's gone.

At this point I don't punish her because she already knows she messed up... But it just seems like she doesn't care. and in order for her/them to be restricted from the trash they would have to be restricted from the kitchen... which is where they eat.

Oh here's another example of why I think the female is stubborn/dumb... We'll let the dogs out back to potty and the female will constantly bring us things to fetch. We can tell her no till were blue in the face, pop her on the nose, nothing works.. she'll just stand there staring at whatever she wants to fetch and eventually start growling/barking. At which point we take said object and chuck it over the fence where she can't retrieve it...

This dog knows good and well what "no" means... but when it comes to fetching she flat out doesn't care.
 

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Why should she care? After all, trash smells great and tastes delicious (to her, lol) and you don't seem to be either thrilled or irked by it. Self-reinforcing behaviours are behaviours that are in themselves rewarding... in other words, your dog is encouraged to perform them even as she does them. Digging in the trash is an incredibly self-reinforcing behaviour. The more she digs, the more stuff she gets to eat. And because she is so heavily rewarded by just ONE session of trash-surfing, she's extremely likely to try it again in the future.

Because it's such a self-reinforcing behaviour, the general consensus on trash-surfing is to keep the trash away from the dog. Put a rock on the lid, put the bin in a cupbard, move it outside, that type of thing. As much as we would all love to have perfectly trained dogs, it is asking a LOT of a dog, a natural opportunist, to completely ignore a giant can of food sitting in the room when no one is looking. It IS possible, but it is a LOT of work... and because trash-surfing is self-reinforcing, all that work can be undone in ONE incident.
 

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Oh here's another example of why I think the female is stubborn/dumb... We'll let the dogs out back to potty and the female will constantly bring us things to fetch. We can tell her no till were blue in the face, pop her on the nose, nothing works.. she'll just stand there staring at whatever she wants to fetch and eventually start growling/barking. At which point we take said object and chuck it over the fence where she can't retrieve it...

This dog knows good and well what "no" means... but when it comes to fetching she flat out doesn't care.
Your dog is very smart actually. She's probably bored out of her mind and wants to interact with you. Good attention, bad attention it doesn't matter but that object is generating a lot of attention from you isn't it?
 

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I will address just a few things here.. there are way too many for a single answer.

First I suggest you read this: "The Other End of the LEash" by Patricia McConnell. You will learn why dogs do what they do (especially the dacshunds).

At some point, the dacshunds were caught in the trash and given some sort of aversive.. got hit, yelled at or something. This did not teach them going in the trash was bad. It taught them that it ws dangerous to be near or in the trash when a human is present. Trash surfing is "safe" if no one is around. Dogs are opporunitistic scavengers. This means if there is food available, they will eat it. You have to make the trash inaccessible to the dogs. SOME dogs will learn the trash is off limits, but most will be like the Dacshunds.

The other training issues are issues born out of allowing the dogs free range. Both these dogs need to be immediately put on a NILIF program (nothing in life is free.. see stickie). BOTH you and your GF need to invoke this and it won't hurt the new dog either.. will just make him better trained and that is not a bad thing.

Both these dogs need to be retrained from scratch. I would use a training method unlike what you are using now (correction based) because it is not working on them (seems obvious). Instead, get this book, "The Complete Idiots Guide to Positive Dog Training" by Pam Dennision. It is excellant and can guide you thru the use of a clicker and rewards as well as a different sort of punishment system that may work very well on these dacshunds.

Dacshunds, contrary to what a lot of people think, are VERY wired, active dogs. They need a LOT of exercise. This means walks, walks and more walks. I would get them out for an hour walk at least followed by 1/2 hour training 2X a day (work each dog separately for 15 minutes and then crate that dog and work with the other dog). Once you get behaviors established at home, start to proof the dogs elsewhere.

Small dogs are often badly behaved I have noticed. This is not because they cannot learn.. it is usually because no one has taken the effort to train them with solid consistancy.

This brings me to the last thing.. consistancy. Whenever you cue a behavior, if the dog does not comply, you need to show the dog what you want and get that behavior. This means EVERYTIME. If you are busy and ask for a behavior and you cannot leave what you are doing to follow thru, then either interrupt what you are doing or don't ask for the behavior in the first place.

And they can be house trained. That also requires consistancy and a schedule. Get some enzyme cleaner like Nature's Miracle and claen up the poop/pee spots well so they are not as attracted to going in those places and put these dogs on a strict schedule of crating, feeding and going out to pee and poop. When they go to the bathroom outside, give food rewards (tiny bits of hot dog are great) and lots of happy praise. If you cathc them going inside, interrupt them, say nothing, get them out and praise, with food, as they finish up.

At this point, from your description, remove two of your behaviors from the training plan. Stop using the word "NO" and stop hitting any dog for any reason.

A dog asking to play is not an offense. You can take whatever it is away from the dog if it is potty time, but if she wants to retrieve AFTER potty, use retrieve as a reward,. you can use retrieve as a reward for anything you train if she loves it that much.
 

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Elana, I agree wholeheartedly.

People forget that the little dogs are still dogs, and when you are talking about dachshunds you are talking about a scenthound BRED to go to ground and kill animals larger than themselves. Dachshund is literally "badger hound" in german. These are working dogs. Working dogs never trained, never "employed" with work to do, find their own employment.

All the tips about how to manage the trashing etc is dead on so I won't repeat it.

I will repeat that it takes longer to train a dog that has been "self training" and self rewarding for seven years than a clean slate pup. But it can be done. You have to manage the opportunities they have for practicing the self rewarding behaviours and then reward the new "wanted" ones so that THEY find it rewarding to do what you would like.

Lastly...I am very saddened that the dog comes up to YOU, practically BEGGING for interaction to play and you refuse, along with a pop on the nose. That, simply put, pisses me off.
Now, if you DO occasionally play with him, then excuse my rant, but from what you have posted I see no details on what you do with the dogs to stimulate them or to have positive interactions with them. That is just wrong. Please let me know if my interpretation here is off. But WHY would a dog want to do what you say or want if he gets nothing, including a relationship from you?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Let me clarify on the fetching thing... A few months ago, we were at the dog park with all 3 of our dogs. Like I said the female dachshund LOVES to fetch, well that day at the dog park she fetched a lot...

The next day her hind legs didn't work. She's recovered but never 100%... So I still play fetch with her, just not nearly as much as I used to. Mainly due to her back.

This whole thing is just frustrating, I know they need to be worked more but they're horrible on a leash... It just seems like it's going to be 20x harder to train these dogs than our new puppy.
 

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Ah. Thank you for clarifying that. I didn't want to be snarky about it..so I'm glad you took it as a question of CARING about your dogs. I still recommend stopping PUNISHING her wanting to play and instead train something else to replace it. This may take some thought about what would work with her limited mobility.

Poor kid. Yes back problems can be the bane of longbodied dogs, I'm glad she is better than she was after the day of exercise. And yes, dachsies can be a handful to walk, untrained. I used to walk a TRIO of untrained ones..they barked growled and nipped at almost anything and it took a while to get them to understand that that was not acceptable behaviour. Even teaching a sit is hard..their builds and lower/mid back issues prevent a LOT of basic manners behaviours from coming about and in some a sit is impossible due to discomfort. What I did was teach them "watch me" and encouraged/rewarded eye contact every time (even if it was incidental) so that when they started to get "antsy" and overly excited I could use the cue and instead of staring/barking/nipping they would look at me (all those cute little hound eyes boring into my eyes!) and be rewarded with very teeny tiny bits of dried liver. The important thing to remember is that if they WONT take the food reward you are too close to whatever it is that triggered them.

I have learned over the years a slightly better method..called "look at that" (thanks to the book "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt) where I clicked and treated when they glanced at whatever was freaking them out..it means they can still "check out" the trigger (especially if it was a scary one, as opposed to just "interesting") and then look back at me for the reward. What happens over time is an automatic response...where they look at the trigger and because they've practiced the turn to me, immediately look back at me instead of reacting. It's operant conditioning at it's best. See the scary thing? Not so scary anymore because NOW it means good things!

This made our walks very very enjoyable, instead of a stress fest. If I had only been able to convince the owners to try it..they did improve somewhat with the owners over time but were consistently fine with me, because I did the "work" with them, not because I "magically" had them under control. The owner's thought it was ME and didn't feel they had the touch so they didn't bother trying it.

Keep up the work, be consistent in rewarding what you DO want. Teach them alternate behaviours to replace the ones you don't want/like and only reward the good stuff...it WILL happen. It just takes time. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the advice guys, I really do appreciate it. I'm going to have to start the long hard process of training these 2 little demons. :p
 

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I've had dogs that wouldn't touch the trash no matter what, but only because it was imprinted into them as young pups.

They also were imprinted that things like that were not "safe" even if I wasn't there as young pups.

My current dog is an untrained adult adoption and she will eat trash, and counter surf as well. She knows it's safe when I'm not watching, and it's not when I am watching. She's tall and can almost reach my face at 6'4. Counters are pretty easy.

Punishing just won't cut it. First it wouldn't work anyway, second she over reacts to any kind of aversive or punishment normally (unless she's in prey drive, when she goes stone deaf)

So what's the easiest answer?

The trash bin now is stainless steel, with a closing lid she cannot open. I had to change my habits to keep the counters and sink clean of even scents, and anything edible goes up in a cabinet. That's just how it'll have to be for a long time if not for life. Problem solved.

She can counter surf, no reward, sniff the trash, no reward. Some day I may try training when the habit and reinforcement has diminished.

You need to get your wife on board with this training as well and both of you be consistent with what you do.
 

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Dachshunds are actually the geniuses of the hound group.

I say that as someone who has lived with a dachshund, a beagle and a pseudo Plott hound.
 
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