It’s a fair assumption that most dachshund parents have done some obedience training with their dog, either in structured classes with other dogs or DIY training using online resources like Dogs Trust videos and personal expertise.  It’s widely accepted that dachshunds are not entirely trainable, and that’s certainly been our experience when Sunny is distracted by food.  We do periodic top-up training to try to reinforce key training messages from our first weeks together. 

We can also assume that most dachshunds are kept on leads in a responsible manner in a public place, in a new location, or with new people that they are being introduced to.

But you can never anticipate what humans will do with your dachshund when you meet them randomly on the street, even if your dog is well trained, on a lead, and minding her own business.

In the last month alone, during walkies, we’ve had the following encounters: 

  • A man producing a dog chew from pocket and insisting that he wants to give it to our dachshund.
  • Toddlers running towards him in a loud and excited group in the park.
  • Two young kids in the local park completely ignoring my request not to touch Sunny.
  • Another dog owner tryng to introduce his dog to ours despite our request not to

No matter how responsible you’re being, and how irresponsible or excited the humans in these interactions are, the law in the UK is quite clear that you are responsible if your dog is considered to be “dangerously out of control” and subsequently injures someone, or causes a person to believe that your dog will injure them.  If your on-lead dachshund feels threatened and nips a small child whose parents are not controlling their child’s behaviour around your dog, you can argue about who’s fault it is, but it’s surely better not to get to that point.

Training the dog is sometimes the easiest part. But how do you train or instruct humans to interact appropriately with your dog?  Much like you train your dog. With positive reinforcement, management and redirection.

If your friends or relatives want to offer your dachshund bits of human food that are bad for them, offer them an alternative instead.  We almost always have dog treats nearby in the office and at home, for friends and colleagues who want to feed or treat Sunny.

Do people encourage your dog to jump on them or encourage other undesirable behaviors? Maybe they want to pick up your dachshund, and grab him in the middle of his back ready to lift.  Redirect them. Kids and adults alike are perfectly happy to high five, fist bump or shake Sunny’s paw instead of picking him up or petting him over the top of his head (which he finds threatening). They just need to know what to do.

People and dogs both love rewards and good behavior should be rewarded. If kids are polite about asking to pet Sunny, we almost always say yes. They get treats to feed him with and they get to watch him show off his tricks. If they just start screaming “puppy!” at the top of their lungs and come charging at us, no doggie.  The same goes for adults. If you try to pick him up or just start grabbing at his face, no petting time for you. But if you ask, Sunny will be in a much happier state of mind and will come to you for cuddles and sniffs if you sit still for long enough.


Sometimes no matter what you do, adults and children will not listen, will not hear, or will not follow instructions. In that case, you must manage the situation for the safety of everyone concerned. You either don’t let them have access to your dog, or stay glued to your dog’s side at all times while they’re there.  Telling them off might be satisfying but won’t fix the problem in the long run.  A young family member who we see regularly found it hard to take notice of our suggestions about playing with Sunny.  Our meetings always ended with Sunny nervous and barking and our young friend in tears, and getting scared of being around him.  We realised that we had to get right in the middle of their interactions, not watching from the other side of the room.  

How do you positively train humans around your dog?