Ask Doctor Dog: Are Dachshund Dogs Good With Kids?
Before bringing home a new, four-legged addition, it's wise to consider which breed is the best fit for your family.
One reader reached out with a pressing question: Are dachshunds good with kids as a family pet? Doctor Dog has the answer.
The Question: Do Dachshunds Mix Well With Young Children?
Dear Doctor Dog,
My wife has wanted to get a dog for years. I'm not completely against the idea, but when I was a kid, I had a bad experience. A neighbor's dog chased me and clamped down on my arm, only letting go when the owner intervened. I was lucky to only need a few stitches, but you can see why I'm worried.
Now that our boys are 5 and 7, they've been begging to get a puppy, and they've always been diehard wiener dog fans. Are small dogs snippier than large breeds? Would you say yes? I don't want to disappoint them, but I also don't want a tragedy on our hands. Help.
– Dave Wilson from Jersey City, New Jersey
Doctor Dog's Answer: Your Concern Is Admirable, but Dachshunds Can Make Superb Family Pets
I totally get where you're coming from. Dog bites are a serious concern. About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year, with over 800,000 requiring medical attention. Children are victims more often than adults, and they're more likely to be seriously hurt. With those sobering stats, why would anyone consider getting a family dog?
Far more families have happy, lifelong bonds with their family pet than those who experience tragedies. It has little to do with breed, and more to do with responsible ownership. Dog owners who socialize their pets from the start, and those who teach their kids how to read canine body language, are far less likely to end up driving to the ER for a nasty bite.
Doxies can be an excellent choice for families thanks to their sturdiness. Many small breeds are too fragile to risk sharing a home with small children, but dachshunds have a stockier build. This is especially true of the standard-size dachshund.
The downsides of owning a family dachshund include the possibility of "small dog syndrome." This happens when owners are less diligent about socialization and training with small dogs due to the perception that it isn't as important. It is. Train both your fur child and human ones well, and there's no reason to be nervous about adopting a dachshund.
Hope that helps.
– Doctor Dog
Teach Your Kids to Respect Your Dog From Day One
It's not fair to put all the blame on our pets for snapping. Unlike people, they can't express themselves through words. They try to indicate their discomfort through their body language. If we don't listen, they'll bite or scratch as a last resort.
Dogs can also react to being startled or having a toy taken away. Teach your kids to approach dogs, even ones they're familiar with, slowly. If they notice signs their pet is becoming annoyed, back off. It's not much different than teaching kids to respect their siblings and friends, only their friends are more likely to throw sand than bite.
Preventing dog bites is easier than treating them, so remember: No dog is bite-proof. Any dog, of any breed, is capable of biting. Teaching every member of the family to interact with them safely is the best way to avoid heartache.
For more tips on preventing dog bites, watch the Humane Society's video below.
Have a Question for Doctor Dog?
Leave any questions for me, and look for my responses in my Dear Doctor Dog advice column on Always Pets. Have questions about cats, bunnies, hamsters or any other critters? Shoot! I may be a dog myself, but I'm here to help all your animal companions, whether they have four legs or fins.
Important reminder: Doctor Dog is happy to provide general pet care guidance, but she cannot provide formal medical recommendations or diagnoses for your pet. Your pet's veterinarian should always be your primary resource for serious questions regarding your pet's health.
Need more tips? Check out some of Doctor Dog's previous answers on Always Pets: