Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted January 14, 2015
My wife and I had both grown up with dogs our entire lives, but this was our first pet we would own together. The apartment we were living in at the time did not allow large dogs (or dogs of any size in actuality) so our size options were limited. It had to be sneakable. We decided on a dachshund almost entirely on appearance. What isn't to love about a happy little hotdog-come-to-life running around your apartment?
After doing some actual research about the breed and their characteristics online (Smart but stubborn? Us too. Doesn't always get along great with kids? We don't want any. Super low grooming and vet maintenance? That's us again!) we began the search for our first pet together. After only a few weeks, Shorty's profile popped up on the Animal Protective Association of Missouri's website (apamo.org - The APA is a wonderful non-profit shelter based out of St. Louis that provides pet adoption, veterinarian services and education and outreach programs for those in the St. Louis community). We knew instantly we had to meet him. During our meeting, Shorty was very unlike the dachshunds we had read about online. Instead of being feisty and playful, Shorty was shy and timid, but he melted our hearts all the same. We assumed his low-key behavior was due more to his living in a shelter for a few weeks than his actual personality. We paid the fees and brought him home the next day.
Since Shorty was already two when we got him, we didn't have to do much training. He was already potty trained and would come when called, sit when told to, etc. However, we quickly learned that crate training was not on his agenda. True to his dachshund nature, Shorty is extremely stubborn. He simply refuses to do things he does not want to do, such as sleeping in the new collapsable canvas crate we had gotten him. The first night we had Shorty, he tore his way through the canvas crate three separate times to come join us in our bed. And I do mean tore. He didn't simply nudge his nose through a small opening in the zipper and squeeze his way out. During our research we learned that dachshunds were originally bred to hunt badgers. Hence their feisty, determined nature. This also means they are well equipped to dig - or tear three separate holes in a mesh/canvas crate.
We learned very quickly that he simply refuses to do things he does not want to do, whether its sleep in a crate or do his business outside in the rain.
We also learned that Shorty's behavior at the shelter was not a result of his temporary environment but that he truly is a very timid, nervous dog. From what we understand about dachshunds, this is atypical behavior. He eventually warmed up to my wife and me, but it did take some time. His emotions around new people range from total disinterest to extreme nervousness or even skittishness, but after he begins to trust someone he is a total snuggle monster. Almost to the point where he is needy. He loves nothing more than to bury himself in some blankets on someone's lap. This is wonderful if you've had a long day or on those cold winter nights, but can be a bit much at times.
Shorty loves to play and wrestle which I do with him everyday. He shows almost zero interest in toys or even treats like bones or rawhides, unless another dog is around, of course. Like I mentioned earlier, we were sneaking him into our apartment which did not allow dogs so barking was a concern for us. We had read that dachshunds can be yappy but that has been the opposite experience for us. He can bark, he simply chooses to never do it. It's almost to the point we are worried that if there was a fire in our house he wouldn't bark to let the firemen know where he was.
Overall, my experience with Shorty has been wonderful. He is unlike any dog I've owned before, but I couldn't imagine my life without him. He isn't the feisty, high-energy wienie we expected. He is extremely clever and loving, but also stubborn and a tad bit needy. He also happens to be one of the cutest dogs in the world.