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Canine Behavior/Miniature Dashscund


I have a 3 year old miniature daschund. Ever since I got him at 2 months old, I was able to train him to go outside. He would wait over night until I brought him out in the morning. So I know he knew he had to go outside. But everytime I had to leave for school or work he would freak out. Bark constantly, pee/poo in the house (even though i just took him outside before i left), I realize he has separation anxiety and Ive tried online ideas to help get rid of it, but it seems impossible. I had to leave him with my parents because my roommate was complaining about the barking when im gone. Now at my parents, my dog will randomly go poo on the couch or pee on my parents pillow EVEN when theyre home and had just taken him outside. So I would really like some help on what to do about the separation anxiety if thats what it is and like to know why he is doing that at my parents house. I want to be able to bring him back with me and have him no behave that way. Please help i cant deal with this.

ANSWER: Unfortunately, you have a breed that is prone to anxiety as well as difficulty house breaking. I would recommend going back to basics and crate train. And I'm not sure how you react towards him when you (or rest of family/friends) first walk in the door, but the best way to act is to not pay him any attention until he calms down. The worst thing you can do to an anxious dog is make them more  anxious.

As far as the separation anxiety and at his age, I would start with baby steps. First of all, do not have him by your side at all times, that's the big reason how dogs acquire this. You can start by leaving the room and making him stay, then calmly reward when you re-enter. Gradually take things a step further when you can tell he's ready for a graduation to the next level.

Keep me posted as it could turn into a trial and error situation.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: But he knows not to go inside. He will go outside and then when we bring him inside again he goes on the couch which he has never done before. Are you sure hes not doing it out of anger for something?
And as for the crate training, i gave that up within the first year because he would make a mess in his crate and walk in and make such a mess. so i either leave him in the garage or sometimes in the house. i dont know what to do. i would do the crate thing if you can tell me how to make him not make a mess in it.

He could absolutely be acting out in anger, but that realization makes no difference as he just plain needs to understand that it's not acceptable. Just curious, when you were crate training, how big was the crate you used? If he has enough room to pee/poop and sleep in another area, he will absolutely do it. The crate literally needs to be just big enough for him stand up and turn around. "Most" dogs will not pee/poop where they sleep.

Something you could try as the dachshund is a very anxious breed is incorporate a scheduled play/training time and scheduled relax time where he's not allowed to anything but lay there and...relax. The play/training time is just what it says, traing while playing. He has fun and learns things at the same time! The relax time is forced relaxation in which is he forced to lay down and do nothing, but is also rewarded for each step of relaxation-calmly, ie. with a treat placed directly in front of him on the floor and that's it. It's easiest to use a leash with less than no slack so he has no choice but to lay down. This process simply teaches him that it's okay to relax and do absolutely nothing! And gets rewarded for it!

One other I always recommend implementing is the earn and reward. Which means he does not get food, treats, attention, ... unless he obeys a command. This does both rewards him for good behavior and maintains you as the head of household.

Let me know what new questions you may have or how he is doing.  

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Melissa Burg, RVT/Behavior Consultant


I have experience with multiple obedience issues, including anxiety, different types of aggression, introductions to a new pet and basic obedience situations, such as housebreaking, excessive leash pulling and excessive barking. There are several approaches to each behavior issue, depending on the animal's environment, as well as the breed, sex and age. I can also help you decide whether the problem sounds medical or behavioral.


I recently graduated with a Veterinary Technician degree with an emphasis in behavior and obedience training. I spent 5 years working in animal shelters where I trained shelter dogs in basic obedience and corrected behavior issues and educated adopting owners how to continue the training at home.

"Pawfect Pets;" a weekly column on canine and feline health and behavior tips.

Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology from Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa.

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