Dachshunds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the US and the UK. According to the American Kennel Club, they were the 10th most popular breed in 2021 in the US and the 6th most popular breed in the UK in 2022, and their popularity only continues to grow!
If you own a Dachshund or thinking about getting one, you’ll know they are stubborn little creatures. They like to do things their own way and on their own terms. But sometimes, we have to convince them to do things that are best for them – like using a ramp. If you’re like many Dachshund owners and are struggling to get your Dachshund to use their ramp, here are nine tips to encourage them.
Why Use A Ramp?
Before we get into the tips, let’s talk about why you should use a ramp to help your Dachshund. Dachshunds are easy to spot with their short legs and long bodies, but this is also what causes issues for them. Dachshunds are up to 10-12 times more likely to develop a condition called IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease). This is when the shock-absorbing part of the spine deteriorates over time and can eventually cause paralysis. This is often seen in Dachshunds who are over ten years of age (but can be seen at any age) and has been linked to being overweight, so if you want to avoid this condition, it’s important to keep your Dachshund slim.
Another way to avoid this condition is to make sure your Dachshund avoids any jumping or sudden jolting of the spine. This is where ramps come in; not only do they help your Dachshund move freely around your home they also help prevent health conditions in the future!
For more specific advice on IVDD and Dachshunds, check out DachshundTalk.
9 Tips To Help Your Dachshund Use Their Ramp
Now we’ve got the basics out of the way, here are nine tips to help your Dachshund use their ramp.
1) Slow And Steady Wins The Race
Just like with anything new, you’ll want to take things slow at first. Introduce your dog to the ramp gradually and let them get used to it at their own pace. Start by leaving the ramp out. Lay it next to your sofa or anywhere you know you will be sitting close by for a while. Let your Dachshund give it a sniff and get used to the new item in their environment.
2) Start In A Comfortable Environment
Ramps are very versatile and can be used pretty much anywhere with different levels. But don’t run before you can walk. When you first start training your Dachshund to use the ramp, do it in an environment they feel comfortable such as your front room or any other room in the house you spend a lot of time. Once they’re happy using the ramp in this environment, you can slowly move on to using it wherever they need it.
3) Don’t Force It
Even though we know ramps are only going to benefit our Dachshunds, forcing them to use it will only make them more reluctant and cause more stress. Never try to force your Dachshund to use the ramp; they will do it when they’re comfortable.
4) Keep It Short
It’s important to keep each training session short and sweet. You don’t want your Dachshund to get bored. Even if they are reluctant at first, you can keep trying and be patient. But always keep training sessions short and sweet.
5) Make It Fun!
Let’s be honest; if your Dachshund is sitting there watching you drag out a ramp, they’re probably not thinking, “what is that!” Try to make this process fun and make the ramp fun too. Bring out the treats, and their favorite toys, and let them explore on their own time.
6) Start By Laying The Ramp Flat
Once your Dachshund is fairly comfortable with the ramp, start by laying it out flat. Your dachshund will be more likely to explore and climb onto the ramp if there isn’t any gradient.
7) Treat Trails
If you’re Dachshund is still a bit uncomfortable with standing on top of the ramp. This is where you might want to consider creating a treat trail. To do this, keep the ramp flat, as we mentioned above, and start popping a few treats on the corner (or wherever it’s easy for your Dachshund to get them).
Once they’re comfortable with that, you can start putting treats in the middle of the ramp, so your Dachshund has to stand on top of the ramp to get them. Once they’ve mastered this, you can do a line of treats to entice them to walk up and down the ramp.
8) Start Adding Gradiant (slowly)
Most ramps these days are adjustable, and the gradient can be added over time. For us, a gradient is something we’ve gotten used to, but for Dachshunds, it’s another change to think about. It’s a good idea to work up to a steeper gradient gradually. You can do this by using the treat method above and see how comfortable your Dachshund is with the gradient. Once you’ve done that, you can start to add a little more each time until your Dachshund is comfortable on the ramp.
8) Practice Makes Perfect
You know the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and the same goes for any training with your Dachshund. It takes time and repetition to get the behavior you want. It’s important not to move too quickly when training your Dachshund, be patent, be consistent, and your Dachshund will start using their ramp in no time!
Wrapping Things Up
So there we have it, nine tips to help your Dachshund get over their fears and start using their ramp. Even though it can be a bit of a challenge and it will take some time. The ease of life and peace of mind that comes with having a ramp is worth it. So be patient, and keep in mind that your Dachshund will get there!
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