Can Dachshunds Go Up And Down Stairs?

Miniature dachshund going up stairs IVDD Intervertebral Disc Disease

Your four-legged shadow will follow you everywhere and join in with everything you do – this includes climbing up stairs, which is easy for you but an epic task for the little legs of a dachshund! Their long sausage bodies and short legs mean dachshunds are more prone to back problems than other dog breeds. 

Can dachshunds go up and down stairs? No. Climbing up stairs will cause stress to your dachshund’s back, and climbing down stairs is jarring on his spine. Over time, this repetitive movement could cause IVDD. It’s better to carry your dachshund when possible and install a stair gate for prevention. 

You can definitely minimise your dachshund’s risk of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) if you’re aware of the actions that’ll cause them injury. As dachshunds are predisposed to spine and back problems, getting ahead of the things which could harm them is really important. We’ve got to pay attention to our dachshund’s daily movements to stop them doing any damage to themselves.

Find out more about Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) by clicking here

Will climbing stairs injure my dachshund?  

Yes. Climbing stairs could injure your dachshund, especially if done every day. If you think about it, an average staircase is about 20-25cm high and dachshunds are small dogs! Miniatures are only 13-18cm high and standards 20-22cm high. Imagine having to climb that sort of height over and over again!

Can Dachshunds Go Up And Down Stairs? Dachshund going upstairs
Young dachshund going up the stairs

Going up stairs involves lots of sudden stretches and bends to your dachshund’s back and neck. Jumping down steps is equally stressful for dachshunds’ spines, as it involves lots of jolting movements. So, be mindful of any sort of strain on your dachshund’s back and do your best to prevent it, because it could increase his chances of having muscle spasms and getting IVDD.

In fact, any sort of jumping or climbing will put pressure on your dachshund’s spine. So, to keep your sausage dog safe, try minimising any movements which involve sudden jolts to his back – this includes climbing onto the sofa, up the stairs, or even jumping up onto the bed at night. These might seem like every day things, but doing them all the time could cause your dachshund to suffer. It’s the repeated motions you’ve got to watch out for – dachshunds weren’t built for agility!

How do I stop my dachshund going up stairs?

Dachshunds are stubborn and have a mind of their own. so it’s your job to help them out and stop them doing damage when scrambling up the stairs. If your dachshund already has free rein of the house, it might be challenging to stop him going wherever he wants to go – but it’s definitely not impossible!

Can Dachshunds Go Up And Down Stairs? Dachshund being trained
Dachshund learning house rules in training

This is what you need to do:

Start as you mean to go on

Training a puppy is so much easier than teaching an old dog new tricks – any dachshund owner will know that! So, get your dachshund into a routine when he’s really young. Get down on his level and show him how much fun it is to play on the floor. Putting a nice comfy bed with lots of cosy blankets right beside the sofa is great too because it shows your dachshund – THIS is your place! Don’t cave at those puppy dog eyes either, you have to be consistent for this to work long-term.

Install a stair gate

The quickest and easiest way to stop your dachshund from going up and down the stairs is to install a stair gate (or baby gate). Once in place, you just close the door and don’t have to worry about him taking any more detours to the upstairs world! If your sausage dog sleeps upstairs with you at night, you also need to put one at the top of the stairs to avoid any nighttime activity.

Use reward training

If you don’t want to install a stair gate, or can’t for whatever reason, you can teach your dachshund that going upstairs isn’t allowed. Reward training is about praising your sausage dog whenever he listens to you and doing it consistently. In a firm voice, tell your dachshund he’s not allowed upstairs – a simple ‘No!’ or ‘Ah-Ah!’ should do it – and when he listens, give him a treat, lots of verbal praise or a big cuddle. You know your dog best, and you’ll know the best way to reward him when he (eventually!) does the right thing!

Can Dachshunds Go Up And Down Stairs? Dachshund getting a reward while being trained
Dachshund sat waiting for a reward for good behaviour

How do I stop my dachshund jumping on furniture?

This is how you stop your dachshund jumping on furniture:

  • Buy a ramp
  • Do some ramp training
  • Lift your dachshund

If your cheeky little sausage dog is already curled up on the best seat in the house – right in the middle of the sofa – and is getting used to jumping up and down on a regular basis, it might be time to make a change. There are better ways for your dachshund to join you for cuddles without putting too much strain on his back.

Buy a ramp

Attaching a ramp to the sofa or bed, or any other furniture you want your dachshund to get up onto, is a great way to stop him risking injury by clambering, scrambling and jumping. 

Can Dachshunds Go Up And Down Stairs? Dachshund sat on a ramp beside a bed
Dachshund using a ramp to get on to the bed

Do some ramp training

You’ll probably have some training to do when you first get the ramp, so start off by placing it on a flat surface and coaxing your sausage dog to walk across it. If he needs some more encouragement, get the tasty treats out! Once he gets used to a flat ramp, raise the height slightly – it’s probably best to do it slowly, especially if he gets nervous – until he’s comfortable with it.

Lift your dachshund

If you don’t want ramps in your lounge or simply don’t have the space, you can easily help your dachshund onto the furniture by lifting him whenever a jump or climb is a stretch too far. Be careful, though! Carrying your dachshund the wrong way could cause stress to his back, so doing it the right way is equally important.

How do I carry my dachshund? 

This is how you carry a dachshund:

  • Use both hands
  • Place your hands in the right place
  • Keep the body level
  • Hold your dachshund safely
  • Carefully place your dachshund down

Dachshunds are very good at getting their own way – they’re masters of manipulation! There will be times when you can’t resist that little face and let your sausage dog on the sofa for cuddles. He may sleep upstairs at night too. So, the easiest way to get him from A-B is to carry him in your arms. But how do you make his airborne travel as smooth as possible?

How do I carry my dachshund?  Woman holding a dachshund in her arms
Woman carrying her dachshund carefully in her arms

This is what you need to do:

Use both hands

Make sure both your hands are free – it’ll be best for your dachshund if you use two hands to lift him. Never lift your dachshund with just one hand and pull him up by the front legs. This could do serious damage to his back.

Place your hands in the right place

Place one hand under your dachshund’s chest. This’ll help support the front of his body, his chest and front legs. And place your other hand either under his tummy near the back legs or under his rump. This hand supports your dachshund’s rear. 

Keep the body level

Lift your dachshund up, keeping the front and back of his body even. When you’re carrying your dachshund, always keep his body level because the less his spine bends, the better. 

How do I carry my dachshund? Two people carrying a dachshund in their arms
Dachshund being carried with his body kept level

Hold your dachshund safely

Keep a firm, protective hold on your dachshund while he’s in your arms. 

Carefully place your dachshund down

Be gentle when you place your dachshund back down on the floor. Don’t put him down abruptly, don’t let him jump out of your arms or drop him onto the floor from any height. This’ll be too harsh an impact for his spine and could increase the chance of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

So, there you have it. Even if your dachshund is used to being allowed to climb up and down stairs, making a change now could make all the difference for the future health of his spine and back. The sooner you apply these changes to your dachshund’s life, whether you choose to install a stair gate, ramp, or just by carrying your dachshund up and down, the better it’ll be for him!

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