How To Train A Dachshund To Use A Dog Ramp

How to train a Dachshund to use a dog ramp

Have you just bought a new dog ramp for your Dachshund? Do you want to know how to train your Dachshund to use a dog ramp? Here’s everything you need to know about teaching your Dachshund to use a dog ramp! 

How Do You Train A Dachshund To Use A Dog Ramp? Start with the ramp flat on the floor and gradually increase the incline. Place treats along it to encourage your Dachshund to walk up or down. Block the sides off until they get more confident. Then raise the incline and put the ramp against your sofa or bed.

Read on to find out why you should use a dog ramp and tips on how to successfully train your Dachshund to use it with confidence! 

This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.

Why Does A Dachshund Need A Dog Ramp?

Dachshunds need a dog ramp to get on and off furniture. They have short legs and long spines that make them prone to Intervertebral Disc Disease.

Intervertebral Disc Disease or IVDD is a painful and debilitating back disease that can sometimes lead to paralysis. Sadly, one in four Dachshunds can suffer with IVDD.

Jumping on and off furniture, up stairs, up steps, or into the car, could potentially worsen the risk of IVDD, and other back or joint problems.

Using a dog ramp is a lot more gentle on your Dachshund’s spine. It’ll make getting on and off the bed or sofa so much safer and easier.

It’ll also stop your Dachshund jumping as much (or too high!). And that may reduce the risk of back problems and IVDD in future. 

Dog ramps are basically just a really great way to make your Dachshund’s life easier, and stop any unnecessary strain or pressure being put on his back

How Do I Train My Dachshund To Use A Dog Ramp?

It might take a bit of time for your Dachshund to get used to using a dog ramp. Intuitively, he’ll probably want to jump up or climb steps instead of using the ramp, especially if he’s been doing that for some time!

That’s why you need to dedicate a bit of time every day to training your Dachshund to use the dog ramp. It needs to become part of his normal routine!

This is how to train a Dachshund to use a dog ramp: 

Introduce your Dachshund to the dog ramp 

To start with, get your Dachshund familiar with the ramp just being in the room. Encourage him to sniff it. Let him slowly put a paw or two onto the ramp and then praise him when he does. 

Try not to push your Dachshund onto the ramp or place him down onto it. This won’t help with his training or confidence. In fact, any force may even make him fearful of the ramp itself.

Your Dachshund needs to see that the ramp is nothing to worry about, and learn to walk on it by himself. That way he’ll grow in confidence about using it. 

So, just take a bit of time and let your Dachshund get comfortable having the dog ramp around before you do anything else. 

Start with the ramp flat on the floor 

If you can, it’s best to start off with the ramp flat on the floor. This’ll let your Dachshund get used to the ramp without being scared of the incline.

Some dogs are reluctant to use ramps at first. So having the ramp in a flat position makes it easier for your Dachshund to get used to it more slowly.

If your Dachshund isn’t keen, attach a leash and harness and calmly walk him along the ramp. Don’t drag, pull, or force your Dachshund onto it – you need to go at his pace!

If you’ve bought a dog ramp or dog steps where the incline isn’t adjustable, you can still follow these training tips but just don’t alter the incline.

Take it step by step

At first, your Dachshund might only be comfortable taking a few steps onto the ramp and then get off again. He might not want to walk the whole way along it in one go.

So let him take his time stepping on and off the ramp. But, the second he gets on to the ramp, make sure you reward him instantly so he knows he’s on the right track.

Your Dachshund might also be hesitant about having all four paws standing on the ramp at once. So let him get used to how it feels and don’t push him or it may have the reverse effect.

Just keep the praise consistent with every step he takes onto the ramp and he’ll soon grow in confidence about using it.

Use treats to encourage your Dachshund to walk along the dog ramp

If your Dachshund isn’t interested in the ramp or tires to avoid standing on it, place some treats along the surface to entice him to check it out.

When he starts paying attention to the ramp (or the treats!), reward and praise him so he builds in confidence about using it.

If your Dachshund stops half way down the ramp or gets off, don’t give him a treat. Wait until he steps onto the ramp again. Then immediately reward him for being such a good boy (or girl!).

Puppies are normally much more keen to explore ramps and may even take to using them right away! So, the earlier you can start training your Dachshund to use a dog ramp, the easier it’ll be!

Start to gradually incline the dog ramp 

Once your Dachshund is comfortable walking along the flat ramp on the floor, it’s time to raise it up a little.

Start by raising the ramp with a very small incline, perhaps by placing it on a low step.

It’s best to shield the sides of the ramp with barriers and place cushions around it so it turns into more of a walkway, rather than an open-sided ramp.

This should make things safer and stop your Dachshund from being able to jump off from any height.

Place some treats along the ramp to encourage your Dachshund to walk along it. And make sure you stay right beside your Dachshund to keep him safe when he does!

Some Dachshunds will be happy to walk along the ramp on their own, especially if the sides are shielded so they cant see the floor beneath them.

However, you could also attach a leash and harness to gently guide your Dachshund along the ramp. Don’t use a collar though! If he does jump off suddenly, it’ll be too much of a jolt to his neck and back.

You can obviously remove the leash and harness when you feel your Dachshund is getting more confident about using it.

Keep repeating the process of guiding your Dachshund up and down the ramp for as long as needed until you’re 100% sure he’s happy with using it on the low incline.

Be sure to go all-out on praise and treats when he gets up or down the ramp on his own.

Dachshund sat on a dog ramp with a speech bubble that says 'I'm learning to use a ramp'
Dachshund being trained to use a dog ramp

Use a command word to get your Dachshund to use the dog ramp 

Once your Dachshund gets more confident about using the dog ramp at a low level, it’s time to add in a verbal cue.

This is basically a command word and hand gesture to let your Dachshund know when you want him to use the ramp.

It could be something as simple as saying ‘ramp’ where you point upwards. In fact, it can be anything you like really. As long as you use the same command word each time (and that every member of your family uses the same command word too!).

Just as your Dachshund goes to use the ramp, say your command word to him so he starts associating that word with the ramp.

Teaching your Dachshund the ‘ramp’ command is just as important as teaching him to use the dog ramp itself.

That way, when he looks like he’s about to try and jump up on to the sofa, you can use your command word and instantly redirect his behaviour to the ramp instead. 

Make sure you give him a treat and a fuss every time he listens to your command and uses the ramp. By doing this consistently every time, you’ll change his automatic behaviour.

You won’t always have to treat your Dachshund each time he goes up and down the ramp. But you will need to keep it going until he uses the ramp naturally on his own!

For healthier treat options, you could also use small pieces of chopped up fresh vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, cucumber or carrots.

Put the dog ramp against your sofa or bed

Once your Dachshund gets used to the lower height of the dog ramp, start raising it more by putting it up against your sofa or bed

Remember to block off both sides of the ramp to start with and put cushions underneath. This is just an extra precaution to keep your Dachshund safe.

It needs to look a bit like a channel that your Dachshund walks through, rather than an open-sided plank.

Continue to give your Dachshund lots of rewards when he walks up or down the ramp, instead of trying to jump up or down from the furniture.

Reinforce the positives!

To start with, your Dachshund may still occasionally jump up onto the sofa instead of using the dog ramp.

If he does this, don’t shout or get cross. Just ignore him, lift him back down down onto the floor and move his focus over to the ramp instead.

Place some dog treats along the surface of the ramp to encourage your Dachshund to use that instead. Then, go big on praise and fuss when he does so he knows what you want him to do!

You want your Dachshund to learn that walking on the ramp gets him treats and lots of praise, and that jumping up will get him put back down with zero attention!

Using positive reinforcement training is the best way to do this. Dachshunds love to please people and most of them also love food. So treats and praise show them when they’re doing something right!

Doing the ramp training consistently each day will change your Dachshund’s natural instinct to jump up or down over time.

Remove the safety barriers and cushions

Once you’re 100% sure your Dachshund is confidently going up and down the dog ramp on his own, you can take away the side barriers and remove the cushions underneath.

These are just there to keep your Dachshund safe from jumping off the edge and to make things easier while he’s learning to use the ramp.

Why Won’t My Dachshund Use The Dog Ramp?

If your Dachshund refuses to use the dog ramp or seems uneasy around it, he may be scared or confused about what you want him to do.

If this happens, it’s best to go back to basics. Give your Dachshund some direction by attaching a leash and harness to slowly guide him up and down.

Be sure to block off the sides at first so he can’t see the ground beneath him. This’ll keep him safe and remove any temptation to jump off the sides.

Most importantly, give him time to get the hang of things. Some Dachshunds take to using a dog ramp very quickly, and others need to go at a much slower pace.

How Much Dog Ramp Training Should l Do?

To start with, you should be doing dog ramp training for short 5-10 minute sessions every day. Your aim is to make using the ramp part of your Dachshund’s natural routine, so it has to be worked on consistently!

Always make the training sessions fun to encourage your Dachshund to want to do it more. And stock up on some tasty treats to keep him motivated to learn!

What Angle Should My Dachshund’s Dog Ramp Be At?

Your Dachshund’s dog ramp should have an incline of around eighteen to twenty degrees. No higher than a standard bed or sofa. Any more could be too steep or too hard to climb.

You can use a more gentle incline for older Dachshunds, or for those dogs that are especially hesitant to use it and need a bit more time to get used to things. 

How Do I Make Sure My Dachshund Doesn’t Slip On The Dog Ramp?

To stop your Dachshund slipping on the dog ramp, make sure our get one with a non-slip coating. This’ll help your Dachshund grip onto the ramp with their feet as they climb. 

You could also buy a dog ramp with a carpet surface, or attach carpet to the ramp yourself. This’ll make it easier for your Dachshund to walk up and down it. 

A slippery ramp would be dangerous for your Dachshund and defeat the object of using it in the first place – so make sure he has enough grip!

How Much Is A Dog Ramp For A Dachshund?

The price of a dog ramp for a Dachshund varies significantly.

You can buy a dog ramp for a Dachshund on Amazon for as little as £25 or $35, or get a more high-end or custom made dog ramp for around £150 or $210.

You can also get dog ramps in different colours to match your home interior decor.

Can I Make A Dog Ramp For My Dachshund Myself?

Yes, there’s nothing to stop you making a dog ramp for your Dachshund yourself and, in fact, many owners do!

However, you need to be sure the ramp is stable, the incline isn’t too steep, and it has a non-slip surface or carpet so your Dachshund has enough grip to get up and down safely.

Do Dachshunds Like Using A Dog Ramp?

Some Dachshunds love running up and down a ramp, but others are more hesitant. This is mainly a confidence issue or because your Dachshund is older and has always jumped up and down from the sofa in the past.

With consistent training every day combined with lots of attention and tasty treats, you can change your Dachshund’s natural behaviour over time.

However, training a Dachshund when they’re young is much easier than teaching an old dog new tricks!

So, there you have it! To train a Dachshund to use a dog ramp you need to start with it flat on the floor. Place dog treats along the surface of the ramp to encourage your Dachshund to walk along it. In time, you can gradually increase the incline so the ramp ends up against your sofa or bed. It’s best to block off the sides of the ramp until your Dachshund get more confident about using it – safety is always the priority!

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'How to train a dachshund to use a dog ramp' text with photo of a dachshund sat on a dog ramp and a speech bubble that says 'I'm learning to use a ramp'

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