Dachshund’s natural instinct
Let’s start by getting to know a bit more about this adorable breed.
With their long bodies and adorable short legs, these wieners were originally bred as hunting dogs. That’s right; they have an innate instinct to explore and track scents.
And regular exercise is key to satisfying their adventurous spirit and channelling their boundless energy.
Tailoring exercises for different life stages
Now that you know our cheeky dachshunds are hunters with adventurous spirits, the next question is, how much should you exercise them?
When my dog was a puppy, I recall my breeder telling me not to walk him for more than 15 minutes, because his legs were still growing and walking him too much might cause strains to his back.
But my vet told me it’s ok to walk for about 30 minutes and even longer as long as he was ok to walk.
Who to trust?
Turn out the duration of exercises (or walks) should be different depending on their age.
Let’s break it down:
Puppies: These little bundles of joy are bursting with energy! They require short, frequent bursts of exercise throughout the day. So aim for multiple short walks or play sessions to prevent overexertion while their growing bodies are still developing.
5–10 minutes a few times a day will be enough to tire them out and keep them from chewing your favourite pair of shoes.
Adult: Once your dachshund reaches adulthood, you should increase the exercise time to a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour. This includes a walk or interactive playtime.
Of course, each dachshund is different, so adjust the duration based on your dog’s individual needs.
I’ve seen my friend's dog complained (well, they are wieners but also whiners) and refused to walk.
In a situation like this, it’s best to take a break and continue to walk after, instead of holding them.
It isn't easy as sometimes you are in a group walk and don’t want to be left behind. But once you hold them, they would believe it was their routine. They would make it a habit of only to walk a little and let you hold them.
And holding them will defeat the purpose of helping them to maintain a healthy weight and get mental stimulation. So toughen up and let them do the walking.
Elderly Dachshunds: As your dachshunds approach their senior years, their exercise requirements naturally decrease.
But that doesn’t mean you should just let them be couch potatoes.
At this time of their life, move on to shorter, gentle walks and add more interactive playtime at home to keep their mind sharp.
The back issue
Many dachshund owners concern if certain activity such as walking too much, running or swimming can cause pressure on their dachshunds' back and lead to IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease).
I am not a veterinarian, so below isn't my professional advice.
But as far as my research goes, there has been no report on excessive walking triggered dachshund's back problems. Most resources even encouraged dachshunds to walk, swim and even run, as long as they are an adult dog with no back injury, fit and healthy.
Cooper loves his walk (unless it's in the middle of winter and that's because he hates the cold) and his hikes. He is agile and hikes even better than me.
And that leads us to…
In conclusion, the answer to how much should you walk your dachshunds really depends. As a general rule of thumb, 15 minutes for puppies, shorter duration but more frequently. 30 minutes to an hour for adults and shorter, gentle walks for elderly dogs.
I aim to walk 10,000 steps daily, which leads to about 8km (or 5 miles), and Cooper can happily walk those distances with me without stopping.
Regular exercise is a vital part of keeping your dachshund physically fit, and of course, keeping you fit too.
Now put on a cute outfit made for the dachies, grab that leash, strap on your runners and enjoy some paw-some bonding time with your little wiener.