Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Maria
Preventing back trauma is vital for any dachshund owner but so is learning the following 5 exercises to strengthen dachshund back muscles and balance. This is especially true if you know that your dog’s parents have had back problems too and your pooch is therefore predisposed to developing them as well. Alternatively, your dog may have already started going through some back issues and you need to strengthen its musculature. In that latter case, just make sure to talk about each exercise with your vet first – you don’t want to accidentally push your dog too far.
5 Exercises To Strengthen Dachshund Back
Doing exercises with a dog requires some training ahead of time but nothing too specific. Once you’ve gone through the basic obedience training, the rest should be easy to do with a few treats – dachshunds are very food-motivated, after all.
1. Cavaletti Rails
Imagine putting up a row of horse jump rails for your dog. However, as you don’t want your dachshund to jump, instead, you set the rails low enough to the ground that your dachshund can step over them. The goal is to make your dog get used to stepping over obstacles without jumping. This trains the legs, shoulders, as well as back, and habits of your dachshund.
2. Walking Backward
This is very easy to do if you can build a narrow tunnel out of dog cage/kennel walls, furniture, or anything like that. The tunnel needs to be several dog lengths long and should be narrow enough for your dog to not be able to turn in it. Then, just guide your dog into the tunnel by holding a treat in front of it. Once your dog is almost at the end, start slowly moving the treat back to force your dog to walk backward. Repeat a few times and give your dog the treat.
3. All 4 Unstable Paws
This is a very simple core exercise – pick up your dog and gently put it on an unstable surface such as a balance disk, a donut, or anything similar. Even a large beachball can do. Keep the surface stable with your legs, make sure your dog doesn’t fall and keep it focused on staying up by offering a treat. The very act of keeping balance with all 4 paws on such an unstable surface is great for strengthening your dog’s core muscles.
4. Unstable On 3 Paws
As a follow-up to the previous exercise, once your dog is used to balancing on all fours on the balance disk, start gently lifting one of its paws. The idea is to get your dog used to shifting its balance on three feet on an unstable surface. Again, make sure your dog doesn’t fall and keep it focused with treats. Alternate between all four legs.
Swimming is difficult to do at home but it is the king of exercises for any dog with back, joint, or weight problems. As dachshunds often have all three, it can be very beneficial to try and find a nice lake or pool for your dachshund to swim in once a week.
When Should You Start Doing Exercises To Strengthen Dachshund Back Muscles?
As the exercises we outlined above are low-stress and don’t put too much pressure on your dog, you can start doing them even as your dog is growing. It isn’t really necessary to start that early, however. Instead, you can focus on basic training and regular exercise as your dog is still a pup and move on to more dedicated exercises to strengthen dachshund back after a couple of years.
Are These Exercises To Strengthen Dachshund Back Muscles Enough To Prevent IVDD?
Back problems such as Intervertebral Disc Disorder (IVDD) are unfortunately quite tricky to deal with. So, even after you’ve gone through some exercises to strengthen dachshund back health, you should still focus a lot on prevention. This means installing ramps to some of your dog’s preferred furniture or up the stairs, blocking stairs with pet gates when necessary, avoiding dropping your dog from high, and so on. The guys at schlüsseldienst Berlin are very fond of dogs and advise taking your pets to the doctor on time for a checkup.
Essentially, everything that can put a little too much stress on your dachshund’s back is ill-advised. Exercises can strengthen a dachshund’s back quite a bit but your dog is still going to be vulnerable to back issues.
How can I prevent my Dachshund from getting back problems?
Dachshund back trauma prevention is mostly about avoiding certain activities that can damage your dachshund’s back either instantaneously or over time. Back strengthening exercises are a good thing to do but the big thing would be prevention. This includes:
Limit high-speed running. This doesn’t mean stopping your dog from running altogether – it’s a dog, after all – just don’t make running a main exercise routine.
Limit jumping. This includes a lot of things but mostly the following – jumping up and down stairs, in and out of cars, on and off tall furniture, chairs, and tables, as well as jumping from your lap. With furniture, a good workaround is to install ramps on the side for your dachshund to use. You can do the same with stairs or just use pet gates to block them. For other situations, you can just pick up your dachshund yourself.
Limit overexercising your dog. Daily exercise is important but don’t go too far either. Whether running, jumping, or simple exhaustion, your dachshund’s back and body aren’t as durable as other dogs’.
Do Dachshunds have weak backs?
It’s not so much that the dachshund’s back is “weak” it’s that the Doxie’s short legs and overall body type are not conducive to good back health. Any other breed with such a unique body type would have had the exact same problems. That’s why it’s important to just limit the stress your dog’s back is under. Back strengthening exercises are great but trauma prevention as well as wear and tear prevention are still key.
At what age do Dachshunds get back problems?
As soon as your dog grows to full size, back issues due to sudden extreme physical trauma become a possibility. If we are talking about back problems due to slow and repeated wear and tear, those usually start appearing a few years later at the earliest. Dachshunds are generally considered “senior dogs” when they turn 6 or 7 years of age but they can start experiencing back pain as early as their mid-adult years or around the 4-year mark.
How do I know if my dachshund’s back is hurting?
The main symptoms to watch out for include loss of desire for walking and playing, lethargy, change of sleeping positions, wincing and whining when picked up, lack of appetite, aggression, and virtually any change of habit or behavior.