If you wish to invest in a long-lasting companionship entailing thousands of back scratches and a new understanding of the word “pitiful,” then I might suggest to you the noble wiener dog, a.k.a. the dachshund. Members of the hound family, dachsunds were initially bred to hunt badgers (understandable considering their size and proportions). In fact, the German name “dachshund” translates to “badger dog.” Incredibly amiable and brimming with character, this breed makes great pets. However, caring for and coexisting with a miniature dachshund is not so cut and dried as merely feeding and watering them.
From more than a decade of firsthand experience, I can tell you that living with one of these dogs requires that the owner be ever-mindful of the animal’s back above all else. As dachshunds are rather long and portly they are highly prone to back problems and must be cared for accordingly. Never place them anywhere from which they might jump, as they have no concept of gravity. Three feet or 30, it makes no difference in the eyes of a dachshund. Every single time they jump from anything they run a risk of being hurt. Indeed, their spines are predisposed to injury even when bounding from a low chair.
Also important on that note is proper handling of the animal. If you are right-handed, it is best to cradle them in your left arm with your left hand cupping their hind legs, positioning their front legs on your left bicep, with your right hand closing over them for balance. If you are left handed, simply do the inverse of this.
Last, a constant awareness of the dog’s location is critical. One of the primary concerns of owning a wiener dog is being prudent in not stepping on or tripping over it (even regular-sized dachshunds are low enough to the ground to present this hazard). I would suggest a prospective owner place a small bell about the animal’s collar. Unfortunately, when I did this with one of my own dogs she didn’t move a muscle all day (I don’t know if the noise scared her or what was going on).
After some time spent living with one of these little fur-balls, a person comes to find himself always looking down while going about his daily routine. It becomes almost second nature.
Over the last twelve years I’ve had the pleasure of living with two mini dachshunds. The first four I spent with Schweeny, the latter eight with Pubba. Both suffered back injuries and eventually became special needs dogs. But even with those injuries, each managed to recover most of the function in her hind legs (Pubba came to appear as if she had never been injured in the first place). If your dachshund arches its head back for an extended period of time and appears unresponsive to your calls, you should take the animal to a vet at once, as this is one of the hallmark signs that your wiener dog is experiencing back pains.
Keeping all this in mind, an arduous recovery can be avoided altogether if the owner simply remembers to follow this guideline: be careful of the back. So do not be deterred from finding yourself a good wiener dog. They are among the smartest of all breeds, make wonderful companions, and, to be honest, are downright hilarious animals.