Lift With Love: How To Pick Up A Dachshund The Proper Way

Grasping the essence of how to pick up a dachshund safely is pivotal given their unusual proportions—long backs, short legs—as specific attention is needed to preserve their delicate spine. Keep reading to master this simple, yet critical skill.

mini dapple dachshund dog standing in green field

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Why It Matters: Preventing Dachshund Back Issues

I have lived with dogs my entire life, and at no point did I feel like I needed specific instruction when picking them up. Of course, I wanted to ensure they were comfortable and not upset by the experience. But otherwise, the process was pretty straightforward.

Then I became a first-time dachshund parent. And the reality is embarking on life with a dachshund, affectionately coined wiener dog or sausage dog, comes with a new and important learning curve. 

And that is because a stark statistic that shadows the lives of these beloved animals is that a high percentage of them suffer from back issues, specifically intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).

If you don’t have time to get into all the details right now, save the below pin for later.

title of how to hold your wiener with image of mini dapple dachshund dog sleeping on bed

 This condition is notably prevalent due to their delicate spine, long backs, and unusual proportions. It’s estimated that up to 25% of dachshunds will experience some form of spinal injury in their lifetime. This underscores the absolute necessity of mastering the proper way to support their long spines and entire body.

The reality is, that without the right knowledge on how to lift and carry these wiener dogs, you could be unwittingly putting them at risk. Mastering a stable holding position, ensuring the dog’s back is aligned, and keeping their body level are not just suggestions, but imperative practices to prevent such spinal injuries.

Understanding Your Dachshund’s Anatomy

A dachshund’s unusual proportions – those signature long backs stretched atop notably short legs – make them undeniably cute but carry a cautionary tale. And that is because those stubby little legs, in reality, offer scant support for such an elongated spine.

If your dachshund is anything like my Froda, you’ll know all too well that their unique body shape isn’t a complete disadvantage. Froda is often able to use her long neck and back to get exactly what she wants. And she can sleep in the oddest of positions!

mini dapple dachshund dog sleeping on red couch

However, although she twists her own body in creative ways, I know that I have to be more careful when handling her. Without proper support when lifted off the ground, her neck and spine are exposed to unnecessary and potentially damaging stress.

For dogs that do end up with IVDD, the most common point of injury is around the thoracolumbar region (middle back) followed by the cervical spine (neck). In other words, those areas not directly supported by the legs are most susceptible to injury. 

drawing of dachshund showing where spinal injuries are most common

The Right Way to Pick Up a Dachshund

First things first, understanding that dachshunds, with their long backs and short legs, require a bit of a special approach is key. So, let me guide you through how to pick up a dachshund…the right way.

Initially, place one hand securely under the dog’s chest. This not only supports their upper body but also prevents any strain on that delicate spine.

Next, gently scoop the dog’s rump with your other hand, ensuring their hind quarters are comfortably supported. The aim here is to keep their entire body level and aligned, avoiding any awkward bending or twisting that could put their long spines at risk.

Remember, the aim is to protect those unusual proportions from unnecessary stress. By lifting them in this fully supported position, you contribute significantly to preventing spinal injuries and maintaining their well-being. There’s a lot of love that goes into lifting them the right way!

mini dapple dachshund being picked up with two hands

The Right Way to Carry a Dachshund

Once you’ve securely lifted your dachshund by supporting their delicate spine and aligning their long, unusual proportions, carrying them properly is the next crucial step. You can continue to carry your pup with both arms, one supporting the chest area with the other supporting the hind quarters.

Or, depending on your size compared to that of your dachshund, you can move to a single-arm carry.

Simply take the arm that is currenlty supporting the rump, and move it forward under your pup’s chest. Continue to support the rest of the spine, all the way to your dog’s rear, with the length of your arm.

For further support, and to keep strain off your own arm, carry your dog close to your chest. And make sure to keep your dachshund’s entire body level at all times. Ensure from chest to rear, along with the entire spine in-between, remains supported to minimize any strain.

Additionally, watch for any signs of distress, such as vocalization or even signs of aggression. There are indications that your dachshund is uncomfortable and that their body may not be not properly supported. 

mini dapple dachshund being held with two hands
mini dapple dachshund being held with one arm

The Right Way to Place a Dachshund Back Down

Once you’ve scooped up your dachshund, ensuring their delicate spine and entire body are properly supported, placing them back down requires the same level of gentleness and precision.

Always ensure you’re close to the ground before gently easing their stubby little legs towards the floor. The goal is to keep their long back and body level, minimizing any strain on their unusual proportions.

It’s not just about preventing spinal injuries; it’s about lovingly acknowledging the special care these lovable sausage dogs demand. So, as you lower their rear end and front legs, keep their entire body supported until all four paws are firmly and safely on the ground at the same time.

mini dapple dachshund being placed back on the ground
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Common Mistakes to Avoid

Not everyone knows the harm in the seemingly simple act of picking up these sausage dogs the wrong way. I am speaking from first-hand experience as I’ve witnessed many of our friends and family try to pick up Froda with the completely wrong approach.

Now, before anyone holds Froda, adults and kids alike, we give them a quick lesson on how to pick up a dachshund, as well as explain why the “how” is so important. 

With all that said, here are some dachshund-handling approaches to definitely avoid.

First, grabbing them by their upper body, as many people tend to do with dogs, immediately puts pressure on their delicate spine, so it is important to break this habit. Equally, you should never grab or pull them from their back legs.

Another common approach to picking up a dog is to grab them from the middle of the back. But, again, given their extra long spine, this approach means that pressure will be put on that vulnerable center back from two different directions. Therefore, this should 100% be avoided.

title of how not to hold your wiener with images of incorrect ways of holding a dachshund

Enhancing Your Dachshund’s Well-being

Adopting the right way to lift and cradle your dachshund isn’t just about following instructions; it’s an act of love.

By embracing the proper techniques for supporting their delicate spine, ensuring their long backs and entire body are level, and safeguarding their unusual proportions, you’re committing to their well-being.

Knowing the correct method of how to pick up a dachshund isn’t just about preventing spinal injuries or back issues; it’s about enhancing your bond with these delightful sausage dogs, making every lift a gesture of our enduring care and affection. Because if you are lucky enough to have a dachshund, you know just how much care and affection they give to us!

mini dapple dachshund dog standing next to purple flowers

FAQs: How to Hold a Dachshund

Can I lift my dachshund by their front legs?

Definitely not. Lifting your sausage dog by their front legs puts immense pressure on their long spine and delicate spine, risking serious spinal injuries. It’s crucial to support their entire body. 

Is it okay to let children carry dachshunds?

Yes, but with guidance. Children must learn the correct way to hold a dachshund, keeping the dog’s back level and supporting both the chest and the rear end to prevent back issues. 

How often can I lift my dachshund?

While there’s no set limit, always use the proper technique to lift them, ensuring you cradle their long body and keep their back aligned to avoid any undue strain on their long backs and short legs. 

What are the signs my dachshund is uncomfortable being held?

Signs of distress may include squirming, vocalizing, or attempting to leap from your arms. Always ensure you’re supporting their upper body and hind legs appropriately to minimize discomfort. 

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. Each post reflects both my research and my personal experiences (as well as those of my pups). Always contact your veterinarian before making changes to your dog’s routine, trying out new toys and activities, and introducing new foods. Every dog is different, and what works for my furry family may not work for yours.

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