Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dachshund 101 - Life Partners...

If you believe the news dachshunds are the latest must-have fashion trend. For those of us who are owned by dachshunds that strikes fear into our hearts. We know that getting a dachshund needs to be a serious decision, and one not entered into lightly.

Like deciding to get married, deciding to get a dachshund means committing to be its life partner.

In fact, with today's divorce rate, and the dachshund life expectancy of 10-20 years, the relationship you have with a dachshund may well outlast many marriages.

Over the course of your relationship you will be groomer, dietician, chauffeur, trainer, mentor, confidante, policeman, prison guard,  attorney, mediator, counselor, emergency responder, landscaper, architect, teacher, physical therapist, body guard, accountant, trustee, power of attorney, agent, guardian, and BFF.

Getting a dachshund without researching where it comes from is like taking the first pretty young thing you meet in Vegas and racing off to the Elvis chapel to tie the knot before the effects of the last five cocktails wears off. It might seem like a good idea at the time but you are in for a hell of a suprise when the hangover kicks in.

Wait til you find out about the in-laws. There is the chance they are actually living in a miserable trailer park,  him with a bad back and a worse attitude (oh and both of those could be hereditary), and she's been  been pushing out a couple of litters a year until her body gave out while the landlord cashes the welfare checks.

But of course most of you will do your research and find a responsible breeder who put the welfare of the dogs first. You've met the parents, courted you dachshund prince or princess for a while and you're sure that this is THE ONE.

Do you know what you're getting into?

In sickness and in health, 'til debt do us part...

When something goes wrong with your dachshund, and at some point it probably will, it is going to be expensive.  This could mean replacing carpets (dachshunds are notoriously hard to toilet train), hiring a behaviorist (small dog syndrome and anxiety are common problems with this breed), dealing with preventable genetic diseases (back problems like IVDD can cost thousands to treat, without guarantees of success, not to mention PRA...) and making sure you're paying your pet insurance bill to help fund it all.

And a pretty partner is going to want pretty things...

Dachshunds are small but playful.  If you want to keep your possessions in a decent state these dogs are going to need toys to play with, and maybe a friend. And they will rearrange your decor.  You end up discovering your house isn't as flat as you thought it was, and the furniture is higher than you imagined.  In come the ramps.

He or she will never;
  • pay for dinner
  • remember your anniversary
  • understand your wanting to go out for a drink with your mates
  • make the bed
  • do the vacuuming
  • care if they let their figure go or understand when you say they need to go on a diet

The honeymoon period

That moment when you get your puppy home and it is just so cute with those beautiful come hither eyes. You'll be taking pictures and having cuddles and all your friends and family will smile at you indulgently.

You may need to say good bye to your sex life.  For most dachshund owners it won't be long before you (or worse - your partner) lets the new dog sleep in the bed...

You'll be changing your holiday plans when you realise that your dachshund is not a dog who will happily trot off to a kennel while you tour Europe.  You will need a minder.  That's achievable of course, but then you have to be ok with being away from them for a length of time...
You will fear for their safety when you're not around.  Of course these days you can facetime them from wherever you are which helps.

After the initial honeymoon period most people will start to get tired of hearing about your dog. People who don't own a dachshund will be sick to death of you talking about yours.  But that's ok, cos you'll be socializing exclusively with other people who own dachshunds...

You dachshund will, at some point embarrass you in public.  You will drive home together in stoney silence, blood pressure through the roof and your dog will have no idea what they did wrong.  Be that bark like crazy at a rottweiler, terrorize a terrier, frighten a small child (or steal its ice cream), pee on someone's handbag, pull some random discarded piece of underwear out of a public toilet, bite the vet...

Some people have compared getting a dachshund with having a baby, but most dachshund owners think kids are easier.  At some point you can reason with children and send them to school. Children  grow up, and most of them leave home...

Paying maintenance

Unlike a marriage where you wait until after the divorce before paying maintenance, you'll be paying from the moment you meet your dachshund. I've seen someone write that people get dachshunds because they are low maintenance.  I don't know where they are getting that idea from. My partner compares dachshunds to a Fiat.

The dachshund is a German breed, but frankly (pardon the pun) not their best work.  It appears German's don't design dogs the way they design cars... 

The nickname of the FIAT is "Fix IT Again Tony". Someone who's owned one will probably get another, but will warn everyone one else off.

They look awesome and everyone stares at you when you go past - but they aren't cheap or easy to own or maintain.

They are rarely practical, expensive to fix when they go wrong (and they often do), temperamental, have limited boot space, no clearance, the parts are EXPENSIVE and hard to come by, the build quality is variable - make sure ou know where it is coming from and that the person who put it together knows what they are doing, and even if they do, sometime you will get a Friday job anyway, and that's yours to deal with for the next 15 years.

Second Marriages

There is the option of adopting a rescue dachshund.  These will usually be a more mature dog.  I think of it like going through a reputable dating agency, though perhaps it is like some traditionally arranged marriages... Either way, there is some matching up of life styles, exceptions, likes and dis-likes.  You're both coming to the relationship with a bit of baggage most of the time - there is a good chance this isn't your first dog. These second marriages are often the happiest.  Your new dachshund appreciates things he or she never got to experience before.  You are saved the heady madness of late nights and stumbling about in the dark.

A good relationship takes work

Having said all of that, if you know what you are committing to for the next 10-20 years of your life and you're willing to work on the relationship, you will know something very special.  There will be some heart break - guaranteed, but there will also be love and laughter and shared memories

Like any relationship, if you work out it you will reap the rewards.  Make sure you certain you're ready to commit.

Other information

Why not a dachshund?
A responsible breeder
Common health issues

Thanks to our members Elisa, Gabrielle and Lucy for the engagement and wedding pictures.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent read. Fuuny, but all so true!