Why Do Dachshunds Shake?

One thing that you may have noticed is your dachshund sometimes shaking. So, why do dachshunds shake? and is it anything to be worried about?

Dachshunds shake due to various reasons, with the most likely reason being that they are afraid, anxious, or excited, as well as shivering due to being cold. It could also be due to their prey drive or their natural bred instinct to hunt.

7 Reasons Why Your Dachshund Is Shaking

As you are about to find out below, there are a total of seven different possible causes of your dachshund shaking and shivering.

Do keep in mind that here we aren’t talking about them coming up to you and shaking right after they went for a swim.

We’re talking about shaking that looks more like shivering, just to be clear, and on that note, let’s take a look at the first possible cause of it.

1. Your Doxie is Cold

a cold dachshund outside

One of the most likely causes of your dachshund shaking is quite simply that it is cold. Smaller dogs like dachshunds get colder much faster than larger dogs.

They have less meat, blood, and fur to keep them warm. Holding onto body heat when you barely have a body is not easy. 

If your doxie is outdoors in the fall or winter, and it is shaking, then it’s very likely that it is just shivering due to the cold.

Also, keep in mind that this is more likely to happen with miniature doxies than with standard ones, and yes, this does of course have to do with size. 

Moreover, it’s also much likelier to happen if you have a short haired or smooth haired dachshund, as opposed to a long haired or wire haired dachshund.

Obviously, less fur means less insulation, therefore making short haired miniature doxies the most susceptible to the cold of all dachshunds. 

2. Your Dachshund Is Anxious or Scared

an anxious dachshunds

Another somewhat common reason why your dachshund may be shaking is due to fear or anxiety.

Now, there are many dogs who will shake and shiver when they are scared, anxious, or frightened by something.

This could be because you yelled at them too loudly or you just yelled with them being close by.

It could be due to some kind of physical trauma that made them fearful of a certain object. It could be that they don’t understand why the vacuum makes that super loud noise.

It could also be due to various other loud noises such as fireworks or thunder. Loud and scary noises like a large thunderclap can definitely do it. 

With that all being said, dachshunds are generally not very frightful dogs, quite the opposite in fact.

They tend to be rather curious and brave. Remember, although they might not really look like it, these dogs were bred to be fierce and fearless hunting dogs that would go chase down vicious badgers.

Although it is possible that your wiener dog is shaking with fear, it’s not all that likely. 

3. Shaking with Excitement

excited dachshund on a walk

Another reason why your dachshund might shake and shiver is due to excitement.

Although it’s not super common for dogs to shake like this when they are excited, it is certainly a possibility. 

This could be because they know that they are about to get a super tasty dinner or because they can hear one of their beloved family members parking the car and coming back from a long day of work.

They might be shaking because they know you’re about to throw their favorite ball for them. 

It’s no different than when you win those tickets to see your favorite band in concert or anything else like that.

People, just like dogs, can shake with excitement. This does often happen if your dog has some kind of separation anxiety, especially when the person they miss comes back home.

Excitement is always a good reason to shake. 

4. That Prey Drive

a dachshunds running after prey

Alright, so here we have what is actually one of the most likely, if not the number one most likely reason why your dachshund is shaking, because it’s an instinct driven dog that through hundreds of years of breeding has been bred to hunt and kill. 

Remember, they might not look too ferocious, but dachshund does literally translate from German to badger dog, and yes, these dogs, when it comes to an animal they see as prey, are formidable little hunters. 

Some people might not like to admit that their cute and cuddly little dachshunds are actually little hunters, but this is indeed the case. 

If your dachshund just saw a squirrel or even heard something rustling in the bushes, it will probably start shaking and shivering.

That shaking is just a manifestation of how excited your doxie is to go and hunt.  

5. Possible Pain – Leg Tremors

dachshund with a sore leg

Yet another reason why your dachshund might be shivering is due to pain. Pain can in some cases cause this reaction to occur, although it’s not overly likely, especially with younger dogs. 

However, older doxies may have leg tremors due to old age and possible joint pain, so if your dachshund is a senior and its legs shake a lot, then it probably has joint pain in its legs. 

All of that said, if you don’t see any other signs of pain or discomfort, then the cause of the shaking is quite likely one of the other things that we have talked about or will talk about today. 

6. Your Dachshund Wants Attention

a dachshund wanting attention

Sure, when your dachshund wants attention, it will come up to you, jump on you, nudge you with its snout, bark, nip at you, bring you a toy, and much more.

However, what many people don’t realize is that dogs are much smarter than we give them credit for. 

So, your doxie was shaking outside because they were cold and shivering, and you let it inside.

Well, after this happening a few times, your doxie is probably smart enough to realize that if it shivers, it gets to come inside, or in other words, you respond and give it attention.

The bottom line here is that dogs are quite smart, and they often know how to get their way. It’s not unlike a baby constantly crying during the night because it knows that you will come running. 

Now, this is not to say that you should ignore it when your dachshund shakes and shivers, but do use some common sense here, because it is a possibility that your dachshund knows it will get a response from you if it shivers.

Yes, these little dogs can be devious masterminds and they may very well fake it all to get some love from you.

Barking and bringing toys doesn’t work, let’s see what happens if I shiver some more! 

7. Epilepsy Is A Possibility

Although it’s not a super common occurrence, it is possible for dachshunds to have epilepsy.

If your dog has epilepsy, to be honest, it’s really hard to mistake a seizure for anything else.

Your dog shivering in the cold does not look the same as a seizure. You will definitely know if your dog is having a seizure!

Needless to say, if you notice your dog having seizures, you do want to provide it with immediate medical attention. 

How To Calm Down An Anxious Dachshund

Ok, so this heading assumes that your dachshund is shaking due to be anxious or fearful, which is a definite possibility. 

However, before we talk about how to calm down your anxious dachshund, we do need to say that if the dog is shaking to get your attention, because it knows that shaking and shivering will get a response from you, and you then go to pick up your dog to cuddle and spoil it, then you are doing nothing but encouraging this behavior. 

Your dog is begging for attention, and by giving it, you’re encouraging bad habits. That said, this is something you will need to figure out for yourself.

If it’s begging for attention, you should only provide the attention once the dog stops shaking.

It needs to learn that it can’t bully you into giving it attention whenever it wants. After a while, you should be able to tell why your dog is shivering and shaking. 

What we also want to mention is that if your dachshund is shaking because it just saw a prey animal it wants to kill, then quite honestly, there is really nothing you can do but maybe distract the dog.

From tons of personal experience, when any hunting dog like this catches a scent or sees potential prey running around, all bets are off, common sense goes out the window, and instinct takes over. 

That aside, if your dog is anxious or fearful, and this is the cause of the shivering, then there are some things you can do to calm down your poor little doxie. 


One of the absolute best ways to calm down an anxious dog is to exercise them.

Anxiety general causes a dog to have excessive amounts of energy, so to calm the dog down and to burn off energy, go on a walk, or better yet a run.

Even better is if you play some fetch with them, something that will really burn through that energy.

Moreover, just like with humans, exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, so called feel good chemicals that have the power to relieve stress and anxiety.

It’s no different than you going to the gym to burn off some energy. 

Some Pets & Massaging

Another good way to calm down an anxious dog is to pet and massage them.

When it comes down to it, there is really nothing better to calm down a dog than the simple touch of its owner.

It’s no different than cuddling your child when they feel anxious or sad. There is just something about being physically touched by a person that we know (or that your dog knows), that has a calming effect. 

Music Therapy

Although this one is a little out there as far as dogs are concerned, music therapy has been proven to be benefivial for both people and pets suffering from stress and anxiety.

Some calming music can have a very calming effect on the brain. Scientific studies show that music played on harps and pianos are often the best in terms of the calming effect.

Obviously, playing Metallica’s Enter Sandman probably won’t have the effect you are looking for, so choose wisely. 

Concerns About Rewarding Anxious Behavior

Now, with all of that being said, it does need to be noted that many modern canine psychologists, based on real studies, recommend that if a dog is anxious or fearful, you actually should not acknowledge it at all. 

Acknowledging your dog’s fear will teach it that it was right to be afraid, and it will encourage anxiety in the future. 

Petting your dog and giving it attention when it is anxious may actually be like giving your dog a reward for its anxiety, and if you reward behavior, then it’s much likelier to keep occurring.

It’s really difficult to know one way or another, so this is a choice that you will have to make on your own. 

When Should I See A Vet?

Ok, so what you need to do here more than anything else is to use some common sense.

Obviously, you aren’t going to go to the vet because your dog is fearful of thunder, because it wants attention, or because it wants to kill the squirrel living in your backyard tree, but when do you need to be concerned?

Below are some tips or examples of cases where shaking and shivering may call for a trip to the vet. 

Ok, so if your dog has an epileptic attack, or in other words, a seizure, then you obviously need to go to the vet.

If it looks like your dog is shaking and shivering because it is cold, but the ambient temperature doesn’t call for it.

Being unnecessarily cold may be a sign of more serious underlying health conditions. Circulation issues as well as issues concerning blood sugar levels may lead to feeling cold.

If your dachshund is shaking and has leg tremors, then you want to go to a vet because it is very likely that your dachshund is having joint pain, particularly in the knees and maybe the hips too. 

If your dog is super fearful and scared of everything, and you think it might have some kind of mental issue going on, like an anxiety disorder (or if it has been traumatized), then you need to bring your dachshund to a dog behavioralist or a dog psychologist.

Just like with humans, there are doctors for physical ailments and doctors for mental ailments. 


The bottom line here is that if your dachshund is shaking, chances are that it wants to hunt something it sees as prey, that it is cold, that it is anxious or fearful, or that it wants your attention.

In the grand scheme of things, a bit of shaking usually doesn’t call for a visit to the vet.