Crate training a dachshund puppy: The complete guide

Crate training a dachshund puppy

Dachshunds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the US, they are the starlets of the hound family, with their vivacious, friendly, and Spunky personality along with their long, low silhouette they are always the center of attention.

However, you should not let those big eyes fool you, dachshunds were bred to hunt badgers and other tunneling animals, rabbits, and foxes and stay focused and follow a trail without distraction, meaning if they are concentrated on something interesting it will be difficult to get their attention.

Dachshunds are known for being intelligent, independent, and stubborn so crate training a dachshund puppy could be a challenge.

Early socialization and positive reward training have proved to be the most effective way to crate train a dachshund, they are very sensitive dogs and do not react very well to punishment and severe commands.

To crate train a dachshund you’ll need to create positive associations with the crate through the use of treats and games along with enough exercise.

Dachshunds although a small size breed, require regular exercise to stay fit and build their strong muscular body that will support their long back.

How to crate train a dachshund puppy?

How to crate train a dachshund puppy

The first step into crate training a dachshund is not to look at it through the human perspective of being caged or imprisoned, dogs are naturally denning animals that feel safe and calm in a small intimate space that provides a sense of security.

Creating a positive association with the crate through food toys and games is the most effective way to crate train a dog, enforcing good behavior with a positive reward system is the most adequate to the dachshund independent and stubborn persona.

Step 1: Choose the Right Crate for Your Dog

Choosing the perfect crate for your dog is important, the crate is where he’ll be sleeping at night and relaxing during the day so you want it to be comfortable and perfectly-sized.

Best crate for a dachshund

Through our experience in crate training dogs, we can with confidence recommend the Midwest Ultima Pro Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate (check the current price at Amazon).

There are three reasons why we believe this crate is the best not only for crate training a dachshund puppy but for crate training overall with a few exceptions for super aggressive dogs.

  • In this crate, unlike the plastic crate, the dog is able to see what’s going on around him when first exploring it without feeling trapped which makes the early stages of crate training easier.
  • It has double doors which makes it even easier for the dog to explore it and get in and out of it.
  • It comes with a free divider that will help you adjust the size of the crate as your dog is growing without having to change crates every couple of months or using one that is too large for the puppy.

All three points are very helpful at the early stages of the crate training process hen it’s still very hard to get your dog interested in getting in the crate.

Crate size for dachshund

A lot of dog parents make the mistake of buying a very large crate for small and medium-size dogs thinking bigger is always better but is it?

So what is your criteria when choosing the perfect size crate for your dachshund?

  • The crate has to be larger than the dog so he can be comfortable enough in it, which is obvious.
  • It should not be too big for the dog or else he will sleep in one corner and turn the other corner into a potty corner, so it has to be only a few inches larger.
  • The dog has to be able to stand up, lay down and turn around in the crate without touching the borders.

That being said, what is the best crate size for a dachshund?

A standard dachshund measures: 8-9 inches in height, 21.5-25 inches in length, and Weights 16-32 pounds, so the best size crate is the 31L x 21.25W x 23.75H inches crate.

Crate size for miniature dachshund

The miniature dachshund measures: 5-6 inches in height, 14.5-20 inches in length, and Weights under 11 pounds, so the best size crate is the 25L x 18.75W x 20.5 inches crate.

Step 2: Introduction to the crate

Your dog should never be introduced to something hen it’s time to do it, meaning you have to properly introduce your dachshund puppy to his crate before it’s time to sleep in it.

It is best to start early in the morning to give your dachshund enough time to explore his crate, dogs are naturally curious so use that to your advantage and take your dog with the leash on and let him sniff around the crate.

At this step the double door metal crate we recommended earlier comes in handy, the dog is able to get in and out of the crate very easily making this introduction phase really easy.

You want to secure the crate’s doors open to avoid any sudden incidents that might freak out the puppy or make him feel trapped, first impressions are what counts the most.

Step 3: Exploring the crate

At this point, you want your dachshund to explore his crate and get inside it, and the best way to do it is by luring him inside using treats.

Make sure you use some low-calorie training treats not to disturb the dog’s daily calorie intake, the one we recommend is Zuke’s Mini Naturals Dog Training Treats (check the price at Amazon).

Start by tossing a couple of treats inside the crate and when your dog gets inside to get it, reward with another and verbal praise.

Dachshunds are smart dogs, if you keep doing that yours will soon associate being in the crate with receiving the treats, and that’s exactly what you want to do create a good association with the crate.

You want to use more verbal praise and rubs than actual treats so your dachshund is not only working on treats but trying to please you as well.

Step 4: Feeding in the crate

Feeding is a happy time for dogs, and it makes crate training a dachshund easier to use food to associate it with the crate.

We can all remember the Pavlovian conditioning theory from science class when a biologically potent stimulus (food) is paired with a neutral stimulus (in the study bell and in our case a crate) to get a response from the dog.

Feeding your dachshund his meals in the crate will create a positive association with the crate, and while your dog is feeding you can close the crate and keep increasing the time he spends in there.

The time your dachshund puppy spends in the crate after his meals needs to be increased gradually, you want to serve him his meals in the crate close the door and build up from there.

With the first few meals, you need to be sitting next to the crate to reassure your dog that it is ok to be in the crate and you are there for him.

Step 5: Introducing chew toys

Chew toys for crate training a dachshund puppy

When your dog finishes his meal in the crate you need him to stay in there for a while and you are trying to increase that time, but if the dog gets bored he’ll start rejecting the crate.

Thankfully, chew toys are here to save the day, using the chew toy will keep your dog busy and distracted in his crate fr a while, that is why we strongly recommend using the Kong Chew Toy (check the current price at Amazon).

The Kong is the best chew toy for crate training, it does such a great job keeping the dog busy, you can fill out the hollow part of the kong with treats making a great food puzzle that will keep your dog distracted for a while.

That is why you always want to have an extra chew toy in case one gets too mangled or damaged and you should always inspect it and if it is too damaged you need to retire it.

Your dachshund can have access to his chew toys in the crate at all times, using those you can slowly increase the time he spends in the crate after his meals.

Step 6: Preparing your dachshund for the crate

A crate is a place where the dog goes to relax and den up, that’s why he needs to be low on energy when he gets in there.

When your dog gets enough exercise he is more willing to stay in the crate and just relax, and how much exercise each dog needs will depend on the breed.

Like we’ve mentioned earlier dachshunds require more exercise than just running around the house, two walks every day of moderated length are more than enough along with some playtime at home.

We found through experience crate training dogs that having an interactive play session before feeding in the crate gives the best results, often the dog is lo on energy and more willing to take a nap or just lay down and chew on his toy.

These interactive play sessions should take place only before the dog goes to the crate using what’s called interactive dog toys.

We recommend using rope toys they are the most fun and easier for you to interact with your dog, it is best to get an assortment of toys so the dog doesn’t get bored you can check this set of rope toys at Amazon.

Unlike chew toys, interactive toys are only used when you are playing with your dog and taken away once the play session is over.

I strongly recommend watching this video of Ian Stone from the Simpawtico channel he does a great job explaining how to use the different types of toys.

Step 7: Spending alone time in the crate

This step is the moment of truth, this is what you’ve been building up to through the entire crate training process, but you need to be patient and take it slowly.

If at this point your dachshund is spending time in the crate after his meals with the crate doors closed then he is ready for the next step; being alone in the crate.

You want to start very gently, up to this point you’ve been around his crate when he’s feeding and while he’s relaxing and enjoying he’s chew toy, now you want to start moving around and leaving the room occasionally for short periods of time.

The goal for the dog is not to freak out and feel abandoned in the crate, you can leave the room for a couple of minutes then pass by his crate again and praise him for being a good boy.

What matters in this process is consistency so you have to be patient and keep doing what you’ve been doing and increase the time you spend away from him, this way your dachshund puppy is slowly getting used to being alone in the crate.

The goal I always set up to leave the room is half an hour, if your puppy is showing no objections and isn’t freaking out and barking/whining in his crate while you are away for 30 minutes then he’s ready.

Step 8: Pairing the crate with a playpen

You might be wondering why would you be using a playpen when you are working on crate training a dachshund puppy! The answer is the dachshund personality itself.

Most dog breeds can be left alone for a few hours, but dachshunds are on the very sensitive side of that, they can be left alone for a while but they do not handle it very well.

So using a playpen during the day would be ideal to provide for your dachshund puppy more space to play and run around and use the crate at night.

We recommend using the Midwest Folding Metal Exercise Pen (check current price at Amazon) mainly because it connects to the metal crate we suggested using and creates a den-like area with enough room for your dachshund to play and still have access to his crate when he needs to be in it.

Step 9: Crate training a dachshund at night

Crate training at night is intimidating for most pet parents, but it is really easier than the day since the dog is already exhausted and ready to sleep.

If you do a great job introducing and pairing your dog to his crate, and create a positive association you will have no issues making the dog sleep in his crate at night.

What if my dachshund puppy starts whining at night

Unless you are really lucky and your dog loves his crate from day one, your dog will probably start whining at night, it is very normal it’s a new place for him and he needs time to adjust.

There are a few steps you can follow to make the process easier at night:

  • Make sure the puppy has plenty of exercise during the day so he is more willing to sleep.
  • You should stop watering your dog at least 2 hours before his bedtime so he doesn’t wake up at night too many times to pee.
  • Place the crate in your bedroom or somewhere close where you can hear the puppy when he wakes up for a potty break

If you’ve done all this and still your dachshund puppy is whining in his crate at night, you should ignore it at first, yes you’ve read right, ignore the puppy.

It may sound cruel to ignore your dog while whining in his crate but if you let him out while still whining he’ll know it’s the way out of the crate and he’ll keep doing it and it’s going to get worst.

Most dogs will stop after a few minutes, but if yours doesn’t then you should break his whining cycle before you let him out.

Just talk to him or gently tap on his crate to get his attention, usually, it’s enough to make him stop, for the first few nights you may have to wake up a few times but if you stay your ground and calm your dog and reassure him in the crate your dachshund puppy will get used to sleeping in his crate.

The don’ts of crate training a dachshund puppy

The crate training process is almost similar for all dogs, the steps are the same but every dog has his own personality and reacts differently to certain situations, so here is a list of don’ts when crate training a dachshund puppy that is known for being stubborn:

  • Do not force your dog into the crate, dachshunds are stubborn dogs and if they hate something you’re not going to make them love it by forcing it.
  • Do not use the crate to punish the dog, it will create a bad association with the crate and that’s going to make crate training really hard.
  • Do not use harsh commands and punishment, dachshunds do best with positive, reward-based training.
  • Do not overdo it take things slow and be patient, crate training is all about consistency.
  • Do not crate your dachshund for too long.

Is it harder to crate train a dachshund?

Is it hard to crate train a dachshund puppyIs it hard to crate train a dachshund puppy

If you do a good job following the crate training steps and create a great positive association with the crate dachshunds would be as easy to crate train as any other dog breed.

However, not all of us are professional dog trainers or experienced do parents, and you may have some setbacks when crate training or get too excited and start rushing the process, so you have to always keep in mind that Dachshunds are stubborn and it’s never easy to get their attention.

Bred to stay focused on a track and not to lose concentration if they are locked on something they find interesting it is hard to get their attention. This could be a hard thing to deal with or a quality if you do a great job making the crate interesting.

All in all, dachshunds are intelligent dogs and eager to please their owner, so consider their personality traits as qualities and use them to your advantage.

How long can you leave a dachshund in the crate?

Dachshunds do not like to be left alone in general, and being in a crate alone can be even worst for them, that’s why they should not be crated for more than two hours at a time twice a day at most.

Anything more than two hours could make your dachshund puppy depressed or aggressive, so if you live alone and work a full-time 9 to 5 job crate training is not the answer, and that is why we’ve included the playpen as a solution to keep your dog confined during the day.

If you are able to take your dog out of the crate for a while have some playtime and go for a walk dachshunds would have no trouble staying in the crate for a while.

Can you crate train an adult dachshund?

Can you crate train an adult dachshund

Of course, you can crate train an adult dachshund, but the answer would be is it worth it?

Crate training an adult dog in general and a dachshund, in particular, is harder and takes longer, because crate training a puppy is as simple as teaching your puppy new habits, adult dogs on the other hand you have to deal with old habits and then teach new ones.

Besides the fact that it is much harder and it takes longer what benefits could you and your adult dachshund get from crate training?

  • Your dog will have his personal intimate safe place where he can relax.
  • It makes the vet visits easier, and there will be more frequent as your dog gets older.
  • You can include your dog in your travels and outdoor activities.
  • You can enjoy having guests and kids around without worrying about your dog.
  • In case of an emergency evacuation or a disaster, it’s more convenient.
  • provides safety hen dogs undergo stressful events.
  • Finally, you should always know where your dog dens up in case of an emergency.

Check out this article about crate training adult dogs for more information about the process and how to do it.

Is crate training an adult dachshund cruel?

Crate training is considered cruel when we look at it from a human perspective, the dog’s needs are different than ours.

We like space and would get as much as we can afford, but a dog would still go under some table or behind a couch to relax.

The den instinct in dogs is what makes them feel comfortable in a crate that we might see as a cage.

Adult dogs are no different to puppies the instincts and needs remain the same, and they will den up anyway so it would be better to have some control over where he does it.

When abused or used for punishment, crate training could be considered cruel, but the very core idea of crate training is the opposite and it’s creating a safe and personal place for your dog.

How long does it take to crate train a dachshund?

It depends, is never an answer anyone likes to hear, but it’s the only answer we can give, there are too many factors that would influence how long it takes to crate train a dachshund puppy.

For some dogs, it takes only a few weeks while others need a few months to be properly crate trained.

Being a dog trainer or an experienced pet parent who’s done it before makes it faster and easier, but this should not discourage beginners.

Following the guide and steps e provided and some common sense will help you crate train your dachshund puppy efficiently and faster.

It’s usually the do not’s that set you back and make the process take longer, be patient and take things slow don’t move to the next step unless you’re sure the previous one is done properly.

What you should know is that each and every dog is different, even the most experienced dog trainers could take several months to crate train a dog if the dog isn’t willing to cooperate.

What’s important for you is that dachshunds as a breed do not particularly take longer to crate train, and to give you an estimate on average most dogs are crate trained within three months, that’s the best answer I can give such a vague question.

Does crate training a dachshund help with his potty training?

Crate training is indeed the best way to potty train a new puppy, dogs are fairly clean animals and would rather not to pee or poop where they sleep.

Choosing a perfectly sized crate is important, a puppy in a large crate will eat and sleep in a corner and do his business in the opposite corner.

When the puppy is too young the crate with a divider is the best and cheapest solution, you can adjust the size of the crate as the puppy grows always providing just enough the necessary space for him.

When crate training a dachshund puppy, you need to be always watching for any signs of the puppy needing to get out for his business.

Another useful tip is to always take your dog for his walk/business just before he goes in the crate to minimize the number of breaks he needs while in the crate.

At night young puppies will probably need to wake up for a break at night, dachshunds have small bladders as puppies and would need to wake up at least once.

What if my dachshund puppy pees in his crate?

Potty incidents are very normal when crate training a puppy especially at night, what’s important is how you deal with it.

The first thing would be to clean the crate properly and completely remove the smell I personally use and recommend the Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator (check the current price at Amazon) it gets rid of the smell rapidly.

If you go for the metal crate you only have to remove the leak-proof plastic pan clean it with the odor eliminator and let it sit for a day or two for the smell to go away and you’re all set.

If you are using a blanket or pet bed you need to do the same thing and replace it with something else for a couple of days preferably something that has your dog’s smell on.

Some pet parents use puppy pads at night in the crate but that’s a bad idea if you do your dog will just make a habit of peeing in the crate and it will be hard to break it.

Schedule your dog’s meals and potty break this way you can expect when he’s likely to need a break and go for a walk, feeding your dog his meals at the same time every day makes things easier.

What to put in your dachshund’s crate at night?

Crate training a dachshund at night

Other than bedding although not necessary, you should put nothing in your dog’s crate at night especially food and water.

Your dachshund should stop eating and drinking a couple of hours before he goes in his crate for the night, more water means more potty breaks.

Puppies will probably just play with the water and food and just make a mess if not hungry, so it is always best to never let food in the crate beyond feeding time.

Toys can’t be left inside the crate at night either, they’ll keep your dog distracted and he’ll be inactive during the day, dogs need around 12 hours of sleep so you want most of those during the night to enjoy his company during the day.

Where to place your dachshund’s crate?

Choosing the best spot for your dog’s crate is important and can have a great impact on crate training, especially at night.

During the day

  • The crate should be placed in an area where the dog can be around the family so he doesn’t feel lonely and get bored.
  • It should be placed somewhere calm, avoid places where there is a fridge or another machine that makes loud sounds.
  • The crate should not be directly exposed to the sun or in a dark spot either.
  • It should not be somewhere where there is airflow.

At night

  • The best spot would be in your bedroom so you can hear the puppy when he wakes up for a potty break.
  • The crate should not be in a place where the puppy can hear you if you choose to place it somewhere else.

Should you use a crate cover for your dachshund?

Dachshunds are super-alert dogs and they react to any sudden movements that is why it would be a good idea to use a crate cover at night.

The Midwest wire crate has its own cover that fits it perfectly you can check the price at Amazon, it’s especially great for people crate training in an apartment.

The crate cover will provide privacy and comfort to the puppy making it easier for him to sleep at night without paying much attention to what might be going on around him.

References