How to Crate Train Dachshunds
Crate training is a method that uses a dog's natural denning instinct to manage their behavior. Whether you’re potty-training a dachshund puppy or introducing an older dachshund to a new home, this method is highly recommended for the breed, which is known to be difficult to train. Find the right crate, make it comfortable, and let your dog get used to it before starting training. First feed your dog in the crate, then leave your dog inside for longer and longer periods of time. When it gets comfortable with its new “den”, try crating it while you leave the house for short periods of time, as well as overnight. Training can last anywhere from days to months; dachshunds are known for being stubborn, so you should be patient and expect things to take time.
Setting Up the Crate
1. Purchase a crate.
For crate training to be a success, your dog must yield to its canine instinct to avoid soiling its sleeping area; as such, the crate should not be big enough for your dog to use one end as a bathroom. If you are crate training a fully-grown dachshund, look for a crate that measures roughly 24 inches by 36 inches, making it just large enough for your dog to stand up, stretch out, and move around a bit. If you are training a smaller dachshund puppy, consider a small plastic crate; both options are available for purchase at pet stores, hardware stores, or larger department stores.
- Consider using the larger crate to train your small puppy by blocking off part of it; this way, you can use the full crate when your dog matures.
2. Make the crate comfortable.
The psychology of crate training works with a dog's instinctive desire to have a warm, safe place to sleep. Place blankets, a pillow, or a dog bed inside to make your dachshund comfortable in their crate. Cover the crate with a blanket to make it more den-like, which will help your dog feel safe in the crate. You can also add a sturdy chew toy to satisfy the energy and hunting instincts of the breed. If your dog is not housebroken, line the crate with thick, comfortable towels that can be easily removed and washed.
3. Keep the crate nearby.
Put the crate in a family room or central location in your home, where your dog will be able to see what is going on around it and feel like part of the action. Your dog should develop positive associations with its crate and see it as a refuge, rather than a source of isolation; dachshunds are an especially social breed, so this is an important consideration when crate training.one.
Introducing your Dachshund to the Crate
1. Let your dog explore.
When you first set up your dachshund’s crate, take the door off (or prop open the door, if this isn't possible) and allow the dog to explore it freely. If your dog does not approach the crate on its own, use gentle encouragement; drop treats near the entrance to the crate, or toss treats and toys inside to encourage your dog to go in. This process may take several days, so time and patience are absolutely necessary. Once your dog warms up to the crate, re-attach the door.
2. Feed your dachshund in the crate.
If your dog enters the crate willingly, begin feeding it regular meals in there to create positive associations. If your dog eats inside without making a fuss for several, consecutive meals, try closing the door during mealtime; open the door as soon as it finishes its meal. If it whines, cries, or acts aggressively as a result of being in the crate, shorten the time that the door is closed and open it sooner; if your dog seems comfortable, prolong the time, keeping the door closed for an additional ten minutes after it finishes eating.
3. Attempt to crate the dog for longer periods.
Once your dachshund is comfortable with the process of eating in its crate, start practicing longer crating periods. Gently coax it towards the crate with a treat; encourage your dog to go in, then close the door behind it and feed it the treat. Stay in the room and sit by the crate for about 5-10 minutes; leave the room and wait another 5 minutes or so before returning to let your dog out. Repeat this process several times a day, and gradually increase crating time.
- Dachshunds can be irritable and quick to bite, so be cautious when coaxing your pet into the crate and letting it out after.
- Do not let your dog out of the crate when he is barking or crying because your dog will learn that this behavior gets him released from the crate. Only let him out when he is quiet to reinforce this good behavior.
Completing the Training
1. Leave the house.
If your dachshund has passed the test of longer crating times at home, and can be in his crate for a full 30 minutes without getting anxious or scared, have it stay in its crate while you leave the house for a short period of time. Get your pet into the crate between 5-20 minutes before you go, and keep your exit low key; this will prevent your dog from getting anxious about you leaving. Similarly, keep your arrival at home low key to prevent your dog from getting hyper. Continue crating your dog while you are home to prevent negative feelings of loneliness or abandonment being associated with the crate.
2. Crate your dachshund at night.
Place the crate in your bedroom and have your dachshund sleep in it at night. This will prevent your dog from feeling abandoned or scared, and will allow you to let it out if it needs to relieve itself. If you note that your dog is whining simply to be let out, ignore it; giving in when your dog misbehaves will reward a negative behavior that you are trying to eradicate.
3. Let your dog relieve itself immediately.
Take your dog out to eliminate as soon as possible after long crating periods; dachshunds are already difficult to housebreak, so it is important to encourage your dog to relieve itself outside as opposed to anywhere else. Letting your dog out right after crating periods will build confidence in the fact that its needs will be met if it cooperates.
- You should make it a habit to let your dog relieve itself right before crating it, as well.
4. Ensure that your dog is warm and comfortable.
Dachshunds don’t like the cold, so it may be difficult to persuade your pet to go outside to relieve itself if it is cold or raining. This aversion may, in turn, encourage your dachshund to relieve itself inside, which is why crate training is so important for this breed. Accommodate your pet as much as possible by setting up a covered potty yard behind your home, or by dressing it in a coat or cover to keep it warm.
Wrapping Up Crate Training
1. Praise progress.
Your Dachshund’s crate training relies a lot on the positive reinforcement your dog receives for behaving itself. Use encouragement and rewards (e.g. treats, toys) to promote your pet’s good behavior. Allow it to associate being obedient and relieving itself outside with happy things.
2. Keep crating time in check.
Crate training is an effective tool for modifying dog behavior, but it is not a long-term solution to caring for your pet. Dachshunds, in particular, are energetic, social pets that need lots of play and interaction with their owners. Crate time should be kept to a minimum once they are trained, and used to either keep your dog from destroying your belongings at times when you are not available to stop it, or for transport.
3. Keep the crate.
If your dog has developed an affinity for its crate during training, consider leaving it out as a permanent “den” for your dachshund. While crate training is generally a short-term arrangement to teach your dog good behavior or to housetrain it, it is important for your pet to have a comfortable, stress-free place to be confined when necessary- such occasions might include car rides, visits to the kennel or veterinarian's office, renovation periods in your home, or if your dog is recuperating from an injury or illness. It is a good idea to maintain your dog’s positive associations with the crate in case you need to use it again down the line.