Crate training a dachshund, particularly a puppy, can be really hard if you’ve never done it before — but it’s worth it! It means that you purchase a wire crate with a door that locks, and you leave your dog in it for a set period of time. (For more about all types of dachshund training, read my Dachshunds 101 guide.)
When I did this with our first dachshund, Emily, I felt like I was locking her in prison! I’d never had a dog before, and Emily cried and cried so I quickly let her out.
The problem was that it didn’t help teach her how to go potty outside. As a result she felt comfortable peeing all over my house when she was a puppy. She ruined several rugs before we decided to take her crate training more seriously.
Unfortunately we'd waited too long. Emily was never fully house trained and created a mess for years. We loved her so much that we dealt with it. But if I could go back in time, I would have crate trained her correctly from Day One.
Why is crate training a dachshund important?
When you crate train a dachshund, you teach your dog to associate peeing with going outside. The theory is that dogs won’t pee in their crate. In my experience of crate training our second dachshund, Cocoa, it works about 95% of the time. But every now and then Cocoa seems to forget that and will pee in the crate.
The other benefit of crate training a dachshund is that you can leave your house without worrying that she will chew up furniture, rugs, and other things. For my family this was only an issue when our doxies were puppies.
Once we had to move out of our house for four months after a flood, and into a rental apartment. We foolishly didn’t crate our dachshunds because we assumed they were old enough. One day we got home and discovered that Cocoa had chewed up the edge of an armchair. We ended up having to buy the armchair for almost $1,000!
How long should crate training a dachshund last?
Crate training a dachshund for potty training purposes generally should last for the first year.
In theory you can keep crate training your dachshund for her whole life. (Dachshunds do have a habit of “forgetting” things they’re supposed to do.) Now the only times we actually put Cocoa in her crate and lock the door is if we’re in a rental house and need to go out without her. It gives us peace of mind that when we return the house will be the same as when we left it.
What’s the key to crate training a dachshund properly?
The key is to make your puppy feel that the crate is her safe zone, like her cave. Don’t ever use the crate as punishment, like a “time out.” She will come to associate the crate with a feeling she doesn’t like, and then she may not go in it happily when you need her to.
A good way to get your dachshund thinking of the crate in a positive way is to place a small dog treat in it, then coaxing her to walk inside on her own.
Also, we found that it was good for all of us to lock Cocoa in the crate for short periods of time at first — say, ten minutes to start with. We’d leave the room and she could still hear us in the house. I think it showed her that being in the crate didn’t mean being abandoned.
By the time we put her in the crate for an hour and left the house, she was so used to it that she didn’t even cry.
The bottom line for crate training a dachshund is…
Crate training a dachshund wasn’t easy for us. We consider our dachshunds part of our family, and we don’t crate train each other. But you have to remember that dogs behave differently than humans, and that’s especially true for puppies left to their own devices.
Plus, dogs like to be in safe zones where they can feel territorial. So the crate can be a relaxing experience for them.
If you always present the crate in the right way, and make your dachshund feel comfortable with it, you can have less worry and your dog will learn better that she needs to go potty outside.