Why crate training your Dachshund is a good idea:
Although some people may feel that confining a dog to a crate is cruel, there may be occasions when it is helpful to have a crate-trained Dachshund. For example, if your dog ever suffers from an IVDD incident, your vet may recommend conservative treatment initially. This involves strict crate-rest plus medications. If you have trained your Dachshund to be confident in a crate, it will be much easier to cope with up to 6 weeks of conservative treatment. If your dog isn't crate-trained, this could be a very stressful experience for both you and your dog.
Similarly, if you ever need to leave your dog at the vet for surgery or other treatment, it is likely that they will need to confine him/her to a cage while he/she is with them.
Another advantage of crate-training is that it can help with house-training as dogs usually don't like messing in their own beds.
Finally, if you visit other peoples' homes, or hotels, a crate can give your dog a familiar, safe space to sleep and it also means that you can relax without worrying about possible accidents/damage.
The keys to crate-training are to start young, make it a positive experience and make it a safe/happy place for your Dachshund to go.
NEVER leave a puppy or older dog in a crate with its collar on. There is a real risk of the collar getting caught and strangling your dog.
How long can I leave my Dachshund in a crate?
During the daytime, the length of time you can leave your Dachshund will depend on his/her age and how much progress you have made with crate-training. A puppy under 3 months may not be able to cope with more than 30 minutes alone. By 6 months, you should be able to leave your puppy for a couple of hours.
We generally recommend that an adult dog should not be left alone for more than 4 hours and they should always have access to fresh drinking water. Please read our article: "How long can I leave my Dachshund home alone"?
Read our blog post: "5 ways to tell if your dog has Separation Anxiety".
What size crate?
You should buy a crate that will be suitable for your Dachshund when it is fully grown. For an adult Mini, you will probably need a 24" x 18" x 21" crate. For a Standard, you will need a 30" x 19" x 21" crate. Don't forget to check if the crate will fit in the back of your car as you will probably also want to use it for travelling your dog safely. If you have a couple of Standard Dachshunds, you will probably need a 31" x 21" x 24" crate.
Start by making it fun for your new puppy to go into a crate, for example by using treats or kibble, or toys to play with. Start by leaving the door open and allowing your puppy to go in and out as they wish. When your puppy is happy going in and out, close the door for short periods when the puppy goes inside. Get him/her used to the sound of the door closing, then give him/her a treat. Gradually build up the amount of time (in 5-minute increments) before you allow your puppy out again. You may want to try filling a toy with treats to play with, in the crate.
You can also use this approach to get your puppy used to being left alone for short periods to prevent separation anxiety. If your puppy is getting distressed by being in the crate, you will need to reduce the length of time again before building it up again. Remember, dogs learn through positive reinforcement and repetition.
Using a crate for your new puppy at night
Your puppy's first few nights can be very stressful (for him/her and you). It's a big change of routine for your puppy to be away from his/her mum and siblings.
It can be helpful to put your puppy's crate close to your bed so he/she knows you are nearby and you can make reassuring noises, if necessary. As your puppy gets used to sleeping for longer, overnight, you can gradually move the crate further away from your bed until you are able to have it in whichever room you want the puppy to sleep in.
Young puppies (8-12 weeks) are unlikely to be able to sleep through the night without a toilet break, so be prepared to take him/her outside several times. Listen out for whining and scratching which may suggest your puppy needs a toilet trip. If you don't take him/her to the toilet outside, he/she will get into the habit of going in the crate, making your house-training task much harder.
More advice on crate-training.