I still had a plastic crate from when I owned a cat that was just “her size”. A crate is considered to be the right size when it’s just big enough for your dog to stand up in it and turn around. Check out this article if you want to know more about how to select the correct crate size for your dog.
I put her in the crate – a “safe and secure” place – when I could not be home with her. Since I was told she was crate trained, I assumed that she would be comfortable her little cave.
That didn’t work out so well. Gretel was one anxious girl. We came home a couple of times to find that she had rocked the crate out into the middle of the floor. One time we came home and she had busted the crate into two pieces, broken a nail, and bled all over the house. So much for that.
It was still really important for me that she be comfortable in a crate so I didn’t give up. For one, she wasn’t any less anxious when we left her out of the crate. She chewed up quite a few things and peed around the house. My nerves and carpet couldn’t handle that.
Also, it is very important to me that my Dachshunds be trained to be comfortable in a crate in case they develop back problems. Dachshunds, and other dogs with long backs, have a high tendency to develop Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) that can leave them paralyzed.
THE most recommended treatment, besides surgery, is “conservative treatment”. It includes a combination of medication and strict crate rest for weeks, or even months. By strict I mean that the dog is to stay in the crate at all times except to eat and go potty.
I have read so many stories about how this confinement in a crate is really hard on the dog, and the owner, if the dog is not properly crate trained. Sometimes it is so bad that the owner gives up and doesn’t rest them as long as they should. Sometimes their dog continues to have back problems, and eventually may need surgery, because they never healed all of the way. I don’t want that to be my dogs. I will always make sure to train any Dachshund I own to be comfortable in a crate for this reason and I implore you to do the same.
On a whim I decided to try what had worked for Chester and got Gretel an open wire, Top Paw crate from PetSmart® . We tried the “proper” size (a crate just big enough for her to stand up and turn around) but she felt it was too small. I tried a larger one but it was definitely too big. Eventually we settled on one that was large enough for a medium-sized dog.
She was less anxious when she could see out of all sides. I started giving her a treat toy in the crate and now she happily runs in there when she knows I am leaving. She even chooses to sleep in there sometimes when we are home. It’s her happy, safe place now.
I would like to say I am a whiz at crate training and could give you a ton of tips. I can’t though. Gretel was already somewhat crate trained when we adopted her (again, that is what we were told anyway) and the rest was just finding a mix of conditions that were perfect for her. It’s easiest crate train puppies from day 1 but it’s not impossible to train and older dog to enjoy a crate too. For tips on how to crate train your adult dog, visit our friend Ammo the Dachshund.
My friend just adopted an older Dachshund and he is having separation anxiety issues when she leaves the house so I suggested she try a crate. Chester, Gretel, and I took her to PetSmart to look at them because they are having a sale on crates through the end of March.
She found the perfect crate and crate pad for him and is slowly getting him familiar with it. She hopes this will help make him feel safer, and keep him out of trouble, when she is gone.