When we got Choco late last year, he was not Crate Trained. So getting him to sleep or go in a crate seemed impossible.
We tried all the usual tactics of feeding him inside the crate, making it into a fun paradise of toys. It didn’t work…
There was a lot of whining, whinging and trying to escape.
We then found he was much more comfortable sleeping in his bed outside our bedroom.
We put this down to the fact that he wasn’t crate trained early enough in his life. Seeing as we got Choco at 8 months, we felt we probably lost the early, critical months for crate training.
So when we got Cookie, we were so unsure whether it would be possible or even if its necessary. However when coming home on the first night, we swung by a fellow Dachshund owners home as they had outgrown their crate and they were gracious enough to donate theirs to us.
We was undecided if a crate would be long-term, but we definitely knew she’d need to sleep in there at least for the early stages. We didn’t want her randomly waking up whilst we slept, to chew on something or hide in a gap she shouldn’t be in.
The first night was easy! It was too good to be true! We put her in the crate and she did not fuss at all. She patiently waited in there whilst we fed her dinner. She went in willingly and when it was time for sleep, we had her crate in our bedroom to start with and had random moans for which we simply reminded her that we were there.
We took her out a few times so she could relieve herself, but other than that, she slept like angel.
We had heard horror stories about crate training so we were amazed by how good she is!
The second day, definitely not easy!
Clearly she had become more confident in her surroundings. She started play biting Choco, trying to dominate him. Choco has always been a more gentle playful dog, so he simply acknowledges she’s a puppy and lets her have her way.
We tried separating them when she became too much for him and put her in the crate. She would just clamber to come out.
During the day it was setting the tone for how it would be in the night. We were not looking forward to the sleepless nights, but I was prepared for this!
The advice we were given was to simply put them in the crate and leave them to settle themselves.
This was not working out for us at all.
I can be strong enough resist giving her the attention, but I was very conscious of our neighbours as we live in a second floor flat.
We managed to actually leave her howling for 1hr solid and we were certain it wasn’t toilet reasons as she had eliminated right before we put her in. Her crate wasn’t covered and I was in line of sight, but she just wanted to be on me. I went over to the crate to try comfort her whilst she still inside and whilst I had at least my finger in the crate, she was ok.
After 3hrs it became too late in the night to let this carry on.
So we decided to move her crate into our bedroom.
So I literally slept with one arm off the bed hanging down so my finger could be in the crate.
Not ideal, but it worked!
The third day was very much like the second except we had a few moments with her actually being ok in the crate. We were excited thinking we hit a new milestone or ‘turned a corner’ as some say.
But when it came to the night time, it was very reminiscent of the second night except my finger in the crate did not settle her. She still howled!
I took her out for multiple toilet breaks but had no joy. She was still not eliminating.
So on the third night we resorted to actually raising her crate to our bed level so she can see us. This worked!
She was settled in the crate. We all slept peacefully.
The fourth day was very much like the third. It just required a few toilet breaks but we were making progress.
Bearing in mind whilst Cookie is being crate trained, Choco is still sleeping in his bed by himself.
However only adjustment for Choco is we put his bed in our bedroom. He usually is outside our room, but we didn’t want him to feel she’s allowed in but he’s not. So we invited them both into our room during this training process.
This is where it all changed for us!
During the day, the crate activities were just like before. Occasional stretches of time in the crate to get her used to it. We fed her in the crate. Played with her with using toys in the crate, but when it came to the night time, this is where the game changed!
Choco took himself to bed and before we even thought about putting Cookie in her crate to sleep, she climbed into Choco’s bed with him and they cuddled and slept!
We didn’t have the heart to separate them and we wanted to test if this would help her sleep peacefully.
So we left a few pee pads out incase she wanted to eliminate and shockingly, this worked out amazingly!
She did not whinge at all in the night, she took it upon herself to jump out of bed to go pee and she climbed back in with Choco.
After that successful night, we saw no reason to keep pushing her into a crate to only be unsettled and have disrupted sleep.
After the 5th night, we actually just stopped crate training altogether. We left the crate out for her and she did sometimes pop in and out freely during the day. However, we did not put her in there to sleep as she seemed to sleep very well with Choco.
A few weeks after we had actually collapsed the crate completely and bought a larger pen for both of them to be able to fit inside.
We don’t currently make a point about them sleeping in there, but we leave all their toys in there and they occasionally play inside or just pop in to get a toy. They also run in there as a place of retreat if their play fighting becomes a bit too much for one another.
So although we technically failed at crate training, we have found our own flow with their sleeping arrangement.