I can’t believe it’s already been over a month with our little Coco bean!!! We got her the week before my birthday in February and she’s been the perfect addition to our little family. Yes, it’s been a huge adjustment with our new sleep schedules and attention during the day lol, but she’s so worth it. If you’re familiar with dachshunds, you know they’re stubborn, extremely cuddly, and have huge personalities… which is exactly why we’re weenie-obsessed. Coco was 8 weeks and only 3lbs when we first picked her up. She’s gained about two pounds since, and has grown quite a few inches in such a short time. Makes me wish I took more photos & videos of her early on. Anyways, I thought I’d write this post to document one-month down with a new pup, share some tips that’s worked for us when it comes to crate training / puppy training, and post some more photos 🙂 If you have any specific questions, just leave them below and I’ll do my best to answer!
I got my first dachshund (adding a quick click here for pronunciation because I feel it’s very necessary haha), Ellie, when I was 12 years old and she’s going to be 16 in May this year! She’s lived quite the life so far– taking turns living with Bridger and I in college, lived in our first apartment together (700 sq. ft. in the city), and is now queen of our house, sleeping majority of the day. We actually talked about getting another doxie several times over the last year to give Ellie a sibling and to help keep her young / spirits high for the second half of her life, but weren’t successful in finding a good match through various adoption and rescue organizations. We were also hesitant to bring home an older dog in case they didn’t get along. It was hard because we are both such dog lovers and would love to be able to adopt or rescue multiple dogs, but at this moment in our lives with no yard and with Ellie as old as she is, we made the decision to get a puppy. I was lucky enough to find her through a couple whose two pet dachshunds had a litter.
All of her brothers and sisters looked different from each other, but Coco stood out with her 1/4 of a blue eye and chocolate dapple coat. The cutest!
Like I mentioned before, it’s been a long time since I raised a puppy– or since my parent’s raised a puppy– so it’s been a lot of researching and advice from others. We let Coco sleep with us the first week or so of having her before we started crate training. I’ve only ever known crate training a puppy growing up, so naturally, I knew that was our next step. Let me tell you, it’s HARD.
Celebrated Coco on my birthday:
I was so lucky that we got Coco around the time of my birthday in February. The best gift! It actually ended up snowing that day in Seattle, so we basically had a lazy day full of movies, playing in the snow on our roof with Coco’s new pink jacket, and I made a cake… it was perfect.
I know this can be controversial for many people, but I see so many benefits of training them early on to get used to a crate. I’ll share some benefits of crate training below if you’re unfamiliar. And just want to preface this whole post by saying I’m no expert, we’ve been seeing what works after lots of research & advice from others 🙂
– helps the dog become more independent and less attached to you at all times. It also helps with separation anxiety.
– helps with potty training and teaching the puppy how to hold its bladder for longer periods of time.
– gives them a safe place and somewhere they can feel comfortable at all times going to sleep, lay down, etc.
– prepares them for travel if they’re ever going to be in a carrier.
– sets them up for success at the vet / hospital since they keep the pets in kennels while they’re there. Crate training can prevent them from becoming anxious if they’re in an unfamiliar place.
I’m sure I’m forgetting more, but there can be so many benefits to crate training your dog! Although the first few nights were absolutely brutal, I’m so so happy we stuck with it and didn’t give in to letting her out when she cried in the beginning. You just have to think how it’s going to help them later on down the road. I’ve also been told that once they’re crate trained for around 8-10 months and it’s become second-nature, you can let them sleep wherever at night, which will be in the bed for us.
So to give you a full breakdown of how Day 1 of crate training went: Coco cried, barked and yelped for an hour and 45 minutes straight before falling asleep. Mind you, Bridger fell asleep at around the hour mark– thanks babe. Night two was only 5 minutes of crying, and night three was probably only a few minutes. She slept through the entire night until around 6:30am those first few nights, but a few days later started to cry during the middle of the night to go potty. This is when I set two alarms during the middle of the night– one at midnight and one at 3am. Every night we pushed the alarm back 20-30 minutes and were able to get rid of one alarm entirely, leaving the 3am potty break time. The thing with crate training is that you can’t open the crate if they’re crying. You’ll need to wait until they stop or else they’ll associate crying with being let out. We typically wait just a few minutes after she stops and let her out. We took out the 3am alarm when she was 11 weeks and she now sleeps through the whole night!
It took 6-7 days until she started willingly running into her crate to get her treat when we were ready to go to sleep. For the most part, she goes to sleep without a peep! I feel like having my alarm set around 6am trained her internal alarm clock to consistently get up at that time now… so sometimes me and Bridge tag team by having one of us take her potty then bringing her downstairs to play if it’s still too early.
Things that helped us with crate training:
– feed them every meal in their crate with the door open so they associate positive things with it
– after a few days of getting used to this, start closing the door while they’re eating just for 10 seconds, then the next time maybe 30 seconds, and so on, so they slowly get used to it being closed. Again, if they cry, that’s ok but wait until they stop to let them out
– anytime they freely walk into their crate, praise them and give them a treat! Maybe even leave treats in there for them to find on their own
– make it cozy! I’ll add links below for blankets, but I got tons of recommendations to throw a piece of dirty clothing (like a shirt you exercised in) into the crate so they’re more comfortable and feel like you’re there. We also got a Snuggle Puppy with a heartbeat and had her and Ellie lay with it on the couch every night while we watched TV so it could soak up all our smells. Then we transferred it to the crate once she started sleeping there. We did the same thing with her blanket.
– only allow enough space in the crate for them to turn around and lay down comfortably. If there’s too much room, they might go to the bathroom. Usually wire crates have dividers to make the space smaller until they grow bigger
– *never punish them by putting them in their crate*
– we kept the crate right next to my side of the bed with a big blanket over the top when it came time to crate train at night
– have white noise or a sound machine going
– always leave a treat in the crate before bed so they can expect it. I hid pieces of treats all around her blanket so it distracted her once she got in at night
– earplugs can help the first few nights (painfully true)
– I’m not sure if this goes against trainers’ rules, but a few people suggested playing music on low to help her go to sleep and I think it worked! I used the Spotify puppy playlist and had my phone on top of her crate on low until she fell asleep
– take away their food/water about 2 hours before they go to sleep to prevent middle of the night accidents / potty breaks
I knew this was going to be the hardest, especially with dachshunds. We made a huge emphasis on taking her out immediately after she woke up from her naps or else she would take a few steps and go. Their bladders are so little when they’re that young so we were realistically taking her out anywhere from 8-10x a day. It took a few weeks (and with the help of crate training) for her to be better about waiting to go to the bathroom until we took her out. She has accidents maybe once every few days now, so things are a lot better than they were 🙂 We bought a dog bell that hangs from a doorknob and it’s supposed to teach them to ring it if they have to go to the bathroom… we’re still working on this haha she’s still kind of scared of it. But we ring it every time we take her to the bathroom, so hoping this eventually sticks– it’s hard living in a townhouse right now with no door on the main floor.
Spraying vinegar in places they make an accident is also supposed to help prevent them from going there in the future. I ordered two mini spray bottles– one for water so we can use as the last resort if she’s biting too hard or being rough with Ellie, and one for vinegar for this exact issue!
She seems to be good about 90% of the time now not going in the house, but mostly because we’re always watching for her cues that she needs to go. She’s gone on the couch a few times which is less than ideal, so trying to stay as consistent as possible.
We’ve also noticed the excited piddle accidents whenever someone new comes over so we have to make sure to take her potty before that happens. Really hoping this doesn’t stick with her as she grows up!
Tricks & Training:
I started doing simple tricks with her once she was about 9-10 weeks old. I typically use kibble for training so I don’t have to limit how many we give her and try to do 10 minutes a day with her to stay consistent. She can now sit, stay, twirl and shake!! Dachshunds are super smart and they can pick up things pretty quickly.
She has huge spurts of energy and loves to sneak attack Ellie… we’re also working on this. Ellie seems to be tolerating her majority of the time, but obviously doesn’t have as much energy as Coco throughout the day. They play sometimes, but I think they really bond when they’re both tired and take naps together. Coco doesn’t really know what personal space is, so it’s a lot of Ellie getting up and moving haha. Hoping they’ll become a full bonded pair once Coco gets a little older!
One thing we’re having an issue with right now is getting her harness/sweaters on. In the beginning she didn’t really have any issue with having us put them on her, but now, she seems pretty traumatized by it. I think it’s because of the velcro sound that both the harnesses we got have and it scares her when we take them off her. We’ve started to focus on reintroducing them 2x a day with lots of treats. I make the velcro sound right in front of her when she’s sitting and offer her a treat right away. Then I’ll make the clip sound, then set it on the ground right next to her, etc. After about three different times doing this the velcro sound didn’t seem to bother her anymore. Going to keep doing this slowly until eventually we can get to the point where she’ll let me put it on… Wish us luck!
She bites *all* the time with her dagger chiclet teeth so that’s been fun trying to navigate that. We started out making an ‘AH’ or ‘EH’ sound very early on when she was doing something wrong, so that’s finally starting to stick. Same with ‘leave it.’ I know she’s just teething so we try to swap for a toy as much as we can right away– sharing some of her favorites below!
Toys she loves: mini kong— I put a little drizzle of peanut butter inside and she’s distracted for a long time, this blue bone with tassels she’s obsessed with, Nylabones— we have to watch her with these because she eats them pretty fast so we take them away when it gets close to the bottom, mini squeeky kong balls and last but not least, all of Ellie’s hand-me down toys she doesn’t play with much anymore (the ones with stuffing removed are her favorites like this one and this one).
Treats she loves: These are our everyday treats we started from the beginning. Anything from putting them in the crate, after potty outside, etc. These ones she loves and I think because they’re more flavorful. So I’ve been using these for our training sessions, especially with the velcro harness.
Puppy Food: We use Blue Buffalo Natural Puppy Dry Food. Our vet said mentioned that grain-free diets can lead to heart disease.
I also made my first real YouTube video about the first two weeks of having Coco, so make sure to subscribe and check that out! 🙂
SHOP WHAT WE GOT FOR COCO HERE:
I think that pretty much sums it up from here! If you have any specific questions, just drop them below and I can answer. Thanks for reading! xx Rachael