So you have made the big decision and brought a dachshund puppy into your family. You have just brought your puppy home and he is playful and active, full of energy and freely giving kisses and snuggling. After an active day you think there is no way your puppy, and you, will not get a full night’s sleep. At 2:00 am you hear a little whining from your puppy and think he will just fall back to sleep – you will give him a bit to settle back down. By 2:15 he has woken up the whole family with his howling and you can’t get him back to sleep. What to do?
While there is no single method that will work perfectly for every dog, there are things you can do to help your dachshund puppy sleep through the night. The first thing you need to decide is where will your puppy sleep? One choice is to have your dachshund sleep in bed with you. Some people think this is crazy, some think it is the best. If you make this choice be aware that you will never be able to get your dachshund to sleep anywhere else without retribution. Once in bed, always in bed. I would not recommend this choice if you are a mover when you are sleeping. It is possible for your puppy to be caught underneath you and become scared or not be able to breathe. Puppies are small and could wake up and wander off of the bed and hurt themselves or make a mess.
A great choice for where to have your dachshund puppy sleep is in a crate. Some people think this is like putting them in doggy jail, but it can actually be comforting for your dog. Do not forget that dachshunds are hunters and have been bred to go to ground. They love sleeping in dens and can often be found in your laundry basket or buried under a blanket. Your dog crate should never be used for punishment or “time out”. If used properly, your dachshund will find his crate to be his safe place where he can go to relax and get away from the activity of the home.
No matter where you choose to have your dachshund puppy sleep, there are things you can do to get him to sleep longer through the night. A puppy that is under 3 months old cannot be expected to “hold it” for any longer than six hours overnight. During the day when he is active, this goes down to about one hour. So plan on taking your puppy out just before you go to bed at night and again the first thing in the morning. When you take him out the last time at night, do not make this a fun, playful time. Do not give him a toy or a snack, just tell him to go potty, speak quietly and gently to him, and let him do his thing. When he is done, you can pick him up and pet him and quietly tell him it is time to go to sleep. Put him in his crate, turn out the lights and try to make as little noise as possible.
If your dachshund puppy wakes up in the middle of the night, again, do not make it a fun playtime. Open his door, pet him a little bit, close the door and quietly tell him to go back to sleep. You can also cover the crate with a lightweight, dark sheet or blanket to darken his crate. If he still wants to cry, you can move the crate slightly or tap on the crate just enough to interrupt his crying, but not enough to scare him more. He will eventually get the idea that you are not going to get him out and he will go back to sleep.
There are a few more things that you can do to make sure your dachshund puppy is relaxed and ready for bed at night. Make sure he does not go to bed hungry. I recommend feeding him around the same time as you eat dinner, or just after. That way he has something in his tummy, but there is enough time to process everything for his last time outside before bed. Make sure he gets lots of playtime through the day and especially in the afternoon. Let him play outside with the kids if the weather permits, sunshine and exercise always help to wear him out. Do not get him riled up and play with him for at least an hour before bed. It will take longer for him to settle down.
One more thing you can try is called a SnugglePuppy. It is a stuffed toy that has a warming packet and heartbeat. This is especially good for puppies that have just come home and are away from their littermates for the first time in their life. We have heard great things about these stuffed animals, but plan ahead for this one so you already have it when you bring your dachshund puppy home.
Your puppy will eventually sleep through the night so that you and your family can go back to your normal sleeping patterns. It may take your puppy a few nights to get used to his new life and his new schedule, but it will happen. Hopefully you will find these tips to be helpful and life with your new dachshund puppy will be everything you dreamed of.