If you have a Dachshund, then you will be well aware that they love nothing more than to burrow into covers, duvets, and anything soft and snugly.
This cute and interesting trait has confounded many people over the years, and so we have put together a comprehensive guide to Dachshund burrowing so that you can get to grips with this endearing habit!
The reason your Dachshund burrows
Let’s start with the easy bit! The reason Dachshund’s burrow is because it is part of their genetic makeup! When you consider that they were bred to hunt badgers, then it becomes clearer.
These amazing dogs were taught to burrow down into small dark spaces and have come to love the sensory feedback they get from doing this.
Imagine snuggling down into a small, dark space that is warm and soft! We are fairly sure most people would enjoy the sensation of being cuddled up, and this is precisely why your beloved Dachshunds do it!
If you are worried about this habit, then read on to find out more about it.
What your Dachshund gets from burrowing
Aside from an innate desire, Dachshunds get a lot from burrowing, meaning that you will not be able to and should not try to deter them.
Dachshunds are a strong minded breed and impress owners all over the world with their grit and determination. These characteristics transfer to the need to burrow and will cause problems if you attempt to put a stop to them completely.
As with any behavior your Dachshund displays, there are clear reasons that need to be considered when you are trying to work out whether they are the actions of a healthy and happy dog.
We have broken down the four main reasons below so that you can consider if your pet is acting in a way that is normal for the breed or not.
As we mentioned above, Dachshunds were bred to hunt badgers by burrowing down into small holes to get to the animal.
They were first bred for this purpose in the 15th century, and breeders worked hard to ensure that the instinct to burrow was as strong as possible so that the dogs would not become scared or refuse to go after a badger.
Fast forward to today, and the breed is now used less for hunting and has become a popular domestic pet.
However, this inherent need to burrow is as strong as ever, and so your pooch will look to have this need met by burrowing in locations all over the home.
Many Dachshunds become easily frightened of strangers or anything new that enters the home. The main reason for this is that a new person may look gigantic and scary when you are a Dachshund.
When it comes to safety, Dachshunds will often find a small, quiet space to burrow into as it is harder for predators to get to them.
If you have recently moved home or introduced anything new to the family home, you may notice that your pup is more wary than usual.
It is common to find them burrowed away during this time, and you will need to work with them to help them understand that there is nothing for them to be scared of.
If you have a Dachshund, then you may find they spend a lot of their time finding comfy little nooks and crannies to burrow into. This is because they much prefer being in an enclosed space rather than a giant fluffy bed!
Many Dachshund owners make the mistake of getting their pets large open beds, and this can leave your pet feeling exposed and vulnerable.
You can buy specific burrowing beds, or you can make your own comfy corners for your pooch to nestle down into when they need some time out or a snooze.
Sense of achievement
Sometimes Dachshund pets can struggle with a sense of who they are when they are not being used as a working dog. This can lead to behaviors that cause concern, and sometimes you may notice them burrowing more than they usually do.
Before you put this down to them wanting comfort or extra naps, you may want to consider whether they are getting enough stimulation.
Dachshunds love to solve problems, and if they don’t have enough stimulation, they may start to burrow more to get a sense of achievement in their day.
The good news is that there are many burrowing toys you can get hold of that will combine their love of burrowing as well as their need to achieve something.
Should I allow my Dachshund to burrow?
Now you know the reasons your Dachshund is burrowing; you can begin to unpick whether it is a habit that you should allow or not.
The simple answer to this question is that it is virtually impossible to stop a Dachshund from burrowing, and the habit is healthy and normal for this breed.
Burrowing is vital to helping them feel secure and safe at home and will ensure that they get all the sleep they need to be able to function each day properly.
Denying them the ability to burrow will result in behavioral issues and aggression, as well as exhaustion and depression.
Even if your pup seems to be excessively burrowing, you should not stop them from being able to burrow completely, instead use distraction techniques and tasks that will give them the sense of purpose they are looking for.
We’ll explain more about this below.
The upside of allowing your Dachshund to burrow is that it is seriously cute to watch! A dedicated pup will put plenty of effort into making their den into the perfect napping spot, even if it takes them some time to complete!
Rather than asking if you should allow your Dachshund to burrow, we would suggest considering where you are happy for them to do this.
No-one wants to hurt their pet by accidentally sitting on them or getting the fright of your life when you hop into bed only to be met by a snoozing pup!
When should I be worried about burrowing?
As with any habit, if it begins to get out of hand, you will start to worry and look for a way to cease the behavior. Luckily, there are some early warning signals for you to look for if you think your dog is behaving in a way that is concerning.
Here are our top signals for you to look out for:
- More burrowing then you see on an average day.
- A dog that becomes possessive or aggressive over their dens.
- A pup that doesn’t seem to be getting enough sleep despite the additional burrows made.
- Behavior changes that show your dog to be feeling depressed or anxious.
- Any other new, negative behaviors that are being displayed in the home.
If your pooch has any combination of the signals listed above, then their burrowing may be a sign that something isn’t quite right, and you should begin investigating what is going on.
Dachshunds are very sensitive to change and get their security from being in a stable and loving home.
If there is anything new in the home or an event that may change the way someone is behaving, then you can expect it to have an impact on your dog.
In an ideal world, we would be able to mitigate change by planning for it in advance, and this can be done in some cases.
However, most changes are unexpected, and the addition of new people or the disappearance of a regular face can cause serious stress in a dog’s life.
If, after things return to a new normal, your pup continues to burrow excessively, then it may be worth seeking advice from a professional dog trainer.
You could find that the additional burrowing has turned into a habit, it could be caused by boredom, or there could be some leftover anxiety that needs addressing.
If your Dachshund is bored or has developed a habit of burrowing, then using distraction techniques can help to lessen the desire to burrow.
This technique involves stopping them from burrowing before they begin and distracting or diverting them with a totally different activity.
These activities should challenge them to think, or problem solve as this will reduce boredom levels and give them something they can focus on and get success from.
If your pup is burrowing due to anxiety, then you will need to work on developing their confidence using praise and encouragement wherever possible.
Scolding an anxious dog will only increase their anxiety further, so you need to take a gentle but firm stance so that they know they can depend on you to protect them.
Is there a suffocation risk when my Dachshund burrows?
Many owners worry that if they let their pup burrow, then there is a risk of them getting suffocated. If you are an owner that worries about this, then the good news is that there is very little chance that this will happen.
Dachshunds are highly intelligent dogs, and they will happily come out of their burrow for air if things get a bit hot and heavy under the blankets!
As well as being clever, they can also be very demanding, and most Dachshunds will bark or yap for help if they need the blankets removed or put back on!
Burrowing not only lets them relax but keeps them snug and warm and helps them to sleep better.
If you are nervous about your pooch denning in your blankets, then it may be worth investing in some burrow beds for them to enjoy.
Simply swap the blankets for the beds and place them in their favorite snuggle spots and look forward to the results!
Burrow beds are a great accessory for this breed because it allows them to feel the security of being in a confined space but lets you check in on them to make sure everything is ok.
However, some owners find that no matter how many accessories they try, a blanket is the preferred burrowing material.
Fear not; if your pup loves their blankets, then get hold of some that are made from more lightweight and breathable fabrics so that you can feel confident they are safe without having to spoil all their fun!
How can I make a safe burrowing area for my Dachshund?
Now you know that burrowing is typical behavior that needs to be supported; it is a great time to invest some time into making your pooch their very own burrowing area.
We will take you through all the aspects you need to consider so that your lovely pet is safe and secure at all times.
Start with a location
The first thing you need to consider is where you are going to put the burrowing area for your Dachshund.
It is sensible to choose a low traffic area that is not needed for access as it will need to be in the same spot for your pup to feel at home truly.
It is also wise to make sure it is on the floor as jumping up to a burrowing spot can damage your pup’s spine or legs and will result in hefty vets’ bills!
Find a bed
When your location is set, you will need to pick out a good quality, burrowing bed to form the center of their new sleeping spot.
There is a range of burrowing beds on the market, and you can look to reviews or seek advice on forums for the best style for your pooch. When the bed arrives, make sure to snip off any labels that may get in the way of your dog’s fun!
Add some blankets
While many people stop at the burrowing bed, you can add a few blankets over the top of the bed for them to enjoy burrowing down into.
Make sure that you pick out soft and lightweight blankets to reduce any risks to your pup and arrange them so that there are lots of layers for them to work their way through.
Clean and tidy
When the area is complete, and your pup is happy that the space is all theirs for sleeping, then you will need to make sure it is all kept clean and free of debris.
Blankets and dog beds can all be machine washed, and floors can be cleaned to keep the space as hygienic as possible.
When you have successfully installed a burrowing area that your Dachshund loves, why don’t you spoil them by adding one or two more to the home so that they can choose from a range of snuggly nap spots!
They will love you forever if you do!
Dachshund burrowing – the summary
As you can see, burrowing is very normal behavior for Dachshunds and should only be discouraged when it becomes obsessive or controlling.
The vast majority of Dachshunds will have a healthy attitude to burrowing and just need a safe space they can snuggle in to get a good night’s sleep.
Owners that try to train the burrowing instinct out of their dog will be left disappointed as it is an innate need that has to be met if you want your dog to feel as happy and secure as possible.
When it comes to types of burrows, you can be certain that your pet will let you know if they need help to escape, and the majority of places are perfectly safe for them to enjoy.
However, to help them avoid getting into any sticky situations, you can have lots of fun creating a safe burrowing area just for them.
However, your pooch burrows, take some time to sit back and enjoy watching them at work! It’s not only cute but an insightful way to learn how they feel safest.