Crate or kennel training is a great way to safely keep any pup out of trouble. In nature, dogs are den animals. A wolf or wild dog will usually seek out some sort of den for itself, where it will eventually eat, sleep, reside and possibly raise a family of dogs. Kennel training takes advantage of this animalistic instinct and convinces domesticated pups that the kennel is, in fact, their den.
Dog owners typically use kennels for house-training purposes, however, the right kennel can become a place of comfort for both dog and master. The dog will securely and safely reside in its kennel while the master is away from his or her home, preventing any danger or accidents to occur from a dog’s potential freedom.
Step 1: Choosing The Right Kennel
Kennels and crates are available to match the size and shape of almost every dog. There are generally four types of kennels: plastic or “flight kennels,” fabric and frame kennels, collapsible or metal pens, and dog houses.
-Plastic crates are the most common and are used mainly for travel, although they will suffice fine for small or medium-sized dog kennels.
-Fabric and frame kennels consist of exactly that: some type of dog-friendly fabric on a rigid frame.
-Collapsible or metal pens are used for outdoor purposes. These are the best types for larger animals.
-Dog houses are the most aesthetically pleasing and may feature traits of every type of kennel.
Pet supply stores, catalogs, and online proprietors usually carry a wide range of kennels to choose from. The Dog Kennel Collection is always expanding and updating their extensive catalog of both residential and commercial dog kennels.
Step 2: Introduce Your Dog To Its New Kennel
Some dogs are curious and will jump at a chance to explore their new crate. Others, however, may need a small push. Simply bring the dog to the kennel, talking to them in a delightful, welcoming tone. Drop small treats nearby and inside of the kennel to encourage your dog’s exploration. Continue this easy process until your dog is comfortable enough to enter the kennel and retrieve its treat all on its own. This can take a couple of minutes or even up to a week to accomplish. If your dog is unamused by treats, try using a favorite toy as an incentive to explore the kennel.
Step 3: Feed Your Dog Inside The Kennel
When your dog is comfortable with entering and leaving its new kennel, try giving your pooch meals inside its kennel. This will make the kennel feel more like home for your dog and will reinforce a positive association. This exercise will also give your dog practice with staying in its kennel for longer periods of time.
Step 4: Leave Your Dog In Its Crate While You Leave And Overnight
Once your dog has some experience eating and playing in its new kennel, try leaving it inside while you aren’t home as well as through the night. Make sure not to reward your dog for excitement when you return or when your dog wakes up in the morning. This will create anxiety, as the dog will be overly excited over when you will return. Continue kennel training your dog for periods of time while you’re home as well as not so that the dog doesn’t develop a lonely association with its kennel.
Kennel or crate training your dog may seem daunting at first, however, with this guide as well as tips offered by The Humane Society of The United States, any pup will feel right at home in a kennel. Keep in mind, whining and separation anxiety are normal, especially if you are close to your dog. Try to remain patient and positive, assuring your dog that the kennel isn’t bad but is, instead, like its own personal bedroom.