Updated: Oct 14
There is always the misconception of the meaning behind kennel training. People often believe that kennel training is cruel. In fact, kennel training can ensure safety for your dog so that you can put your worries aside when you’re not home. Your dog will learn that the kennel is not a life sentence but a safe space.
For an example, my friend had a one year old dog who was not kennel trained. One evening my friend came home to a dead dog. Why? The dog became curious and found himself suffocated in a grocery bag. I always find myself sharing this story with people who are against kennel training. It is important for your dog to have a safe space, especially, if they are not well trained. Kennel training is essential for the process of successfully potty training your dog. If the kennel is the correct size, your dog will not have an accident where they sleep and eat. Having a kennel through this process will enforce a scheduled day for your dog.
In order to kennel train your dog, you have to believe that this is beneficial for your dog. You have to show your dog that the kennel is not strictly punishment or imprisonment. Kennel training requires consistency and can take anywhere from 1-3 months to learn but should remain an option for your dogs lifetime. Here is some advice that helps to properly kennel train your dog:
Finding the proper kennel - The kennel should be large enough for the dog to stand up and turn completely around in;
What goes inside the kennel is the dogs - The things you place in a dog's kennel helps the dog associate positively with their space.This means you can put a bed, toys, bones, treats, water, etc. If the dog tears anything up you should not get mad and discipline your dog;
Covering the Kennel- I have found that if you cover the openings of the kennel with a blanket when it’s time for the dog to go in, they cry less. It could be torture for an active dog to see the surroundings outside the kennel but be unable to reach them;
Putting your dog in the Kennel - When you put your dog in the kennel, you should never drag them by their collar. You should use a verbal command (“go home” OR “safe place”). Putting them in the kennel should be for a play break, for overnight, or if you're out of the house. If you put them in the kennel for disciplinary reasons it should not be for more than 5 minutes;
Keep the Kennel door open - When you are home keep the kennel door open. Occasionally encourage your dog to enter the kennel while the door remains open. Interact with them in the kennel, praise them and reward them with treats for listening. Make sure they know not to be aggressive with you if you were to enter the kennel at any point in time.
*REMEMBER: The kennel isn’t an excuse to ignore your dog, or to dismiss exercising and playing with your dog.
If this is your first time kennel training with your dog, please be patient. Most dogs are anxious when they are first associated with the kennel, and they will most likely cry. I would practice kennel training when you are home with your dog. Here are some tips:
Keep the kennel door open at all times (unless you are training for when you leave), and put your dog's favorite treats in the kennel so they can associate the space well;
Practice having your dog in the kennel with the door closed for 30-60 minute intervals, and reward them for behaving in the kennel;
If the dog begins to cry, ignore their crying and reward them when they stop. If you tell the dog "no crying" or you yell at the dog for crying- you are rewarding that behavior and reversing the training.