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Kennel training or crate training, as it goes by both names, is imperative for a happy dog. Having a place that is a refuge and not a prison is important for any dog. You too can have your furry friend choose to go to their kennel when they are in need of some down time. All it takes is a little patience.
My dogs are all kennel trained and sleep happily in their kennel every night. The kennel also allows for trips and vacations to be taken with or without your dog. Kennel training is also very useful when it comes to potty training success. It is important to develop a routine that your puppy can adapt too. The basics of kennel training are that the kennel is where the puppy should be when he or she is not supervised. This gives you piece of mind that your puppy is not getting into anything they shouldn’t be and keeps them safe. The door to the kennel should lead right to their potty spot whether that is their litter tray or outside.
If you have a puppy safe play/exercise area it is good idea to put their crate in there with them so they can relax in their crate. If your puppy has never been crate trained you will need to ease your puppy into training and not just lock them in and leave. We suggest that your puppy sleep in their kennel as this will make it easy for the puppy to know it is bed time and they will feel safe and relaxed. It is tempting to let a howling puppy out of their crate however it is important to only allow the puppy out if they are being quiet (unless they are howling to go to the bathroom of course). If let out while howling they will learn that howling is how to get what they want.
Start out by placing your puppy into the kennel and standing in front of the door so they won’t just walk out. It is a good idea at this stage to say a common phrase such as “Go to your kennel”. This will help them understand what you want them to do later on. Try to get your puppy to relax by sitting or laying down and offering belly rubs or treats. Do this often the first couple of days for increasingly longer periods of time to get them used to the kennel.
After they are comfortable being in the kennel, begin to close the kennel door and leave the immediate area for a short amount of time. You can then come back and let them out with praise and or a treat for being good. Remember to not let your puppy out of the kennel while they are howling or whining. Repeat this process for a week or until your puppy becomes comfortable with their kennel. Over time your puppy will learn that the kennel is not a place for punishment but a place to be safe and see as their home. In no time you will catch your pet taking a nap or chewing a bone in their kennel by their own free will.
Kennel training can take longer with some dogs then others. Your pet might be extremely easy to train and they will find it an immediate safe haven or they might be more resistant to the training. In the end if you stick with it, kennel training will be something that makes both you and your pet happier.