Crate / Kennel Training
WHY TO CRATE/KENNEL YOUR DOG
A balanced dog is not stressed when left alone for reasonable periods of time. A dog that is properly introduced to a kennel will consistently enter their crate when asked and remain calm while confined. Dogs socialized with a kennel will often choose to go there on their own, when wanting a place to rest.
It is my philosophy that we should begin socializing our dogs with a kennel the day they come home with us.
At some point during your dog's life, it's likely that your pet may have a condition that requires isolation and limited movement. If they are not secure being by themselves and spending time in a kennel, it is likely that this will cause confusion and stress. The added stress post-surgery or injury could result in the dog injuring themselves further trying to escape from the kennel.
A crate/kennel aids in house training. Most dogs want to be clean and don’t want to relieve themselves if they can’t get away from their waste. Utilizing a size appropriate kennel can greatly speed up the house training process. Puppies, like small children, don’t have the body function control that an adult has. It is important to give them frequent breaks to prevent accidents in their kennel. During the house training phase, a kennel gives you a place to put the puppy when you can’t be supervising their activity.
Crate/kennel training can keep the dog from damaging property or potentially injuring themselves if left unattended. Utilizing a crate/kennel can help manage dogs with behavioral issues, such as aggression directed towards other pets. It can also aid during the introduction of another pet into the home. A kennel can be a great place to reboot a puppy's brain when they get into extreme play frenzies and won’t redirect to an appropriate activity.
A crate/kennel can be a safe and clean option when transporting your dog in your vehicle. Active dogs that are free roaming in the car can cause distracted driving and create unnecessary risk. If a dog gets motion sickness, a kennel can be much easier to clean than your vehicle upholstery.
HOW TO CRATE/KENNEL YOUR DOG
When introducing the crate/kennel, have a high value treat waiting for the dog outside near the entrance and inside the kennel. As the dog is exploring most will want to retrieve the treats. Leave the door open so they can enter and exit the kennel as they choose. Once they are entering the kennel without hesitation begin playing games that involve them entering the kennel. Toss treats or a favorite toy inside the kennel, when the dog is excitedly entering the kennel, you can add a command. If they are very reluctant to go in the kennel you may want to place their food in the kennel and make this the only place they can eat. This may require a little patience but they will eventually want to eat and will find their way into the kennel to do so.
Be creative and make kennel time a rewarding experience for the dog. In the early stages, you can give them a treat that occupies their attention and takes a while to finish, when closing the door.
Begin with short durations of alone time in the kennel. Don’t let them out while they are having a temper tantrum, or they may think that throwing a fit is a viable solution to open the gate. Some dogs may be able to have a bed in their kennel, and some may not. Bedding can become harmful if the dog were to damage and ingest some. If your dog is prone to chewing or gets separation anxiety, I suggest putting items in the kennel that can redirect their thoughts to a healthy activity. However you should not put anything in the kennel that they could destroy and injure themselves with.
Crate/ kennel time is a great way to help your pet become more balanced and self-confident when alone, it aids in house training, and provides a safe place to rest when needed. It also gives you options to keep them and your property safe when they are in chewing stages and you aren’t able to give them your complete attention.