Because some dogs can be destructive in the home while you’re gone, you may want to kennel train them. Others choose to kennel train their dog in order to help them feel more relaxed at home. The kennel becomes their place of safety or refuge.
The best time to kennel train your dog is when they’re a puppy. Older dogs are still capable of being kennel trained, but the process is long and may be more difficult.
It’s also important that you have the right size kennel. Dogs won’t feel comfortable inside of a kennel that’s too small for them. To ensure you have the right-sized kennel, you’ll want to measure your dog. Beginning with their nose, measure from that distance to their tail. Then add five inches on each side. That’s the smallest size crate you should shop for.
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Is Kennel Training Bad For Dogs?
Kennel and crate training may seem like it may be bad for dogs if the dog cries or barks a lot. This is just a sign that your dog hasn’t been properly trained just yet. Not to mention, any dog will likely bark if they hear a disturbance nearby.
However, kennel training actually just reinforces a dog’s natural need to find an enclosed space where they feel safe. Like their ancestors, dogs seek out dens. These are enclosed spaces that don’t have a lot of light or provide protection from all sides. In that space, dogs are able to relax and feel comfortable.
Kennel training is also useful in helping to teach dogs how to housetrain. Dogs instinctively try not to use the bathroom in areas where they sleep. While you housebreak your dog, keeping them in a crate when you’re not there to take them out can help them build up their bladder control and learn that the house isn’t their bathroom.
Encouraging your dog to use the kennel, and not use it as a place for punishment, can further ensure that your dog sees its kennel as a place of safety rather than somewhere to avoid or hate.
How Many Hours A Day Should A Dog Be In A Kennel?
A dog should be inside of a kennel or crate no longer than eight hours. This is the standard time for a person who is away from home at work. Puppies should be in a kennel even less because of their energy levels and because of their smaller bladders.
If you’re home, then your dog should be out of its kennel. Even if you give your dog regular breaks from the kennel, they should never be in it for longer than eight hours in a given day. Doing so can give them behavioral problems and may make them overweight or even obese.
Their overall happiness may also decline since they’re not able to spend time at your side. They’ll feel like a caged animal.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Crying Or Barking In His Kennel?
A common problem dog owners face is barking or crying dogs when they’re placed in their kennel. To stop them from crying, you need to show them that their kennel isn’t a place for punishment. It’s a place where they can have fun and feel safe. You’ll want to start early and not leave your dog in the kennel for too long.
At most, you should keep your dog inside of the kennel for a minute or two. If they start to cry, then take them outside for a bathroom break. This teaches them that crying means they go outside to use the bathroom. You shouldn’t reward them at this point.
Once they’re done, place them back inside of the kennel and give them some sort of puzzle toy or something to chew on inside of their kennel. If they remain quiet, then you can open the door to the kennel and let them out.
You’ll want to repeat these steps more and more to break their crying habit and instead teach them that crying means bathroom breaks. It also reinforces that their kennel is a place where they can enjoy fun toys and relax.
Check out the video training below. Note that kennel and crate training for barking work the same.
Kennel Training Benefits
Here are a few benefits that kennel training can provide.
1. Dogs Have a Safe Place
One of the best benefits of kennel training your dog is that it establishes a safe place for your dog. If they have anxiety over thunderstorms, fireworks, or just being away from you, then their kennel can be a refuge. They’ll feel that much safer inside of their kennel.
2. Prepares Them for Surgery Recoveries
Sometimes your dog may have an emergency or need to undergo a surgical procedure. In this case, they need to remain in a kennel in order to recover. Dogs that are already used to the kennel won’t have any problems recovering. Dogs that aren’t used to a kennel may injure themselves further by trying to get out.
3. Teaches Housetraining
Kennel training can also help to housebreak your dog. Because they won’t want to soil their kennel if they can help it, kennels can give dogs bladder control. That’s a win for everyone.
Kennel Training A Puppy At Night
Training a puppy to sleep in their kennel at night can be difficult at first. You can never be too sure if they’re barking because they need to use the bathroom or because they’re distressed.
To properly kennel train your dog, you need to first be proactive in helping them use the bathroom. Cut down on their water and food a few hours before bedtime. Then take them out before bed. You can also create a potty time schedule to take them out before they start barking.
You can also move their crate within your room if you think the puppy is barking because it wants to be closer to you.
Otherwise, be consistent. Keep on the bathroom schedule, don’t let your dog out if they’re just barking to get your attention, and instead give them a toy to occupy themselves with or move them close to you to keep them calm.
Kennel Training An Older Dog
In order to kennel train an older dog, you’ll want to overcome any existing habits it already has. You can do this by making the kennel an attractive place for them to be. Place a comfy blanket within it. Add toys and treats within it to encourage them to go inside.
In some cases, you may also need to keep the kennel close to you to cut down on separation anxiety.
Close the door on the kennel and keep your dog inside of it for longer periods of time. You can also help the dog feel more relaxed by taking them out beforehand and burning off some energy.