When to Kennel a Dog – Is It Cruel? What Age To Start? How To Train

You should never kennel a dog too early on in their life, or they might start to get the idea that their crate is a scary place that they don’t want to relax in. Puppies who are around 8-to-10 weeks old shouldn’t spend much more than an hour in their crate or kennel.

By around 16 weeks, they’re normally able to rest in there for maybe four hours or so, but they shouldn’t be in there any longer. You can’t have them kenneled the whole time you’re at work at that age yet.

As soon as your dog is a little older and fully potty trained, you should be able to leave them in there for a more substantial period of time. If you’re going to work really long days, then make sure to come home on your lunch break or at least find a neighbor who is willing to take your dog out when you’re not around.

Dogs that aren’t under 4-5 months old shouldn’t be taken to stay at a kennel while you’re on vacation. In some cases, dogs who aren’t well adjusted shouldn’t be brought with either, so you might want to take a staycation instead if your dog hasn’t fully learned about the world just yet.

Is It Cruel to Kennel a Dog While at Work?

As long as your kennel your dog indoors and it doesn’t get too hot or cold, kenneling a dog while at work isn’t cruel. If you’re leaving your dog for a long period of time, then it can be a problem.

Those who work long or unpredictable hours should make arrangements to either come home and give their dogs a potty break or find someone else who can. Your dog should be properly crate trained and you need to have shown them that the crate is a relaxing place to be rather than one to be afraid of.

While you’re training them, make sure to place the crate in an area that receives a lot of traffic. This will help to teach your dog that they’re not separated from you just because they happen to be in the crate.

Kenneling your dog outside while you’re at work could be cruel depending on the weather. If you have to do this for whatever reason, then make sure that your dog has plenty of water and is properly sheltered.

That’s important both for getting through rainy days as well as extremely sunny ones.

Is It Cruel to Kennel a Dog at Night?

It’s cruel to kennel your dog while at night if they’re too young to handle it and fully understand what’s going on. The amount of time a dog should spend in a kennel depends on their age.

Anyone with a 10-week-old puppy can’t expect their dog to stay kenneled all night. In fact, if you force things your dog might permanently think of their kennel as a scary place and never want to go back in it.

If your dog hasn’t had enough running around time in a day or hasn’t gotten a chance to go potty, then crating them might also be cruel. It may actually be best to tire your dog out so they’ll sleep away most of their crating time and wake up refreshed by the time that they’re ready to get out.

Don’t ever use the crate as a detention center for bad behavior. If you do, then your dog will think that they’re being punished all night.

To ensure that evening crating time isn’t too hard on your dog, you might want to play with them and take them out each night before you put you dog away. Make sure to gently work your way to the crate and have him or her go inside so it doesn’t look like your abandoning them.

It can take a while for a dog to get used to the idea of spending each night in a crate, so don’t force things. If you don’t gradually introduce the concept to your dog, then they may never get adjusted.

Crating an anxious dog can be cruel as well. If you see damage to the kennel caused by your dog trying to get out, then it means your animal could be suffering from separation anxiety and you might need to restart the whole process of kennel training.

Keep in mind that if the weather gets bad or the thermometer drops really low, it can be cruel to kennel your dog outside no matter how much he or she is used to it.

How to Kennel Train Your Puppy in Your Home Outdoor Kennel

The first step to kennel training a puppy outdoors is to not close the door to their enclosure until they’re so comfortable they don’t even notice. Dog training expert Robert Cabral uses this technique with all the dogs he works with:

More than likely, you’re using something much more substantial than he did in that video, so you shouldn’t have nearly as much difficulty getting your dog comfortable. If your dog has never gotten acclimated to the kennel before, then try these tips:

  1. Make sure the outdoor kennel is large enough for your dog, especially if you have a heavier and more muscular dog
  2. Put a blanket in the kennel and allow your dog to explore it freely
  3. Talk to your dog around the outdoor kennel in a positive way so they don’t get the idea they’re being punished
  4. Drop some treats near and inside the kennel
  5. Continue to coax the dog in until he or she walks calmly inside
  6. Never force your dog to enter; this process could take days if you have a more aggressive or energetic pet
  7. Feed your pet by placing his or whole bowl near the back of the kennel
  8. Close the door when your dog is eating comfortably
  9. Begin using commands to send your dog to the kennel, but don’t make it sound like you’re mad at them
  10. Sit by the kennel for a little bit and then go away to get your dog used to being alone