Why Do Dogs Love Their Kennels? The Surprising Truth

If you’re a dog owner, you may have noticed that your pet loves to spend time in their kennel. But have you ever wondered why dogs like their kennels so much? It turns out that dogs have an instinct to seek out small, enclosed spaces for comfort and protection. This is why many dogs find kennels to be safe and secure place to relax.

While some dogs may initially be hesitant to enter their kennel, with proper training and positive reinforcement, most dogs will come to love their kennel as a familiar and comforting space. Many dogs will voluntarily go into their kennel on their own, even when they have the option to roam freely around the house.

So why do dogs like their kennels? And how can you ensure that your dog feels comfortable and happy in their own space?

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind dogs’ love for their kennels and provide tips for creating a welcoming and enjoyable kennel environment for your pet.

ayla verschueren qvbG3 tZnyc unsplash

The Importance of Kennels for Dogs

Dogs are social animals and love spending time with their owners. However, there are times when you have to leave them alone. Kennels can provide a safe and comfortable space for your pet when you’re not around.

A Safe and Comfortable Space

Kennels provide a secure and comfortable space for dogs to rest and relax. They offer a sense of security and can help reduce anxiety and stress. Dogs feel safe and secure in their kennels, which can help them feel more comfortable when left alone.

A Den-Like Environment

Dogs have an instinct to seek out small, enclosed spaces. In the wild, they would make dens to rest and relax. Kennels provide a similar environment, allowing your dog to feel like they have its own den. This can help them feel more at ease and comfortable.

Get Our #1 Easy, Homemade Dog Food Recipe (Vet-Approved), 100% Free!!! Click to get it NOW!

A Place to Rest and Relax

Kennels can provide a place for your dog to rest and relax. They can be particularly useful for older dogs or those with health issues who need a quiet and comfortable place to rest. Additionally, kennels can help prevent destructive behavior, such as chewing or digging, by providing a safe and appropriate place for your dog to relax.

ayla verschueren TPbqNoEZdT4 unsplash

Why Dogs Like Their Kennels

Instinctual Behaviors

Dogs are descendants of wolves, who are known to seek out small, enclosed spaces in the wild to rest and feel secure. This instinctual behavior remains in dogs, which is why they often prefer small spaces like kennels. A kennel provides a den-like environment where your dog can feel safe and secure.

Security and Comfort

A kennel can provide a sense of security and comfort for your pet. The enclosed space can help block out excessive noise and distractions, which can be overwhelming for some dogs. Additionally, a kennel can provide a cozy and warm space, especially if you provide soft bedding or blankets.

Depositphotos 548374668 S e1645468474399
A small white chihuahua dog stands in a large gray plastic shipping box and looks at the camera. The dog is ready to travel.

Positive Associations

If you have trained your dog to associate their kennel with positive experiences, they are more likely to enjoy spending time in it. For example, if you give your dog treats or toys when they enter their kennel, they will start to associate the space with positive experiences.

Over time, your dog may start to seek out their kennel as a place of comfort and relaxation.

In conclusion, there are several reasons why dogs like their kennels, including instinctual behaviors, security and comfort, and positive associations. By providing your pet with a comfortable and safe space, you can help them feel relaxed and happy.

Encouraging Kennel Use

Positive Reinforcement Training

Encourage your dog to associate their kennel with positive experiences. Use treats or toys to reward them when they go into their kennel. Gradually increase the time they spend in their kennel, and reward them for staying calm and relaxed. Consistency is key – make sure everyone in your household uses the same training techniques.

Get Our #1 Easy, Homemade Dog Food Recipe (Vet-Approved), 100% Free!!! Click to get it NOW!

Making the Kennel Comfortable

Your dog is more likely to use their kennel if it is comfortable and inviting. Choose a kennel that is the right size for your dog, and add a soft bed or blanket. Place the kennel in a quiet, low-traffic area of your home. Consider adding a toy or chew to keep your dog occupied while they are in their kennel.

Gradual Introduction

Introduce your dog to their kennel gradually. Start by leaving the kennel door open and placing treats inside. Encourage your dog to explore the kennel on its own. Once they are comfortable going in and out of the kennel, start closing the door for short periods.

Gradually increase the amount of time they spend in their kennel until they are comfortable staying in it for longer periods.

Remember, every dog is different, and it may take time and patience to get your dog comfortable with their kennel. With consistent training and positive reinforcement, your dog will learn to love their kennel and see it as a safe and comfortable space.


Now that you understand why dogs like their kennels, you can provide them with a safe and secure place to retreat to when they need it. Remember to choose a kennel that is the right size for your dog and provide them with comfortable bedding.

Training your dog to use a kennel is important for their mental well-being, as they instinctively search out small, enclosed areas for comfort and protection. A kennel can also help reduce separation anxiety and provide a sense of security when you are away from home.

However, kennel stress is a real thing that some dogs experience, so it’s important to choose a reputable boarding facility if you need to leave your dog for an extended period. Keep goodbyes short and sweet, and don’t feed or give your dog water for at least four hours after returning home from the kennel.

If you have adopted a dog who came from a shelter or several homes, they might be fearful of the crate. In this case, it’s best to approach crate training safely with the help of a veterinarian or trainer. Remember to always prioritize your dog’s comfort and safety when using a kennel or crate.


Why do dogs prefer a small, enclosed area?

They want to make sure there is no access from any angle that may be in their blind spots. As den animals, they also just enjoy an area that is dark and away from others. It’s kind of like a cool fort for them to hang out and stash the neat items they have, such as toys or bones.

Get Our #1 Easy, Homemade Dog Food Recipe (Vet-Approved), 100% Free!!! Click to get it NOW!

How can I help my dog feel secure?

You can help your dog feel secure by showing him everything is okay. You could help by assisting your companion into their kennel and giving them their favorite toy and/or a treat. Always stay calm. Cesar Millan says dogs read our energy and body language. If you stay calm and in control, they will follow suit.

Why do dogs get anxious?

There are many reasons your dog may exhibit signs of anxiety. It could be from thunder, fireworks, or loud noises outside. It could be caused by you inviting over people they do not recognize. Regardless of the reason, you will always want to make them as comfortable as possible.

Can I help my dog with separation anxiety?

In the wild, dogs run in packs, and you are the leader of the pack in their eyes. When they are alone, this could be scary for them because they don’t feel like they have the protection you provide, and they cannot protect you as well. By giving them a space that is their own, they can cope with the anxiety that this can cause.

Is it cruel to use a kennel?

It is not cruel. It is recommended by the AKC and Veterinarians to give your dog this space. It will help them learn to self-soothe and ease any insecurity they may be feeling. You should leave the door open as much as you can so the dog can use the kennel of their own volition. Think of this space as their room in the house.

What size kennel should my dog have?

A dog should be given ample room to be able to stand and turn in a full circle to get comfortable. If they cannot stand up fully in the kennel, it is not big enough. You should measure your dog from nose to tail and from ground to the top of their ears to ensure you are getting a big enough kennel. The kennel should be 2-4 inches taller and longer than your dog.

Can a kennel be too large for my dog?

A kennel can be too large for your dog. In the wild, a dog will search out a small, confined spot where they can comfortably lie down to rest. A larger spot would be harder for them to feel properly sheltered and leave them unable to get the rest they require. A kennel that is too large can create anxiety in your pet.

Should I use a plastic or wire kennel?

A dog will prefer an enclosed area to relax. A plastic kennel will provide the privacy and security your dog needs. If you choose to use a wire Kennel, use a blanket, or cover to enclose the dog’s space.

How do I know my dog is comfortable in their kennel?

You can see they are comfortable by their body language. They will do a full turn and lay down to rest when they enter the kennel. They will go into their room voluntarily. If they whine or paw at the kennel, you may need to let them out and try again until they are comfortable. Typically though, after a day or so of getting familiar with the kennel, it will become obvious whether your dog likes it or does – they will voluntarily go into it if they do.

Why does my dog retreat to their kennel when there is nothing out of the ordinary happening at our home?

The kennel is essentially your dog’s room. It’s their place to go hang out and relax. Maybe he doesn’t like the noises from the TV, or the kids are rambunctious. They may want a break from the commotion. Don’t worry about this too much unless he or she is showing symptoms of being ill.

Get Our #1 Easy, Homemade Dog Food Recipe (Vet-Approved), 100% Free!!! Click to get it NOW!

Are there other reasons I should use a kennel for my dog?

It is good that they understand what a kennel is in case they need to do an overnight stay at the vet. It is also best to travel with your canine in a kennel in the car in case there is an accident. They will be secure in one location, with no chance of being ejected from the vehicle or running away from the chaotic scene.