A lot of people who purchase outdoor dog kennels don’t have any experience on HOW TO KENNEL TRAIN A DOG. If you want to avoid problems when introducing your dog to its new home for the first time, a bit of training will be beneficial. If you follow our 4-step process in how to kennel train a dog, you will not only make your life easier raising a dog but also keep the neighbors happy.
Looking for more dog training advice? Check out our article on dog training tips for beginners.
So, What is Kennel Training?
Kennel training is basically taking advantage of your dog’s natural instincts as a den animal. A place to sleep, hide from danger, and raise a family is where a wild dog’s den becomes its home. The kennel becomes your dog’s den, where it can find peace and comfort while you know it is safe and secure and not destroying your home while you’re at work. Read the next section to learn everything you need to know about how to kennel train a dog.
Need some advice on crate training a dog? Check out our blog to learn more.
How to Kennel Train a Dog?
Here are four simple steps that will help you know how to kennel train a dog.
1. Introduce Your Dog to the Kennel
Start off by choosing a good location for your dog’s kennel. Make sure it’s an area of your backyard that’s not hidden or dark and is visible to you from the house.
- Put a blanket or a towel in the kennel and open the door. Allow your dog to explore the kennel at its own leisure.
- Talk to your dog around the kennel in a positive tone so they don’t associate the kennel with being a punishment area.
- Drop some small dog treats near the kennel and then inside the kennel to encourage your dog to enter at its own will. Continue giving your dog small treats inside the kennel until your dog is walking calmly inside. If treats aren’t doing it, try tossing in its favorite toy.
Make sure not to use force to get the dog to enter the kennel. Remember, this step could take minutes, or it could take days. It all depends on your dog’s age, level of aggressiveness, and past experience.
2. Feed your Dog’s Meals in the Kennel
After successfully completing step 1 in learning how to kennel train a dog, start by beginning to feed the dog its regular meals near the kennel. This process will help create a positive association between the dog with the dog kennel.
- If your dog is entering the kennel comfortably, begin placing the food dish all the way in the back of the kennel. If they’re still having trouble entering, put the dish as far inside as possible without making them feel anxious or scared. Each time you feed your dog, place its meal a little further in the kennel.
- Once your dog begins eating its meals comfortably inside the kennel, try closing the door. The first time you do this, make sure to open the door as soon as your dog is finished eating. Every time you’re able to successfully feed your dog inside the kennel, leave the door closed for a longer duration until your dog stays in the kennel for 10 minutes or longer.
- If your dog begins to whine to be let out, you might have increased the duration a little too quickly. If they whine or cry inside the kennel, don’t let them out until they stop. This is very important, if you let them out right away, they will learn that a way out of the kennel is to whine and cry. To avoid this happening, increase the time little by little each day.
3. Practice with longer kennel periods
Now that Step 2 of learning how to kennel train a dog is completed, you can begin confining your dog in the kennel for a short period of time. This can only be done if your dog is able to eat its meal inside the kennel without any sign of fear or anxiety.
- Start calling your dog to the kennel and giving them a treat.
- Begin using commands such as “in the kennel” to encourage them to listen to you and point to the inside of the kennel with a treat. After your dog enters the kennel, reward them with the treat and close the door.
- Sit by the crate quietly for a few minutes, then go into another room. When you return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out of the kennel. This will help your dog become more independent and be able to stay in the kennel without the presence of its owner.
Practice this process several times a day, and slowly increase the length of alone time for your dog in the kennel by a little each day. Once your dog is comfortable in the kennel for 30 minutes alone, you can try keeping your dog kenneled for a longer period of time while you’re gone or possibly even letting them sleep there at night. Again, this process could take days or even weeks.
4. Kennel Your Dog When Leave and at Night
As mentioned in Step 3 of learning how to kennel train a dog, your dog may now be ready to spend the night inside the kennel, if previous steps have been successfully completed.
- When you are getting ready to head out of the house, kennel your dog 10-20 minutes prior to leaving.
- Put your dog in the kennel using a regular command and a treat. Consider leaving your dog with a toy to occupy its time while you’re out of the house.
- Don’t make your departure an emotional and prolonged event. Give your dog a treat for entering the kennel, say a quick goodbye, and then leave quietly.
When you return home, don’t encourage enthusiastic behavior by greeting your dog with excitement. Avoid increasing your dog’s anxiety about when you’re going to return again by always making your arrival home a subtle one. When you arrive home, continue to kennel your dog for short durations so they don’t associate being kenneled with being left alone.
The final step of learning how to kennel train a dog has now been completed. Now let’s talk about some possible obstacles you might face when kennel training your dog.
Potential Problem you might face when Learning How to Kennel Train a Dog
- Extended Time in the Kennel
- A dog kennel is a great solution to keep your dog healthy and safe if used correctly. For dogs, a kennel can seem like a punishment or prison where they feel trapped and frustrated. If your dog is kenneled all day while you’re out working and again all night when you’re home, your dog is spending too much time in a small space with no freedom. Make sure to make time to play with your dog and allow it to use the bathroom outside of the kennel. Avoid kenneling your dog for an extended period when learning how to kennel train a dog.
- Whining in the Kennel at Night
- Hearing their dog whining and crying isn’t easy for any dog owner. It might be hard to know if your dog is whining because it wants out of the dog kennel or if it needs to use the bathroom. Don’t give in easily and always wait to see if the dog stops the whining after a little. It could just be testing you and if you give in, it will whine every time it wants out of the kennel.
Choosing the Best Dog Kennels
So now that you know how to kennel train a dog, it’s time to choose your quality dog kennel. You need to make sure the kennel you choose is well-ventilated, and large enough for your dog to stand up, lay down, and turn around comfortably. To save money in the future, you might want to consider buying a large dog kennel for when your dog grows in size. For the time being, use a separator to make the kennel smaller until your dog grows.
A kennel that’s too small will be uncomfortable for your dog, especially when it starts growing. A large dog kennel can give your dog the space it needs to have an accident without ruining it’s bedding, so that’s why a divider is a great idea. If you don’t use a separator, that behavior can encourage future accidents in the kennel and around the home.
To get started with a home for your dog, download a catalog to see a variety of options offered by the Dog Kennel Collection. If you’re ready to get your dog kennel, fill out a quote form for your custom dog kennel. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 888-318-4404, and we would be happy to assist you in finding the ideal custom dog kennel for your dog.