Puppy kennel training is simple when you know how.
Puppy kennel training, or crate training, involves getting your puppy used to the idea of spending time alone in her crate. Many people think this is cruel, but in fact, it taps into one of the most basic instincts of canine behavior. In the wild, a wolf will find itself a warm, safe burrow to curl up in. Dogs are no different, and if you do this right, the crate will soon become her favorite place.
Puppy Kennel Training: Buying the Right Crate
Crate training starts even before you bring your puppy home. You’ll need to go shopping for a crate. Try to find one that will accommodate the puppy’s full adult size. But make sure that it has a movable wall and adjust it to give the pup enough space to lie down, stand up and turn around.
As the puppy grows you’ll adjust this but, whatever you do, don’t put your puppy into a full-sized dog crate. If she can walk around in the crate she will relieve herself in it. This will make house-training much more difficult later on.
Puppy Kennel Training the Right Way
Here are a few more tips to ensure your success with puppy kennel training;
- As with all dog training, the key is to start young. Dogs are most receptive to learning at an early age, so you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle if you start puppy training as soon as you bring your puppy home.
- Begin by putting the pup into her kennel for short periods – no longer than a few minutes at a time.
- If you want the pup to learn to go to her kennel on command then say “kennel” every time you put her in the crate.
- Never force her into the crate or use it as a punishment. You want her to enjoy being in the crate, and she will, because of her natural ‘den instinct’.
- As she becomes used to the crate you can increase the length of time she stays there, but don’t leave her unattended for long periods.
- Puppies need to relieve themselves every 20-30 minutes, so when she starts barking or whining take her outside immediately. Remember to praise her when she relieves herself outside.
- Accidents will happen! When they do, clean the box and bedding, and wash and dry the puppy, but don’t scold her. She’s only a baby remember!
- One other tip. Don’t use ammonia based products to clean up puppy accidents. The smell will remind her of urine, so she’ll think this is the place to go.
Puppy Kennel Training at Night
Start puppy crate training with the crate in your bedroom. If you can, get a small square of cloth with her mother’s scent on it and place it in her crate. This will help her settle in quicker. The first few nights away from her mom and littermates is a very traumatic time for a puppy. Expect a ruckus!
In a few weeks, when the puppy is used to the crate you can move her out of your bedroom to another part of the house if you prefer. Once again, she may cry and act up at first, but she’ll soon get used to the idea.
If you’ve done your puppy kennel training correctly she’ll probably go to her ‘den’ out of choice.