Although many dogs never need kenneling at home, safe car-travel, boarding and veterinary hospital stays make training important. Training the dog properly in the beginning helps avoid the need to stop undesired behaviors later. Unfortunately, sometimes problems occur that make retraining necessary. Retraining requires working with the issues your dog currently displays in order to retrain it to tolerate confinement in a kennel or crate.
Take your dog to the veterinarian to determine if any conditions --- such as separation anxiety, urinary-tract infection or parasites --- exist that require treatment before kennel-training. Follow your veterinarian's instructions, particularly for problems that create needs to urinate or deficate.
Purchase a kennel or kennels appropriate for the dog's size and your needs. Using an indoor kennel for training makes supervision easier. Place bedding in the kennel, such as old towels or sheepskin. Put the crate in a busy area of the house to provide contact, suggests Vetinfo.
Begin reintroducing your dog to the kennel with the door open. Throw treats or a toy into the kennel and allow the dog to get the item and exit. Do this two to four times a day for three days. Stay in the room or close so that the dog can see or hear you.
Feed your dog in the kennel with the door open for several meals. After the dog seems relaxed while eating in the kennel, close the kennel door while the dog eats. Open the door promptly after the dog eats the first few times, then slowly increase the time you leave the dog in the kennel. Ignore whining and release only when the dog is quiet.
Put the dog in the kennel, with the door closed, three to four times a day for 5 to 10 minutes with a toy or treat. Slowly increase the time to 15 minutes.
Leave the house, or go where the dog cannot see or hear you, for 15 to 20 minutes with the dog in the closed kennel. Come back inside and use a happy tone to praise the dog as you release it from the kennel. Extend the time slowly, in 10-minute increments, to 1 hour. Once the dog tolerates confinement in the kennel for 1 hour at a time, slowly increase the time in 30-minute intervals.
Items You Will Need
- Bedding (optional)
- Consult a veterinary behaviorist for help with a dog that shows severe separation anxiety such as aggressive attempts to break out of the kennel or extreme distress. Such dogs may require medication and professional training, according to Mar Vista Animal Medical Center.
- Always use a happy uplifted voice when telling the dog to go in the crate and when releasing it from the crate.
- Remove the dog's collar when in the kennel to avoid accidents, advises Vetinfo.
- Dogs with arthritis or other joint and hip disorders need adequate space to move about in order to avoid increasing damage to the injured area.
- Do not punish your dog by putting it in the kennel or use harsh tones when putting the dog in the kennel to avoid making it afraid, suggests The Humane Society of the United States.
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