Our four-legged friends quickly become beloved members of the family for whom we want to provide love, comfort, and security. You probably spoil your pup with toys, treats, and kisses galore! Many dog owners, however, are reluctant to use kennels and crates with their pets because they feel bad leaving them cooped up and alone.
The truth is though, a kennel is a great place for your dog to have to call his own and escape to when he needs some alone time to rest and recharge—they just get a bad reputation! If you present it to him the right way, your dog will love his kennel and make it easier for you to leave the house and get things done without worrying about his safety or him getting in the way.
Use these tips to train your dog to love his kennel and give him the safe and comfortable sanctuary he deserves!
Take it slow.
If you force your dog into his kennel without giving him time to adjust, it’s just going to become a source of discomfort and animosity for him. Slowly introduce him to the space so he comes to see it as a refuge and not a prison. Start by closing the door for short intervals and increase the length as he gets more comfortable.
You’ll be able to tell your dog is becoming accustomed to his kennel as he starts to retreat there more often on his own and whine less when the door is closed.
Leave the door open.
If you have an indoor crate for your dog, leave it open whenever he isn’t in it. If you have an outdoor kennel, open it whenever he’s outside playing or lounging to keep it easily accessible.
This will give your dog the opportunity to explore his kennel on his own and become acquainted with it at his own pace. Be sure to close an outdoor kennel when you go inside though, to prevent other animals from entering and contaminating your dog’s personal space.
Encourage your dog to use his kennel.
Help your pooch develop positive associations with the kennel by rewarding him when he uses it voluntarily or is well-behaved when you lock him in. Slip him some treats or leave a few in there as he plays and wanders around it. Put his favorite toy in there too—it’ll bring him some comfort and give him a way to entertain himself while he’s in there.
Don’t forget about the power of verbal encouragement and good pets either! If you notice your dog retiring to his dog house on his own or whining less when he’s inside, tell him he’s a good boy and give him a couple of extra ear scratches when he comes out.
Don’t use the kennel as punishment.
Going along with the importance of positively reinforcing your dog’s use of his kennel, you want to take care to avoid giving him any negative associations with it as well. Sending him to his cage as punishment will foster fear and resentment. You want your dog to see his kennel as a safe haven, not a jail cell.
Don’t give in to his whining.
You want your dog’s experience with his kennel to be comfortable and reassuring, but he still needs to know that you’re in charge! If you acknowledge his whining in any way, even just by yelling at him, you’ll be encouraging the behavior. Any response will teach your dog that barking and crying are effective ways to get your attention or tools he can use to get out of his kennel when he’s tired of it. Be firm when he needs to be crated, no matter how cute his face is.
You do want to determine though whether your dog is whining because he needs something—like more water or a trip to the potty—or simply because he wants to get out. Satisfy your dogs needs so he still feels secure, but don’t give in to his demands.
Choose the right kennel.
Providing your dog with the best kennel is the most effective way to make it feel like a home! Invest in something that gives him plenty of room to relax and get comfortable. Throw down some soft bedding and his favorite chew toy to make the space soothing and inviting.
At Amish Barn Company, we offer a wide selection of dog houses and kennels for your furry friend to call home! Our variety of sizes and styles provide dogs of any personality, size, and number with a happy place to lounge and relax when the humans are away. Check out our website to browse our standard and elite models and learn more about our affordable rent-to-own options.
Trust us when we say there’s no way your dog won’t love to retreat to one of our spacious, luxury dog kennels at the end of a long day!