You know the feeling of crawling into your bed at night? Folding down the sheets, allowing your body to relax, forgetting your crazy day, and tuning out the stimuli in your environment? It feels pretty great, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, that’s how your dog feels when they go into their kennel. Like children, puppies aren’t good at self-regulating their play and rest times. They play so hard that they don’t know when they’re tired or when it’s time to settle down. The responsible pet parent needs to make that decision for them.
The kennel is the safest place for your dog when you are not watching them and should be every pet parent’s best friend. They can’t get into trouble or get hurt when they are in their kennel. It is your responsibility to make the kennel Fido’s personal palace by following these tips.
Command 8 – “Kennel” or “Kennel Up”
“Kennel” or “Kennel Up” means to walk into the kennel.
- Associate the command “Kennel” or “Kennel Up” with going in the kennel. Say it every time you put your puppy in the kennel.
- Never force Fido to go into the kennel (such as grabbing the collar). Use a treat or a piece of kibble to lure him into the kennel, praise with an enthusiastic “Yes!” If your puppy is still reluctant, pick up just under his back legs and “wheelbarrow” him in and then praise.
- Never use the kennel as punishment!
- Always feed Fido in the kennel and offer a carrot or bone for nap time. This will help to make the kennel a positive place where he will want to relax and enjoy his peace and privacy.
- Put your puppy in the kennel for short periods of time when you are home to help him learn that the kennel is not only for when you are leaving.
- Never ever, let Fido out of the kennel if he is making noise. The only time the door can open is when he is calm and quiet.
- For safety reasons, do not put any bedding or toys in the kennel with your puppy. Instead of settling down and going to sleep, he may chew and destroy anything you put in there. Also, remove all correction collars before putting Fido in the kennel.
- Leave the door to the kennel opened so that your puppy can go freely in and out during the day. Most puppies will surprise you by putting themselves into the kennel when they are ready for a nap.
If you follow these simple tips for using the kennel and teaching your puppy to “Kennel” or “Kennel up,” you will quickly teach Fido that the kennel is a happy place and you will enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your puppy is safe and comfortable when you are not around.
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How to Teach Your Dog to Heel
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All training tips in this series are from ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities), a non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs for veterans with disabilities. Learn more about ECAD.