Crates, or kennels, can serve as many different places for your dog. It can serve as a bed, as a safety place/”in-trouble” zone and even a traveling device. Below are some in’s and out’s about how a kennel may be beneficial to you and your dog.
The primary use for the kennel is to housetrain dogs. Dogs don’t like to soil their kennels, therefore this would be a great tactic when trying to potty train. When you purchase your kennel, buy one that allows your dog to stand up and stretch, turn around and potentially store a bowl of water and food in. DO NOT buy a kennel that’s meant for a Saint Bernard when you own a Shih Tzu. Too much room is not better. If it’s too big, they will relieve themselves in the back of the kennel and still have room to hide from their mistake. The main purpose of having the size fit is to train them to keep their bed clean. Nobody wants a soiled bed!
The kennel can also limit the access to the rest of the house while they learn the rules. Keep in mind though, the kennel is not a jail. Your puppy should learn that the crate is a refuge for when they’re tired. If the situation isn’t used correctly, a dog can feel trapped instead.
Kennels come in different sizes. Like we said above, you want to make sure that you get the proper size. You want the kennel to be big enough for them to stand and turn around in. If you’re buying a kennel when your dog is little, research the breed and pick a kennel size you think will best accommodate them. Be sure – if they’re still puppies – you block off parts of the kennel so they learn not to use it as a restroom.
As for the type of kennel you choose, that’s up to you as the owner. There are plastic kennels that offer a bit more privacy to your pet and there are wire kennels that also tend to be collapsible for easy storage. Ask around to your friends and family that have dogs and see what they like better. From there, you can discover what you would like for your dog.
The training process can take weeks even with consistency. You have to remember to stay patient. Two things to keep in mind while training:
1. The kennel should always be associated with something pleasant.
2. Training should take place in a series of small steps. DO NOT rush it.
When you get home, don’t praise them for excited behavior. Keep arrivals low key to avoid any increase in their anxiety they may get when you get home.
Whining. Sometimes it’s difficult to decide if they are whining to be let out or whining because they need to be let out. If you’re following the guidelines above, it is likely that you may have released them when they whined before. If this is the case, just ignore it the best that you can. Eventually they will understand that they’re not getting to come out. They may just be testing you. Whatever you do, do not yell at them or pound on the kennel. Doing so will scare them or just make things worse.
If the whining continues after several minutes of you ignoring them, use the phrase that you choose that they will associate with outside. If they respond, then they may need to use the restroom. Be sure to take them straight outside and let them know that this trip out of the kennel is for a purpose and not for play time. If they don’t respond to outside, don’t give in to letting them out. This will just teach them to whine louder until they get what they want. If you have made your way through the training process slowly, you shouldn’t have this problem as they are older. However, you may need to go back and retry the steps.
Separation anxiety. If your dog already has separation anxiety, placing them in the kennel won’t help a bit. This may cause them to become destructive and they may even injure themselves in attempt to escaping the kennel. If the anxiety problems progress, you may want to talk to your vet about some ways to help with it.