Kennel training is a must for puppies and highly recommended for most newly adopted adult dogs. Kennel training speeds up house training, prevents chewing, prevents counter surfing and prevents your puppy from practicing bad habits. Kennel training should be fun and stress free for your puppy. Follow these steps to teach your puppy to love going into his kennel and to be able to send your puppy to his kennel on a verbal cue from anywhere in the house.
Step 1: Creating a strong desire to enter the kennel
Place a yummy treat in the back of your puppy’s kennel and shut the kennel door with your puppy on the outside of the kennel, so that he can’t access the treat. Watch your puppy as he tries to figure out how to get inside the kennel to access his treat. When he seems like he’s trying to get inside open the kennel door and allow your puppy to retrieve the treat. Don’t shut the door behind your puppy instead allow your puppy to exit the kennel whenever he chooses. Repeat this step until you can do five repetitions in a row where your puppy is pawing at the kennel door or nudging the kennel door in attempt to enter the kennel.
Step 2: Adding a verbal cue “Kennel”
This step is going to be very similar to the previous step of kennel training. You’re going to place a treat in the back of the kennel and shut the kennel door let your puppy show interest in the treat for about 30 seconds, then say “Kennel” opening the door right after you’ve said it. Repeat this step at least 20 times before moving onto the next step.
Before you move onto the next step:
You want to make sure that your puppy does not to hesitate before entering the kennel. Any reluctance and you shouldn’t move forward. You may also see that your puppy no longer rushes out of the kennel. If your puppy chooses to stay in the kennel give your puppy a few treats for choosing to stay in the kennel instead of rushing out. You want to see that your puppy is slightly worked up about not being allowed access into the kennel. That will help with our next step.
Step 2: Sending your puppy to the kennel from a distance
Put your puppy on a leash then show your puppy that you’ve placed a treat in the back of the kennel with the door open. Keep your puppy from entering by having your puppy on a leash 1-2 feet away from the kennel door. Then say “Kennel” and then immediately release your puppy to go in his kennel and retrieve the treat.
Repeat this step until you can get at least 5 repetitions where your puppy doesn’t hesitate at all going into the kennel. Make sure you’re not shutting the kennel door it’s important to let your puppy out immediately after.
Excellent job! By now your puppy has started to understand what “kennel” means and is excited to go to the kennel. Let’s start to add some distance.
Step 3: Adding distance
This step is going to be a lot like step 2 except now we are going to gradually add distance away from the kennel when we ask our puppy to go to their kennel. Put your puppy on a leash then show your puppy that you’ve placed a treat in the back of the kennel with the door open. Keep your puppy from entering by having your puppy on a leash 2-3 feet away from the kennel door. Then say “Kennel” and then immediately release your puppy to go in his kennel and retrieve the treat. For every five that your puppy does correctly move 2 feet farther away from the puppy’s kennel until you can be in the next room.
Who knew kennel training could be so much fun? I love to play kennel games like this with my dogs when it’s too cold to go outside. You can practice send your dog all the way across the house into the kennel or even try sending your dog from one kennel to the other. Dogs that are kennel trained love their kennels and find their kennels safe and comforting!