How to Kennel Train Your Dog

Kennel Training 101: How to Kennel Train Your Dog

Every pet owner knows the uneasy feeling when leaving their dog home alone. Whether it's a short run to the store or a long day at work, leaving your dog can cause problems. From chewing things up to barking too much, these actions can mess up your home and show that your dog is upset. 

Kennel training can help when you need to leave your dog alone. These provide safety, aid in training, lower stress, and promote good behavior, especially when done properly. Check out the complete blog to learn how to kennel train a dog.


The Benefits of Kennel Training

Kennel training is so helpful for dogs of all ages and backgrounds. From playful puppies to rescued dogs finding their feet in a new home. 

Kennel training has several benefits:

  • It gives dogs a special place where they can feel safe, relax, and learn good habits.
  • It’s useful in new environments or when dogs need quiet rest.
  • It helps dogs learn to wait for bathroom breaks and avoid messing up their sleeping area.
  • It ensures dogs behave when alone, provides a safe spot for rescue dogs, and gives owners peace of mind.
  • It offers older dogs with health issues a comfortable space.
  • It makes traveling with dogs easier.
  • It helps manage behaviors such as excessive barking.

It’s ideal for dogs to be treated as part of the family and spend more time indoors. This way, they're less likely to get bored or anxious, reducing outdoor issues such as digging. 


Preparing for Kennel Training

Preparing for kennel training requires following a few steps. 

  • Choose a kennel that fits your dog just right. It should give them space to stand, turn, and rest comfortably. But the kennel shouldn't cost so much that they might think using a corner as a restroom is okay.

  • Put a soft blanket or bed and some safe toys in the kennel. These items make the kennel feel inviting and comfortable for your dog.

  • Give your dog treats to make them feel more at ease with the kennel. This also makes your dog eager to go inside the kennel and stay there, helping them feel positive about it.

  • Be patient and consistent. This is important because it helps your dog feel safe and understand what you expect from them. Rushing or changing rules can scare or confuse your dog, making the training harder.


How to Kennel Train Dogs

Kennel training can take a few days to several weeks. Depending on your dog's age, personality, and past experiences. And this kennel training should be done gradually.

Step 1: Getting Your Dog Familiar with the Kennel

One way to help your dog get familiar with the kennel is to place it in a family-frequented area. You can also keep the door open or remove it so your dog can explore the kennel on their terms.

Remember to use a cheerful tone and treats to attract them. If they're hesitant, start by placing treats near and then inside the kennel.

Step 2: Feeding in the Kennel

Start by feeding your dog their usual meals near the kennel. If they seem okay with it, place the food inside the kennel. For hesitant dogs, put the food just inside the kennel entrance and gradually move it further back. Close the kennel door while they eat and open it when they're done. 

Step 3: Longer Stays in the Kennel

After your dog is used to eating in the kennel, you can start having them stay in it for about 10 minutes while you're home. Use a hand gesture and a cue like 'kennel' to ask them to enter. Repeat this, extending the time gradually to 30 minutes. Include times when you're out of sight to help reduce their anxiety. This will prepare them to sleep in the kennel with peace. 

Step 4: Kenneling When Leaving Home

If your dog is fine in the kennel for 30 minutes, you can start using it when you leave the house. Put your dog in the kennel with the same command and a treat. It's good to leave a few toys in the kennel too. Put your dog in the kennel at different times before you leave, between 5 to 20 minutes earlier.

Go out quietly and keep it simple. When you come back, be calm so your dog feels okay. It’s a good idea to put your dog in the kennel sometimes when you’re at home, too. This way, they won’t think the kennel is just for when they’re alone.

Step 5: Nighttime Kenneling

Place your dog in the kennel at night using your usual command and a treat. Start by keeping the kennel near you, so you can hear if they need to go out. After your dog gets used to sleeping all night in the kennel. You can start moving it to where you want it to be. Don't forget that spending time with your dog, even during sleep, strengthens your friendship.


Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are seven key mistakes to steer clear of for a smoother kennel training experience for your puppy or adult dog:

  1. Extended Kennel Time: Avoid leaving your dog in the kennel for lengthy periods, like an entire workday. If you can't come home to let them out during the day, it's unfair to confine them for so long.

  2. Uncomfortable Kennel: It's important to make the kennel a secure and pleasant place. Ensure it's spacious enough for your dog to stand and move around. Add comfy blankets, toys, and a water dish, and regularly check to see if your dog is adjusting well.

  3. Kennel as Punishment: Never use the kennel as a punishment zone. This could make your dog anxious or scared. Instead, associate the kennel with positive experiences. If you must put your dog in a kennel with unknown dogs, do it gently to keep them feeling safe.

  4. Frequent Letting Out: Don't let your dog out every time they whine. Know when they're truly upset or just adjusting. Stay consistent to make them see the kennel as safe, not something to escape from.

  5. Forcing Into Kennel: Don't force your dog into the kennel. If they're unsure, use positive methods. Gently encouraging them is okay, but avoid physical force. Patience is vital in this process.

  6. Discouraging “Bopping” Method: Some suggest tapping the kennel with a towel when the dog makes noise, but this can be frightening and counterproductive. Keep the kennel environment positive and stress-free.



Learning how to kennel train a dog is valuable for teaching dogs to be calm and safe alone. By making the kennel a comfortable place and using positive methods like treats and praise, dogs learn to see the kennel as a safe spot. This training solves problems like chewing and mess-making when dogs are left alone, leading to a happier life for both dogs and their owners.  It's important to know the mistakes to avoid training your dog well and kindly.

For an extra boost, have a look at our Training e-Collars. They're a big help in training and might be just what you need for an even happier dog. Check them out!

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