Chewed shoes and furniture…

Shredded Newspapers…

Wet Spots on the Rug…

Does Any of this Sound Familiar?

I was so excited about getting my new puppy that I totally forgot how important Kennel Training a Puppy was.

I had a love-hate relationship when I first brought my new puppy dog home.

I had to quickly do something about the constant surprises that would greet me when I came into the house.

Who would have thought that walking a short distance to the mail box would be enough time for such massive destruction in my home.

I would get be so mad!

Then one look at that sweet,  innocent upturned, “who me?” face and I would melt.  I knew it was my own fault for leaving little Ollie unsupervised.

It had been awhile, 17 plus years since I had a puppy in the house.  My last two Miniature Schnauzers passed away well into their teens.  They were 17 and 18 years old and I had raised them from puppies.  It is so hard on us when we lose a pet.  They quickly become our children.  So I decided a new puppy would brighten my life.

Quickly my memories of puppies came back to me.  How could I have forgotten the kennel?  Kennel training a puppy is a win-win.  For both me and my puppy.  The puppy gets his own private suite to relax in and we are both so much happier when I come back to the house after running an errand in town.

Why Crate Kennel Train Your Puppy?

Crate Training your puppy is essential for everyone’s happiness and well being.

The natural instincts of a dog is to have a “den” where they can take refuge, rest, sleep and hide from dangers.

A kennel or crate can be used as a training aid but it is not a cure all magic pill.

A kennel should never be used as punishment.  The crate should be considered a safety comfort zone.  Your kennel will help you train your puppy.

  • Aid in potty training
  • Unsupervised time is controlled
  • Mischief is minimized by limiting house access
  • Travel safely in cars

Types of Kennels – Crates

There are basically three type of kennels:  Wire and Plastic and Soft Carriers

1.  Wire Kennels - The wire kennels give you several options.

  • They have a door and a removable tray in the bottom.
  • These are great because many quickly fold up for easy storage.
  • These are rooms with a view and good ventilation.
  • Your puppy can see everything going on around him.
  • You can give him privacy, especially at night by draping a cover over the top and sides.
  • You can get the wire kennels with adjustable separators.  As your puppy grows, you can increase the space size by moving the partition.

2.  Enclosed crate. The enclosed crate is very handy to have around in addition to the wire kennel.

  • Usually made of a hard plastic.
  • These often have a wire door and slots on the side for ventilation.
  • Often they have a handle for easy transportation.
  • Great for visits to the Vet.
  • Limited views or ventilation, but great hideaway dens.
  • The plastic is easily cleaned.
  • This is the type of kennel you would use if your puppy will be building up frequent flyer miles.

You will want to add a pad, blanket or towels for added comfort.  A pad might not be the best choice for a young puppy.  A comfy pad can be added later after your puppy gets over teething and chewing things up.  Towels and soft blankets seem to work best for a puppy.  They can easily be cleaned in the washer.

3.  Soft Sided Kennels and Carriers.

For Pets On The Move

These are suited more for the smaller dog or puppy.

Many look like a small suitcase, a pocketbook or a backpack.  They even come in a sling style that is typical of those designed for carrying a baby.

The soft carriers come in a wide variety of styles, shapes and colors.   Click on the photos to see a wide selection of all the different types of carriers you can get for your pet.

  • Kennels for On-the-Go doggies
  • Carriers go by size rather than weight
  • Many are approved by most airlines (need to check each individual airline carrier for specific approval requirements
  • Soft materials
  • Handles and shoulder straps
  • Side compartments
  • Ventilation

Size of Dog Crate Kennel

The Dog crate needs to be large enough for the puppy to stand up and stretch out without being cramped. You do not want it so large that a puppy could be tempted to find a corner to use as a bathroom.

A good idea is to purchase a wire kennel that your puppy can grow with.  Buy a kennel that has a divider panel and you can adjust the space size as your puppy grows.

Recommended Size of Dog Crate

The following recommended Dog Crate Sizes  are a general guideline based on the weight of your dog.  You should also take into consideration the height and length of your dog and use those measurements as part of your final crate size decision.

  • 18″ crates for smaller dogs up to 6 lbs
  • 22″ crates for dogs weighing between 7 – 10 lbs
  • 24″ crates for dogs weighing up to 11 – 25 lbs
  • 30″ crates for dogs weighing between 26 – 40 lbs
  • 36″ crates for dogs weighing between 41 – 70 lbs
  • 42″ crates for dogs weighing between 71 – 90 lbs
  • 48″ crates for dogs weighing between 91 – 110 lbs
  • 54″ crates for dogs weighing over 110 lbs

Length of Time Your Dog is in the Kennel

Puppies can’t control their bladders for very long.

You will want to make sure your puppy is taken out to potty before closing him in the kennel.

If your puppy is under 3 months of age, you should make sure to limit his kennel time to approximately 2 hour periods.

Up until six months of age your puppy should not be locked in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time.

Adult dogs should not be left in a dog kennel-crate longer than 6 hours maximum.

Once you feel comfortable leaving your puppy alone in your home while you are gone, you can leave the kennel door open.

Your goal will be to have a safe, secure area for your puppy to relax in.  A new puppy should never be left unsupervised to explore.  Puppies are babies.  They are curious and unaware of dangers or rules.

Puppy Proof Your House

You will want to puppy proof your house just as if you had a toddler about.  You need to think like a puppy.  What can I get into?

You should make sure your puppy cannot get to any power or drape cords, books, magazines, newspaper, trash, furniture, shoes or any item that they can put into their mouths or chew on.

Giving them safe toys is not only important, but helpful.  Puppies little needle teeth are sharp and they want to chew on anything they can get their mouths around, including your fingers.

Where to keep your puppy?

Small dog kennels are usually portable.  You can move the crate easily if and when necessary.

Since you don’t want to lock up your puppy for extended periods of time, you should have an area blocked off.  This area should have a linoleum or tile floor that is easily cleaned in case of accidents.

The area should be close to you as your new puppy will look at you like you are their mother and they will want to be near you.  The downside of this is separation anxiety.  While you should keep your puppy close to you, your puppy should learn to be by himself.  Fortunately, puppies sleep a lot.

Steps to Kennel Training Your Puppy

Planning

Be prepared and plan ahead where the kennel will be placed.  Have the crate ready when you bring your new puppy home.  If your puppy is already familiar with a crate, you will be much further ahead.  If your new puppy has never been in a kennel, you will have a little work to do.

Your puppy probably had several siblings to cuddle up and share space with.  A room of his own may be a little scary to him.  Since your little one has just been up rooted from his Mother,  brothers and sisters and everything that is familiar to him, he may be a bit nervous.  Some puppies are so excited by all the new experiences, they might not show any fear at all.

The Kennel Training Process

You puppy should associate the kennel crate with comfort, safety, security and enjoyment.  Their own private domain.  The crate should be your puppy’s Safe area.  A Kennel should NEVER be used as a punishment.

Introduce Your Puppy to the Crate

If possible, place the crate near or next to you when you’re home or where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room or kitchen. Being close to you or your family will help keep your puppy from feeling lonely or isolated.

Put a towel or blanket in the crate.  Have a stuffed toy inside.  This may become your puppy’s new best friend.  Place your puppy in the kennel, but leave the door open so he can come out on his own and won’t feel locked up.

You may want to place a few edible treasures like pieces of kibble or a biscuit in the kennel.  Then let your puppy explore the crate at his leisure. Some puppies will start using the crate right away.  Some may only want to be where you are.

Using food or treats seems to help speed up the training process.  You do not want to leave food in the kennel.  Feeding the puppy in the kennel is fine.  As soon as your puppy finishes eating, you will want to remove the food bowl and take him outside to go to the bathroom.  Always praise your puppy when he enters the kennel on his own.

Your puppy should have positive associations with the crate.  A doggie biscuit along with lots of praise is a great way to train your puppy to love his kennel.  Talk to your puppy.  They want to please you.  You just need to let them know what you want.  They will quickly pick up on words and phrases you frequently use.  I call the biscuit a “cookie” and I call the crate a “room”.

The training process can be turned into an enjoyable and educational game.  When your puppy is not in the kennel, place a “cookie” in the crate. Then call your puppy and ask him, “Where’s your cookie? … It’s in your room.”

Always use a friendly, encouraging voice. Direct your pup toward his crate. When the puppy discovers the treat, give enthusiastic praise. The cookie will serve as a reward. You can also use the same training, using your puppy’s favorite toy.  Your pup should be free to leave its crate at all times during this game.

Training Your Puppy to Stay in the Kennel

After your puppy goes in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine him there for short time periods while you’re home.

Start crate training while you are in the room. Then you will need to get him used to your absence from the room.  After your puppy goes into his kennel, shut the door and leave the room.  When you come back into the room, open the door and praise your puppy for being so good while you were gone.

Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave him in the crate and the length of time you’re out of his sight.

Once your puppy stays quietly in his kennel for 30 minutes, with you out of sight, you can begin leaving him crated when you’re gone for short time periods.

You do not want your puppy to associate the crate and your leaving him alone.  These little exercises you do with your puppy will help.

Solutions for Leaving Your Puppy for Longer Periods of Time

If you need to leave the puppy for longer than a couple of hours, you should make arrangements for someone to come by and take your puppy out.  If you cannot find a suitable “puppy sitter”, you can look into Doggie Day Care Centers.

Another possible solution is to place the kennel in a small area like a kitchen or bathroom.  Use a room that has a lineolum or tile floor.  Secure the kennel door open and have paper or puppy pads on the floor.  Leave a few toys and always have fresh water available for your puppy while you are gone.

Kiddie gates are a great investment to help keep your puppy in a room without a door.

Another option is to invest in portable puppy pens that can be set up around the kennel.

These are folding panels that are set up in a circle giving your puppy his own little room to exercise and a place outside the kennel to relieve himself.

Paper or puppy pads can be placed on the floor for your puppy to use for a bathroom while you are away.

Things to Remember

1.  Always remove the collar from your puppy or dog when leaving him in his kennel.   Collar buckles can get caught on the bars and your puppy could strangle.

2.  Do not leave your puppy in a kennel if the air temperature is high and uncomfortable.

3.  Make sure your puppy has gone to the bathroom before locking him in the kennel.

4.  Do not leave your puppy in a kennel for extended periods of time.

5.  Never use the crate as punishment.

6.  Make arrangements for your puppy’s care and comfort, if you need to leave him for more than a couple of hours.

Kennel Training a Puppy Takes Time

It could take a few days or it could take a few weeks.  The time it takes time to kennel train a puppy is time well spent.    Don’t rush it.  You have a few other options, if you cannot stay home while you are training your puppy.  Some pups adjust quickly while others take a few weeks to adjust.  No matter how quickly a puppy adjusts to a kennel, they are still puppies.  It will take time.  As the puppy gets older, everything will get better.

In the end it is a win-win situation for both of you.  Your puppy will be happy to see you when you return home.  You will be happy to see your puppy.  Your house will not look like a hurricane went through it, leaving chewed books, shoes or puddles everywhere.  Everyone is happy.  You will be so glad that you took the time to train your puppy and thankful that you invested in a kennel crate.

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