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Dog / Puppy Kennel Training Questions: 

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How do I introduce my dog/puppy to his/her kennel?
It is best to let your dog / puppy learn about the kennel or crate on his/her own at first. Place his/her kennel or crate near you and put a few tasty treats just inside which will entice him/her to look in. Once he does so confidently, toss a couple of treats farther into the kennel or crate so that he will step all the way in to retrieve them. Repeat this/her a few times during this/her first training session of about 3-5 minutes. During the next 3-5 minute training session, try closing the kennel or crate door for just a couple of seconds as he is eating his/her treats. Over the course of the next few training sessions gradually close the door for longer periods of time. However, be sure not to expect your dog / puppy to spend more time in his/her kennel or crate than is reasonable for his/her/her age and experience.

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How long should I leave my dog / puppy in his/her kennel?
The kennel or crate is most effective when used only for periods of time that are reasonable for your dog / puppy's age and experience. Your dog / puppy should never be left in his/her kennel or crate for longer than he can control his/her bladder and bowels. The following are some general kennel or crate duration guidelines:
 

8-10 weeks

Approximately 1/2 hour - 1 hour

11-14 weeks

Approximately 1-3 hours

15-16 Weeks

Approximately 3-4 hours

17 + weeks

Approx. 4 + (6 hours maximum)

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When should my dog / puppy be in his/her kennel?
Your dog / puppy's kennel or crate is an indispensable management tool in the aid of housetraining, preventing destructive chewing and costly damage to your home, safeguarding your dog / puppy from hazards in the home, preventing separation stress and creating a safe place where your dog / puppy can rest while at home or traveling with you.

To get the most from the kennel or crate as a training aid, it is best to teach your dog / puppy to enjoy kennel or crate time when you are home and when you are away from home. This way he/she is learning to relax and enjoy time to himself whether you are home or not.

Start with your dog / puppy spending very short periods of time in his/her kennel or crate while you are in the room with him and then gradually build up to longer periods of time (which means your dog / puppy is learning to 'hold it' for longer periods of time) when you are in the room, out of the room or completely out of the house.

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What should I do if my dog / puppy urinates or defecates in his/her kennel?
This/her usually happens when your dog / puppy is asked to spend more time in the kennel or crate than is reasonable for his/her age and experience. For example, asking a 7 month old puppy which you just adopted from a shelter to 'hold it' in his/her kennel or crate for 4 hours is probably not a good idea. This  puppy is probably used to freely eliminating in his/her run at the shelter so teach him to build bladder and bowel muscle control by confining him to his/her kennel or crate for very short periods of time and gradually increase the time.

Also, be sure you are carefully monitoring your dog's / puppies's food and water intake. During house training, it is unfair to allow your dog / puppy free and unlimited access to food and water. Doing so means he is likely to have to eliminate more frequently. Instead, set scheduled feeding and watering times so you have a better idea of when your dog / puppy needs to eliminate (usually 45-60 minutes after eating or drinking) and you can take him out of his/her kennel or crate when necessary.

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What should I do if my dog / puppy whines in his/her kennel?
If possible, it is best to ignore whining. Every time you interact with your dog / puppy when he whines, even if it is to say "no," you are essentially rewarding him with your attention. So, try to ignore him and if he persists for more than a few minutes, you might consider covering the kennel or crate with a light sheet or towel so he can't see you moving about (which may be stimulating him to whine). Also, be sure to give your dog / puppy 2-3 well stuffed (with dog / puppy treats, cream cheese, peanut butter, or cold cut pieces) chew toys which should keep him happily occupied and quiet!

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Should I use the kennel or crate as a place to put my dog / puppy when he does something wrong?
While the kennel or crate should never be used to punish your dog / puppy, it is very effective as a place for your dog / puppy to have a brief (1-5 minutes) time-out. Time-outs help to eliminate unwanted behaviors such as puppy nipping, excessive rowdiness and attention-seeking behaviors such as whining. Time-outs are most effective if they are delivered as unemotionally as possible. So, when you place your dog / puppy in the kennel or crate for a time-out, do so calmly and without any hint of anger.

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Can I have two dogs/puppies spend time in one kennel?
It is usually best to have a separate kennel or crate for each of your dog/puppies. This/her way, each has his/her own private place to rest. Also, if each dog / puppy learns to enjoy his/her own kennel or crate you decrease the chance of having dog/puppies who develop separation issues for each other. Learning to enjoy spending some time apart is a valuable skill for pet dog/puppies living in a multi-dog / puppy home. This/her is especially true if you think your dog / puppy might ever need to spend time at the veterinarian or the groomer.

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How old should my dog / puppy be when he stops using his/her kennel?
Once you feel confident that your dog / puppy is reliably housetrained and understands to chew only on his/her chew toys (not your belongings) you can begin to allow him to spend less and less time in his/her kennel. However, most dog/puppies learn to enjoy the kennel or crate as their own, private space. So, you may choose to keep the kennel or crate available to your dog / puppy even once he/she is fully trained.

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