How to Kennel Train a Puppy

To properly kennel train a puppy, it is recommended that you:

  • Choose the right-size kennel
  • Slowly introduce the puppy into the crate with treats or other rewards
  • Never force the puppy into the crate or use the crate as a punishment
  • Serve the puppy meals inside the kennel crate
  • Slowly increase the amount of time the puppy spends in the kennel crate

Properly kennel training your new puppy takes time, patience, the right kennel, and a few helpful tricks.

When you welcome a puppy into your family, there are lots of things that both you and your new furry family member have to learn. One of those things is crate training. Read on to learn more about what to do and not to do when it comes to kennel training.

Choose the right kennel

Not only do you want to find a safe and sturdy crate for your pup, but you want to make sure it is sized correctly. Too small, and it can feel cramped and uncomfortable, too big and the puppy may feel OK with relieving himself inside the cage. Ideally, you want to get a kennel that has just enough space for your pup to stand up and turn around with a few inches of wiggle room. Using dividers can help with big breeds that grow quickly.

Slowly introduce the crate

The kennel is meant to be your puppy’s new sanctuary, so any interaction with the crate should be positive. Begin introducing the crate by placing treats near the opening and inside until the puppy chooses to enter himself, never force him into the crate. It’s also important to NEVER use the cage as the punishment. This can damage your dog’s relationship with the kennel and make kennel training very difficult.

Start with short locked sessions

Once your dog has become comfortable entering the crate, begin shutting the door. A popular way of doing this is through mealtime. Start by feeding your pup his meal inside his crate and locking the dog kennel door until he is done. Each meal, try to keep the crate closed for a few minutes longer. The goal is for your pup to remain calm the entire time. If they cry, you’ve left them in too long and should reduce how long they are in there next time.

Increase crate time

Once your puppy has become accustomed to the crate, practice leaving him alone in his crate. Do this by closing his crate, leaving the room and returning after a few minutes. Gradually, you’ll build up the time until he is OK being left in his crate for periods of 30 minutes. At this point, your pup is ready to be left alone while you leave the house.