Teach Your Dog to Love Her Kennel Run

When she is reliably entering the kennel on cue, practice giving her the cue while standing further away from the kennel, or asking her to follow you in from the yard to her kennel. Practice on leash to begin, and graduate to off leash once she’s willing to come to you from anywhere in the yard and go happily into her kennel. If needed, back up and work with your dog on coming when called, separately from learning to enter the kennel.

No More Kennel Stress

Some dogs are hesitant to enter a kennel run because when they do, the door shuts and their person leaves. Instead of luring her in and leaving her alone, spend some time with your dog in her kennel. Make the kennel fun by lavishing your dog with rewards, such as praise, petting, play and treats, while you’re hanging out in the kennel. This is also a good opportunity to practice lying on a mat, which can help your dog relax. To further your dog’s association of the kennel with pleasant consequences, feed her her daily meals in her kennel.

Reassure your dog that going in her kennel is not synonymous with being left alone. I suggest using a 5 to 1 ratio when you’re training: For every one time you leave your dog alone in the kennel, create five occasions for her to be in there with you still around. Put your dog in the kennel, shut the door for a brief period and then release her again. You can even turn and walk away or go in the house for a few minutes and then come back, reward her and release her.

Once your dog realizes that going in her kennel ends with a reward, she will learn to be more relaxed about getting in the kennel in the first place, even when going in the kennel means that you are leaving.

When you need to leave her alone for an extended period, give her a dog-safe indestructible toy or a variety of food puzzle toys to keep her busy while you’re away. Having something productive to focus on will make the time go by faster for your dog and will increase her positive association with the kennel.


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!