Before I get started, I want to share this link with you all… www.wooddogcrate.com . Their stuff is great, and gave me the idea for this post!
To kennel train or not, that is the question. Only in my mind it’s not a question at all. I am told by people that it’s cruel to kennel a dog, that dogs need to be allowed to be free, that the owners just can’t lock the poor thing up like that. And on and on. The other complaint people have had about kennels is that they are ugly. That isn’t true anymore, just click on that link at the top of my post!
The rest of the excuses are just baloney. Sorry, but all my dogs are kennel trained. They sleep in their kennels at night, and go in their kennels when I go out during the day… They also hang out in their kennels, and in each other’s kennels, during the day when they could just as easily be on the couch. When it is bedtime, or when I am getting ready to go out, the dogs all go to their kennels on their own, and wait for me to lock the doors.
So it is obvious to me that my dogs all hate to be locked up. It must be cruel, because they are forced to be in this little box. Or not so much. I don’t know if it is because dogs like to have a den, or because they prefer not to be responsible for looking after the house, or it’s just a habit I have instilled in them, but my dogs like the kennels. And I like knowing that they are safe, not barking non-stop out the window, not up on the counter eating the compost, or otherwise getting themselves in to trouble.
You may know that I have a current litter of puppies; they are almost 5 weeks old. In just over a week, I will start kennel training them. This is the biggest favour I can do for these pups. They’ll start out in groups, being put to bed 3 in each kennel. After a few nights, I’ll split them up more, and do 2 per box. When they are 7 weeks old, they will be each sleeping in their own kennel…. and for the last night or 2 that I have them all, the kennels will be moved so they are not all in the same room.
You may be wondering why? Simple. Many, if not most puppies go home to their new family never having been alone. They have never left the room they were born in, and they have never left the company of their litter mates. So the new family picks them up, and spends the first week or so dealing with a traumatized baby who has suddenly been ripped away from everything familiar, and abandoned to sleep in total isolation for the very first time. My babies get a head start. They are used to being in a kennel, and have already experienced being alone. One less thing for them to deal with in their new home.
To me it is obvious. Puppies are not safe loose in a house without supervision, so when the people are asleep or out, the puppy must be confined. No dog of mine is ever loose in the house alone until at least a year of age, usually longer. If it is a young puppy that may need to pee, or it’s going to be a long time and a kennel is too confining, I put their kennel in the bathroom, or in an ex-pen in the kitchen, so they have room for some toys and a pee pad, maybe a bowl of water. If I am only going to be out for a couple of hours, it’s nap time. Once a dog is an adult, it’s up to the owner to decide how often to use the crate. I have one dog I leave loose when I go out during the day. She spends every evening sleeping in a crate in the office beside Dave’s desk, and fusses if the door is closed and she can’t get in. A properly kennel trained dog is kennel trained for life!