Dog Kennel Training, most often described as "crate training", is the best way to get started with housebreaking a new puppy.
There are other benefits to a dog crate, other than just housebreaking. When confined in a crate, a new puppy cannot get in any trouble, begin the bad habit of chewing on personal items and/or household furniture. Crate training, if done properly, will also provide a safe and secure 'den' where your pet will always be comfortable and feel safe.
To a dog out in the wild, it's den is the place it feels safe; the place it seeks refuge, and the place it retreats to for rest and relaxation. The idea of dog kennel training is to make the crate you use, the den your dog would have sought out naturally, had it been a dog in the wild. To achieve this, the size of the crate, its structure, and the materials it is made from are very important along with the basic rule that the crate should not be used to punish the puppy in any form or manner whatsoever. The puppy from day one should learn to trust the crate and not fear it.
A dog crate is also a great place to put your dog while you are away from the house for extended periods, or as a resting place at night while you cannot be with him to prevent him from any late night mischief. A dog crate is also great for traveling or while you are on vacation, not only to keep your dog safe, but also to provide a space where he feels comfortable in an unfamiliar place.
- The crate should be bought before you bring the puppy home
for the first time, so that it will seem like a regular part of
the home, rather than something strange and frightening brought
into a familiar place.
- Chose a size that would be just correct for the puppy when it
is a full grown dog. Imagine him or her being able to stand
inside without it having to crouch, or hang its head in an
awkward or uncomfortable position, but with only an inch or so
away from the top of the dog's head to the ceiling of the
- The same theory should be applied to the length of the crate.
When the dog is standing erect inside the crate there should be
only an inch or two from the tip of the nose to the front of the
crate and a similar distance from its butt to the rear of the
crate. A crate of such dimensions should allow a full grown dog
to stand, turn around in a full circle and lie down comfortably
without being cramped.
- There should not be enough space inside the crate to allow the dog to 'ROAM' about or stand up on its hind legs.
There are schools of thought that say the crate should fit as described above for all ages of the dog. This would mean buying a new crate every two months or so, till the dog is fully grown. Therefore, it is advisable to buy a crate that would suit a full grown dog of its breed, BUT allow you to partition it to fit the puppy's present size, adjusting the partition as the puppy grows until the partition is no longer needed.
It must be remembered that a dog will NEVER soil its sleeping quarters (unless it is ill), hence the size of the crate should permit for enough sleeping space only, if the crate is going to be used to house train and potty train the dog successfully.
Dog Training Tips:
- When beginning the dog kennel training, it is of the utmost
importance that the puppy enters the crate on its own and NOT be
forced into it, or physically placed into it. The puppy must walk
into the crate willingly all by itself.
- Place a few choice treats inside the crate to lure him or her
in for the first few times. Placing a comfortable puppy blanket
and a few chew toys inside the crate should help to make the
crate look fun and comfortable and entice the puppy to go
- As always, rewards go a long way. Once the puppy has entered
the crate for the first time on its own, make a show of adding
another treat and add some verbal praise and a loving pat on the
head to make the puppy aware that you approve of what he has done
and that this is what you want him to do. He will love the
attention and like going in to the crate for the rewards and your
- Give the puppy the chance and freedom to exit the crate
(again, on "his own behalf") and re enter it at least a couple of
times before you close it for the first time. This will help to
reinforce that being in the crate is a "good thing" and that he
is NOT being punished
- After closing the crate for the first time, reopen it after a few minutes. Repeat the act of closing and opening the crate door a couple of times, but lengthen the time it has been shut each time. Make sure that you are always within the puppy's sight, as it will keep him calm and comfortable so that he does not fear being closed in the crate. The dog should feel like it is still part of the happenings around it, even though it is locked in the crate.
Things to Remember:
It is natural that the puppy will start whining
the first time you close the crate. DO NOT open the crate or
talk to the puppy because he is whining, as this may reinforce
this behavior. He will become familiar and comfortable with the
crate. Be patient, as this may difficult and will tug at
- Letting the puppy out for potty breaks that are scheduled
according to its age. The breaks should be more frequent in
younger pups, and about an hour for a puppy that is just a few
- Use an hour for a month of age, so if the puppy is 3 months old, you can safely confine him for a period of 3 hours before his next potty break, but that is only a guide, you would have to monitor the disposition of the puppy when it is in the crate to make sure that it is not experiencing any discomfort on the account of a full bladder.
Dog kennel training is a must in the training regime of every puppy. It makes housebreaking much easier and helps keep your possessions safe from the gnawing and chewing that puppies will naturally exhibit if allowed.
Remember, it is easier to train good habits than to break bad ones!