Everyone has a happy place: a special room where you can lounge in your very own chair or sofa. Whether it’s going to the library, a coffee shop, your work office, or being able to go into your bedroom and just shut the door, we all appreciate our very own space.
The same goes for our dogs, and lucky for you, it’s often in the safety of their very own crate. But what to do when your dog’s crate averse? Not to fear, there are ways to warm Rex up to the idea, and it’s pretty simple really.
Here are a few tips for how you can help create sweet dog kennel mystique for your pooch so they’ll learn to appreciate their space as a room with a view, rather than a to prison.
1. Make kennel time positive, not a punishment
First things first. Avoid making your dog kennel the naughty doggie corner. If you send your dog to his or her crate as a punishment, they’ll associate the crate with bad vibes and will be more prone to anxiety when it’s time to “go lay down”. Remember, you’re going for the sweet pad vibe, not Fort Knox.
2. Deck out your kennel with doggie amenities
Think of your favorite spot and the special piece of furniture or prized possession that’s there. Maybe it’s a worn-out old lay-z-boy, or that hula girl desk lamp. Whatever helps you feel it home is no different for your dog. That nasty blanket or pillow she drags around everywhere or that slobbery toy…put those comfort-inducing necessities in the dog kennel and your pooch will feel happy, and secure.
3. Feed your dog in the kennel
What’s better than hanging out in your favorite spot? Eating your favorite food in your favorite spot! Make a habit of feeding your dog in the kennel and it will further create a positive association.
4. Don’t start by leaving your dog alone for long periods of time
As you’re kennel training your dog, remember that just because your dog has grown accustomed to being in the dog kennel, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to leave her in there all afternoon alone. Start slow at first with 30 minutes at a time. Then every week or so add a little extra time. Eventually, you should be able to keep your buddy in their crate for up to 6 hours, but ease into it. Everybody loves their happy place, but even human couch potatoes have got to stretch their legs, go to the toilet and get some fresh air. The same goes for your dog.
For most dogs, kennel-time is a no-brainer. Dogs are hardwired to sleep in dens, and they usually like it. But if your dog is still a little skittish, take your time, train incrementally, and above all, keep it positive.