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Hello everyone :) first time poster here.

I have read plenty of sites on how to kennel-train but I have several questions for people who have done it sucessfully. Sometimes when reading, it is hard to differenitate which tips are primarily for housebreaking.

First, does kennel training actually help calm a dog with seperation anxiety? I have read conflicting information on this. I am concerned that no matter how much my dog loves his kennel, he will still be upset about my leaving.

Second, does the dog need to sleep in his kennel at night in order for the training to be effective (eg making him "love" his kennel) or is kenneling at night primarily just for housebreaking purposes?

Third, I read that you need to start small and slowly increase the time the dog spends inside. How slow are we talking about? Do you repeat this exercise several times a day and increase it a little each time? Or increase it day by day.. or? I know that some of it depends on the dog, I'd just like a general idea of what they mean when they say "slowly" and how often to practice.

Last, what do I do when he scratches or whines at the kennel to be let out? I know I should not let him out when he scratches so as not to reinforce the behavior. But should I correct him or ignore him? I read one site that said I should correct him with a spray bottle or something but most sites do not say this.

Sorry I have so many questions! I just find a lot of information to be too general and I like to have specific details. I may need to go to a trainer for him to get to know my dog in order to give specific advice and I will if needed. Just thought I would ask you first :)

Thanks!
 

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First, does kennel training actually help calm a dog with seperation anxiety? I have read conflicting information on this. I am concerned that no matter how much my dog loves his kennel, he will still be upset about my leaving.
Depends on the dog, some dogs may feel more scure being boxed in, others may not. Primarily it's to keep them safe from chewing of ingesting something they shouldn't


Second, does the dog need to sleep in his kennel at night in order for the training to be effective (eg making him "love" his kennel) or is kenneling at night primarily just for housebreaking purposes?
No, crating at night can be fore housebreaking, can also be a management tool. If you have a chewer for instance, crating at night to keep them from chewing your shoes.

Third, I read that you need to start small and slowly increase the time the dog spends inside. How slow are we talking about? Do you repeat this exercise several times a day and increase it a little each time? Or increase it day by day.. or? I know that some of it depends on the dog, I'd just like a general idea of what they mean when they say "slowly" and how often to practice.
Depends on the dog, and age. A puppy I'd start out with a short session of tossing treats in and saying the cue with the door open, after a few of these I'd close the door for a second but open before the puppy become anxious then slowly extend the amount of time. The amount of time would be determined by the puppy. An older dog may be more secure with himself, but I would take the same approach with a SA dog as I would with a puppy.

Last, what do I do when he scratches or whines at the kennel to be let out? I know I should not let him out when he scratches so as not to reinforce the behavior. But should I correct him or ignore him? I read one site that said I should correct him with a spray bottle or something but most sites do not say this.
Depends on why he's whining, if he's sayign he needs to go out then let him out, but if you're positive he's gone potty and he's not starving or dying of thirst then ignore. however whining shouldn't be an issue if you've taken it slow and dont allow him to become anxious in the crate.
 

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If I am working with a dog who really hates the kennel (I've had a ton of rescue dogs throught, and most have taken to kenneling like a duck to water if they got their meals in there) I'm going to teach the dog to love the kennel by shaping him to go in it and stay with the door open long before I shut the door. If the dog is worried about being shut in a kennel and you close the door as soon as he goes in, you've just proved his point. As to squirting for whining - if you use an aversive when the dog is trapped in a kennel, that's not going to make him like it more. If he's really freaked about being left in a kennel, I'd try to come up with another means of confining him while he learned to be comfortable in it. And I would do a lot of other work on the SA - for instance, giving all your leaving cues, then not leaving, unemotional leavings and returnings, possibly talk to the vet about meds if the anxiety is severe. I don't know that kenneling actually calms a dog, but it can keep him out of trouble, which calms you and makes you a pleasanter person when you return home.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies. He is an adult and I have been going slow with him. It has been a few weeks and he is never in there for more than a few minutes. He doesn't hate the crate, he will nap in it on his own. But any time I try to leave him in there "a little longer" he whines and scratches. Doesn't seem anxious to me, just wants me to open the door. I give him a yummy raw bone in there and that will keep him busy about 10 minutes and then he will start to scratch because he wants to go over and check out his (doggie) brother's bone. If I let him out I take away the bones.

Anyway it just doesn't seem to be improving with time :/

I am sure I am doing something wrong.



My questions are regarding my Beagle, Nugget, who has severe separation anxiety and destroys anything he can get his paws on. I've read lots of websites about how to deal with it and nothing has helped so kennel training is a bit of a last resort for us. I will need to start leaving him alone again starting in early July. He doesn't seem to care about the leaving ques, just about the fact that we are gone. If I were to sneak out without him even seeing me he would still howl as soon as he realizes I am not there. I give him kongs and treatballs and things to keep him busy but no dice. His destruction is only increasing. Since the kennel training doesn't seem to be going well either, I am now considering daycare all day and/or help from a professional trainer. Both of which will be very expensive but are a welcome alternative to giving away my boy :/
 
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Some behaviorists say that a crate is contra indicated for SA. My Puddin panicked in a crate so I just stopped using it. She does much better loose in the house. Some dogs would destroy the house though. Dogs have jumped out of windows chewed through walls etc..

A great book on SA - I'll be Home Soon by Patricia McConnell.

Crate Acclimation
http://blog.mysanantonio.com/latrenda/?s=crate+acclimation

Make sure you get a competent professional. One who doesn't do any type of punishment - no yanking, scruffing, etc..

Good luck!
 
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