Book First Walk Free!
The Root of the Behavior
Puppies need to relieve themselves often and should not be left in a crate that is soiled. It is recommended that you give puppies a potty break every hour plus one for the months of their life. For example, a puppy that is four months old would need a break every five hours. Dogs who have been forced to sleep in or near their own excrement often have negative associations with the crate. At times, they can also be overstimulated if the crate is left where they can hear a lot of what is going on but cannot be a part of it. People bumping into or banging on the crate is also stressful to your dog. While it is a great disciplining tool, scolding your dog while he is the crate is not recommended as he can associate the crate with negative interactions. Dogs left in a crate too long can become destructive to items in the crate as well as begin to self-mutilate. If a dog does not like his crate, he definitely has a negative experience with the crate that he cannot let go of and forcing him to be in the crate is not a healthy option.
Boarding your dog in a kennel can cause him a lot of stress. Dogs are social beings, and many have difficulty being alone and separated from their owner or fellow dogs. A recent study shows that kenneled dogs show the same distress as humans suffering from a mental disorder. Dogs monitored overnight in a kennel showed repetitive behaviors such as pacing, spinning, circling and bouncing off of walls. The behaviors seemed to increase and start over every time a caretaker would come into their cage. Dogs in kennels do not get as much attention as they do at home, nor do they get as many exploratory walks. Often dogs are exercised in a group, and a battle for pack leader can ensue. Due to fear, some dogs become aggressive, stop eating, and begin to bark excessively. They do not understand why they are not home, who these people are who are feeding them, or why there are all sorts of new dogs around. While dogs like adventure, this is too much change for many canines.
Encouraging the Behavior
Because there are times when sending your dog to a kennel may be necessary, it is recommended you take several measures to lessen the stress on your dog. Research the kennels in your area and visit them without your dog. Ask them how often your dog will be left in the kennel, how much time he will get with a caretaker, and how he will be exercised. If they exercise the dogs in a large area altogether, ask how many people per dogs will be in the exercise arena and will they be there at all times. It is important that there are people keeping an eye on the dogs to limit the chances of bullying or fighting. Once you have selected a kennel, have your dog spend one night at a time there to see how he reacts and to get him acclimated. If he seems to tolerate the kennel, then you can start to leave him there for longer periods of time.