Building a Positive Association: Making Your Dog Love Their Kennel

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Are you trying to kennel train your dog? The best way to ensure your pup comes to love spending time in their kennel is to build positive associations with it. You can do this through rewards, like special treats or meal times. You can also place their favorite toys in the kennel to keep them entertained. Though training can be slow and challenging at times, if you’re patient about the process, you’ll help your dog to feel safe and happy in their outdoor space eventually. We’ll dive deeper into the ways you can use positive reinforcement training to help make your dog love their kennel from Benchmark Kennels, the most reputable kennel company in the UK.

How to Make Your Dog Love Their Kennel

Kennel training takes time and patience. Your dog may adapt quickly to the kennel environment or they may need some positive reinforcements to acclimate to the new space. There are many easy ways for you to build positive associations with the kennel so your pet will grow to love spending time there.

Special Treats

One of the quickest ways to build positive associations with kennels is to offer special treats within the kennel. Choose a particular treat that your dog will only receive while in the kennel. This way, they’ll quickly become excited to head to their dog kennels for their favorite treat. You could also try giving your dog an interactive treat puzzle. These types of treats are great for keeping your dog’s attention occupied, so they can spend longer time periods in the kennel without fussing.


Another method for helping your dog adjust to the kennel is to feed at least one meal a day in the kennel. Dogs enjoy their meal time, so incorporating food into their kennel is a great way to build positive associations with the kennel. For this method, you’ll want to try to place their food dish as far back into the crate as possible. Some dogs may be fearful of the crate at first, so you may need to start out by placing the food dish near the opening. After some time, you can try closing the door while they eat and opening it back up when they’re done.

Toys and Games

Many dogs love playing with toys and their humans. To build a positive association with the kennel, you’ll want to encourage your dog to play in or near their kennel. You can leave some of their favorite toys in the kennel, such as ropes, bones, and chew toys. These toys will be beneficial once your dog is ready to stay in the kennel for more significant periods of time, as the toys can stave off boredom and anxiety.

Comfortable Items

You may also want to consider placing comfortable or familiar items inside the interior of the kennel. These items can help them relax and adjust to being in the kennel. Try placing a comfortable dog bed, blankets, or stuffed toys into the kennel. When your dog is ready to relax and take a nap, these comfort items will make them feel more at home.

Things to Avoid When Kennel Training

There are several things you’ll want to avoid doing when kennel training to ensure you’re creating only positive associations. To begin with, you’ll want to avoid using the kennel as a punishment. Though a time-out may seem appropriate for naughty behaviour, using the kennel to punish your dog will create negative associations with it. Instead, you should use only rewards around the kennel to ensure your dog has positive feelings about it.

You should also avoid leaving your dog for long stretches of time in the kennel. Outdoor kennels are designed to keep your pet healthy, safe, and secure. However, they are only meant for temporary shelter. You should ideally leave your dog only for a couple of hours at a time. Most dogs will need to walk, socialize, and take a bathroom break away from their kennel fairly frequently.

When you first start kennel training, you should take care to start in short increments. You’ll want to take things slowly, so containing your dog in the kennel should only be for short periods of time. Eventually, you’ll be able to build up to longer sessions in the kennel, but that may take weeks or longer depending on factors like your dog’s age, history, and temperament.

Choosing the Right Outdoor Kennel

When it comes to choosing dog kennels, there are a few different factors you should consider. One of the main considerations when picking out dog kennels is the size. For your dog to have positive associations with the kennel, they’ll need to be comfortable.

Therefore, you’ll need to choose a kennel large enough for your dog. They should be able to lie down, stand up, and stretch inside the interior part of the kennel. You’ll also want to consider the outdoor runner. There should be space enough for your dog to move around and jump, so they can have room to play and exercise. For larger breeds or active dogs, you’ll want to consider one of the big dog kennels we have available. However, for smaller dogs, you’ll be able to opt for one of the kennels of a lesser size.

For pet owners who are looking to kennel train their dogs, creating a positive association is the best technique to ensure your pet feels safe and comfortable staying in the kennel. While this strategy may take some time, eventually, your dog will come to love spending time in the kennel. You can start building positive associations with the kennel through the use of food and toys. However, your kennel will need to be the right size for your dog. A kennel that is large enough for your dog will ensure comfort and safety. We have a large selection of various kennel sizes to suit your dog’s needs.