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Kennel Training 101

This is the next biggest headache I can think of when it comes to bringing puppy home. We have trained quite a few pups and kennel training always takes them a little bit to grasp. So we thought it would be a good idea today to bring you our tips and tricks to help you guys at home.

Cover that kennel!!!:
This is the biggest mistake we see when puppies go home. People want the puppy to know that you are there and they are ok, so they often do away with the blanket over the kennel idea. Puppies are like babies. The need a nice quiet, dark and peaceful environment if you want them to stay asleep. So where ever you keep your kennel keep a dark sheet or blanket with it to cover it up and give the puppies a nice quiet place to sleep.

Quiet Space:

The puppies need a quiet place to sleep, again, just like a baby. We put them in a guest bedroom or corner in the kitchen where the kid’s aren’t running through waking them up. This way once they do get to sleep, they can have a long quiet nap.

Day 1:
Now, we understand that not everyone has two or three puppies they can kennel together for the first few days, the heartbeat puppy is key to this transition. You can find that under Puppy Necessities. At the house, we put 2-3 puppies in a kennel for a half hour or so. This helps them to feel safe and know they are with their littermates. Each day we remove a puppy. For example on day one there are 3 puppies, day two has 2 puppies and day 3 the pups are alone. For you at home make sure you have their heartbeat puppy and maybe a blanket from here at the house, so they can smell their family. Then put your puppy in the kennel and cover.

I am not to hard on them being quiet in the kennel for the first few days. It is a change for them and not all of them love it. So I just cover and walk out of the room. Go back and get them in about 30-45 minutes and take them out to potty.

Day 3:
It should now be time to let them be alone in the kennel. We have put them in safely and removed them after about 30-60 minutes for two days. This lets them know they will get to come out and they are not locked up forever. So today the hard part starts. The puppy goes in the kennel and will generally start to cry as they are alone this time. Cover the kennel and sit or stand by it. Every time the puppy begins to cry do a quiet knock and say “No.”

At first, you feel like you are just constantly knocking and saying “No,” but as they understand that as they start to whine you say “No,” they will start to put the pieces together. You are trying to tell them you do not what the whining. I usually stand with them for about 20 minutes and do the knocking. Then I walk out of the room. If they really start crying again I will go back in and start over. Consistency is key here. You have to have a few hours set aside on that first day alone to knock and give them time to get comfortable.

After they have been in napping (usually 2-3 hours) you can hear them bark and take them out to potty. Make sure you are praising them for their hard work! Say “Good dog!!” or “Yes,” when they come out. Then let them play. This process should be repeated any time they are tired and need a nap. Always put them in the kennel for sleep and they will learn that is what the kennel is for. During the night make sure if they have done a stint of a few hours and they start to cry, let them out to potty. Then back in and after a few times the knocking isnt needed, just the word “No.”

Day 7 and Beyond:
If you can be consistent with this for a week’s time you will have a professional kennel puppy by the end of it. They should be giving you 2 naps a day in the kennel plus their night time sleeping. By day 7 they should be able to go 8 hours in the kennel without a problem. Then as they potty train and you gain trust in them they can be out of the kennel to sleep. With Sheepadoodle’s we reccomend waiting for at least a year before they are not kenneled. Sometimes they get into things at night and it is just better to have them safe and kenneled up.

As always, please let us know if you have questions or are struggling with this process! Thanks so much!

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Jason Scott


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