Updated: Sep 24, 2020
Some training I was able to do without a trainer or before I had a trainer. As I said before, I am not an expert. The trainers have much more experience with problematic puppies and crates. However, I started training Athena before working with a trainer due to the importance of having Athena kennel trained. This was a difficult choice for me because I did love the idea of her sleeping on the bed with me. Although the idea was appealing, I had also read an article about sleep disruption when dogs are allowed on the bed. In contrast to that, it is an incredible bond to cuddle with your pup. I recommend getting on their dog bed with them. If I'm on the floor, I've also pulled Athena into my lap.
At first, it was challenging to train her. She would whine when left in the kennel, mostly if she were left alone in the room. We started the training off small. I would put her in the kennel alone for an hour at a time, followed by immediately taking her to relieve herself. This also helped with potty training. To prevent accidents, Athena was let out every couple of hours during the day. Generally speaking, a puppy can only hold their urine for an hour per month of age. One month=one hour. At night, Athena would whine when she needed to be let out to use the restroom. Typically, it was around 1-2 times per night. A couple of hours before going to bed, I would also not have high activity requiring more water intake. While you are training the puppy, it is good to practice kenneling during the day for 1-2 hours. This is especially useful to see if they are developing any kennel issues like crying or destructive behavior. This can indicate a much larger problem. During the day, dogs should not be left alone in a kennel for excessive hours. They need the opportunity to relieve themselves and exercise. Destructive behavior is often related to not enough time to get out the zoomies and boredom. *Tip* put treats in the kennel and reward the puppy for going in there.
I once kenneled Athena for a long time during the day. I soon learned that she needed something to occupy her boredom, or I would be in a lot of trouble and paying a lot of money. It can be challenging, but it is important to remind yourself to remain calm and have patience with your dog.
It took a lot of time, but kenneling also helped with potty training. She didn't want to go in her kennel so she would alert me better. Traveling is so much more comfortable knowing that Athena will behave well as well as enjoys her kennel. It has become her safe zone, and I like to think that brings her comfort in unknown territory. Most nights, I don't need to lock the kennel. I tell Athena "bedtime," and she goes right on in there. However, if you don't close the kennel, there is the possibility that you will wake up at 2 AM with a playful puppy licking your face. There is the occasion where she is too comfy and ignores me. The shaking of her treat jar gets her trotting into the kennel just fine. (You may need to find what works best for your dog).
There are different kennels that are suitable to use. I will discuss two of the types of kennels. My choice in kennels was a lightweight kennel that was easily transported. Most of my links will be to amazon products because that is where I predominately do my shopping other than some of my favorite pet stores. I usually price match my items and select the best deal with the best ratings. This was the first kennel that I purchased, but it was very short-lived. Two nights. That is all it took for me to realize that Athena did not like this kennel. She whined and cried all night. I hardly got any sleep. My boyfriend and I were disgruntled and cranky. I donated the kennel to my dad, and he had no issues with it. His dog did not mind that kennel one bit. After I researched and talked to other owners, they said that perhaps she didn't like that she couldn't see out of the mesh very well (she is a watchdog) or too warm for her. Just as some dogs love dog beds and others do not, kennels are the same way.
The metal kennel I ended up getting was also purchased on amazon. This one has been amazing, and I've used it ever since! For comfort, I did buy a larger size to accommodate Athena at home. While it is much heavier than the mesh kennel, it breaks down relatively quickly. It is not pliable, but it is exceptionally durable. This works well to be inside or outside. My best recommendation is to get a dog bed to put in the kennel. I prefer dog beds from Costco. Not only are they priced well, but also the dog beds are durable and comfy. I can leave the dog bed in the kennel. While the larger kennel has no issue, the latch has been stretched for the smaller kennel. As long as the dog bed is kept in the kennel, the latch works perfectly fine. Overall, this kennel is a 5-star product for durability, ease in the breakdown, and transport with the handle.
Ruff you later,
The Pawsitive Writer