How to kennel or crate train your dog?

kennel training tips

If you are fond of your furry friend’s company while travelling, you need to kennel train your friend.

It would be best if you do that while raising your pet as a pup but in case you missed that opportunity cuddling around with him you can start now and give it a month or two.

I am sharing my personal experience here with all you guys maybe it is of some help.

So I just moved from one country to another. And I just did not want to leave my furry friend back but at the same time I was also worried about him travelling in the plane cargo in a crate. My dog was so used to roaming around without a leash, being on his own, sleeping on sofa/bed, sleeping with leg into the air and all sorts of poses possible.




He just did not know what a kennel is and how does a dog fit into it. He just knew one way of travelling and he loves it.



But I knew if I want to take him along i need to train him for the kennel.

The first thing was to get a kennel/crate. Buying a kennel starts with finding out the right size for your pet. I have a full blog on how to find the right size of kennel for your pet. So once you have bought the right kennel it time to introduce your pet to it. If your pet has no clue what its like sitting inside a small box like kennel go slow and do not push.

Usually, the kennels come in two pieces i.e. top and bottom.


Step 1 (Day 1- Day 7)

Start with the bottom first by giving treats and food to your pet inside it. Slowly the pet will become used to walking into the bottom of the kennel.


Step 2 (Day 8-Day 15)

Put your pets favourite or daily use blanket, cushion or cloth inside this kennel bottom and train your pet to sit and sleep in it.

This was a 40 inch Pet Mate kennel\crate which I upgraded to 48 inches later.


Step 3 (Day 16-Day22)

Once the dog is comfortable sitting and sleeping nights in the kennel bottom it time for the scary moment. Now put the top in place but without the gate. The pet should be able to move in out at its will. At this point, my dog felt a bit weird but with some extra treats and a little push, he started sitting in a kennel.



Note: After you put the top on it will become a bit warm inside the kennel. Make sure you do this training during winter time or you have the air conditioner working at night.


Step 4 (Day23-Day30)

By now your pet will be pretty comfortable with the kennel/crate. Its time to install the gate now. When the gate is installed the pet feels a bit uncomfortable as now it cannot move in and out by choice.

Now its time to train your pet for longer stays inside the kennel.

In my case, I started by making my dog sit inside the kennel for 1-2 hrs in the daytime and 1-2 hrs just before sleep time. Slowly I increased it to 4hrs and after 7 days he was comfortable sleeping the whole night (7-8hrs) inside. My golden retriever had a heavy coat so besides AC in the month of March (in India) I also had a small fan placed in front of the kennel which circulated the air.

So in a months time, my dog was pretty much comfortable staying in the kennel for 8-10 hrs.

But the journey by flight from Delhi, India to Toronto, Canada was about 16hrs plus the time pet spends in the kennel while being at airport check-in etc.  But everything went well for me and my dog (Lemon). Lemon reached our destination a bit exhausted but he was damn excited to see me and my wife whom he met after 3 months.


My advice from my experience.

You can train your pet for a kennel or a long journey in one month comfortably. Anything more than this will be good but not required. 


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