Kennels come in many different shapes, sizes and styles. It is important to use a kennel that is the proper size for your pet. A kennel that is too small will be uncomfortable for your pet. An animal is more likely to have an accident in a kennel that is too large. In an appropriately sized kennel, your pet should be able to stand up, lay down and turn around comfortably.
Oftentimes, cat owners only use kennels, or carriers, to transport their cats to and from the veterinarian, groomer or boarding facility. Because of this, cats are often scared of their carriers and sometimes it is even difficult for owners to get their cats in the carrier at all.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Cats can learn to tolerate or even willingly go into their carrier. All of the following tips can be started at any stage of your cat’s life, however, like many things, early intervention is often most effective.
- When you first get your cat, practice putting your cat in the carrier and letting them out without actually moving the carrier.
- You can also put food/treats near or in the carrier so that the cat has to get close to or into the carrier to eat.
- Over time, you can practice shutting the door, moving the carrier to a different room, putting the carrier into the car and even going for a short trip.
- Treats can be offered in the carrier and you can even feed your cat a few meals in there.
- Initially, the cat should be free to explore the carrier with the door open. Leave the kennel out until the cat is very used to it so that it is not something that only comes out when the cat is going to leave the house.
- There are also pheromone products that are very helpful in relaxing your cat so that they associate the kennel with good feelings rather than anxiety. These may be particularly helpful in animals that are already fearful of the carrier. If you are interested in these products, please call SouthPaw Animal Clinic.
The more times you acclimate your cat to getting into and out of the carrier without anything “bad” happening, the less your cat will be frightened of it when the time comes to need to use the carrier.
Small dogs are sometimes transported in kennels, however more commonly, kennels are used in crate training dogs in the home. Despite their different use, the same principles apply when you are trying to get a dog acclimated to a kennel. Early intervention is ideal, however you can crate train a dog at any time of their life. Dogs are den animals by nature, and many dogs will take to crate training very easily.
- When you first get your dog, practice putting your dog in the kennel and letting them out without actually leaving the house. The dog should initially be free to enter and exit the kennel with the door left open.
- Treats can be offered to help coax them. It is often helpful to feed meals in the kennel as well.
- When the dog is comfortable around the kennel, you can close the door and then let them out after a few seconds. You can gradually increase the time that they spend in the kennel and then increase the time that you are away from home or out of the dog’s sight.
- There are also pheromone products that are very helpful in relaxing your dog so that they associate the kennel with good feelings rather than anxiety. This is particularly helpful in animals that are not used to the crate or that have had a bad experience with crate training. If you are interested in these products, please call SouthPaw Animal Clinic.
A puppy less than six months of age or an adult dog that is being house trained should not be left in a crate for more than 3 to 4 hours at a time. Making the kennel a welcoming place allows that it feels more like a “house” than a place of punishment.
You can still use the kennel as a place for your dog to have a “time out” for a few minutes if they are misbehaving, however we recommend that you always keep the kennel a positive place.
The more times you acclimate your dog to getting into and out of the kennel without anything “bad” happen, the less your dog will be frightened of it when the time comes to use it.