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If the pet has persistent trouble with elimination training, do a complete medical checkup.
During introduction don’t release the pet during a tantrum but avoid scolding or punishment. A good way to get a dog to stop fussing is to jangle the handle on the kennel without opening it. This sound either causes quiet anticipation, or startles the dog into a few seconds of silence — that you can praise. Try to get 3+ seconds of quiet, and then begin praising that. Release the dog if quiet 10 seconds, but require a longer quiet period each time.
If the dog is fussing at night and you are unsure of toileting needs, take the dog outside with a flashlight and watch to confirm if something is eliminated. Don’t allow any midnight rewarding experience and return to the kennel without praise. Begin withholding food and water earlier in the evening.
For anxious pets, go slower during the introduction. Include a worn T-shirt inside the kennel, and fit a commercial anti-anxiety pet pheromone (D.A.P.) collar. Smaller dogs accustomed to sleeping on the bed can be put in a kennel on the owner’s bed overnight as a transition.
If barking, some dogs may need to temporarily wear a head collar with a line strung under the kennel door to your bed stand. A gentle pull will move the head down and close the mouth so that you can praise, and then reward that silence by releasing the head collar pressure.
If fearful of the kennel, feed each meal one foot closer until inside the kennel bottom, and leave a trail of treats leading to the back of the kennel. Go slowly but allow no other access to food.
If the pet panics repeatedly when left alone in the kennel it is possible that Separation Anxiety is part of the problem. Once any behavior problems are properly diagnosed, this category of pet might benefit from veterinary medication and a pet behavior modification program.
Dr. Tripp received his doctorate from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and also holds a bachelor’s degree in music and a minor in philosophy. A regular guest on the Animal Planet Network, Dr. Tripp appears on both "Petsburgh, USA" and "Good Dog U." He is a Veterinary Behavior Consultant for Antech Laboratory’s "Dr. Consult Line" and an Affiliate Professor of Applied Animal Behavior at both Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Tripp is the founder of the national behavior consulting practice, www.AnimalBehavior.Net. He is now the Chief Veterinary Pet Behaviorist of The Hannah Society (www.hannahsociety.com) which helps match people and pets, then keeps them together. Contact info: Rolan.Tripp@HannahSociety.com.
Image: Martin Cathrae / via Flickr
A type of hormone that is secreted in order to create a specific reaction by another organism