A kennel should be a safe haven for your dog, but if he is barking incessantly while in his kennel, it can seem like a torture device. Dogs bark for a variety of reasons, but even the most vocal can be taught that his kennel is a quiet zone.
If your dog starts squealing and barking in a high-pitched tone when you leave or come home, he may be barking out of excitement. Excited barkers make noise because they know that as soon as you get home, you’ll let them out and they can run and jump and play. Dogs who bark in excitement need a quiet, calm environment to counteract their excitable behavior. Put the dog quietly in his kennel when you leave, shut the kennel door, and leave without speaking to the dog. Don’t make a fuss, don’t talk to the dog, and don’t encourage him to bark. When you return home, ignore his barking and leave him in the kennel for a few minutes. Once he calms down and stops barking, walk straight to the kennel and let him out without making a scene. The more noise you make, the more the dog will feed off your energy and the more he will bark.
Some dogs, especially those kept in a kennel for extended periods, will whine and bark because they have an urgent need to go potty. Adult dogs can stay in their kennels for upwards of six hours without a potty break, but puppies need more frequent opportunities. If you’re going to be gone for long periods, consider fencing off a small area and leaving the dog out of the kennel. Place a few housebreaking pads on the floor to soak up accidents and leave a few toys on the floor to keep the dog busy in your absence.
A number of dogs bark because they are anxious or afraid. Thunderstorms, loud noises and separation anxiety all contribute to nervous barking. If your dog starts whining and pacing when you look for your purse or put on your shoes, place him in his kennel quietly and step out of the room. Stand quietly for a few minutes until he stops barking, and walk to the kennel and praise him for being quiet. Gradually extend the length of your absences until the dog stays quietly in the kennel. It may take weeks or months for the dog to learn to stay quiet, but most dogs can be conditioned out of anxious barking habits.
Many dogs are left in their kennels without any source of stimulation, and bark simply out of boredom. Take the dog out for a run or an extended play session before putting him in the kennel. A tired dog is less likely to bark out of boredom, so play with him for a minimum of 15 minutes to burn off excess energy. Try leaving a television or radio on in the room to cut through the quiet and leave the dog with some familiar background noise. Fill a sturdy dog toy with treats and give it to the dog when you put him in the kennel. These specially designed toys have a number of small holes and the dog has to lick and paw at the toy to get the treats, giving him plenty of stimulation while you’re gone.
Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.