The indoor dog house is the other name, more positively connoted, given to the cage for your pet.
Caging a pet can be a controversial subject and can get bad press in the minds of people who consider this practice cruel. In reality, the opposite is true: a cage is a tool for educating the dog. If you follow some basic rules and get your dog used to the kennel, it can help solve some of your dog’s problems, or it can be used as a substitute for the dog bed and become your dog’s “home”.
When should you use an indoor kennel for your dog?
To help manage separation anxiety.
An indoor dog house can be very useful for dogs suffering from separation anxiety. For these anxious dogs, an indoor kennel or crate can be a reassuring and comforting little cocoon. It is important to know that the kennel makes it possible to reduce the dog’s space and thus to soothe him in the absence of his master. In its kennel, the dog has only one entrance to watch over and prevents it from constantly checking all the house’s entrances, which helps reduce its anxiety.
The kennel also allows you to secure your dog in your absence, especially if his anxiety linked to separation or solitude leads him to adopt destructive behaviour. You will no longer be afraid of your dog dropping objects, destroying the sofa or nibbling on electrical wires in your absence. The indoor kennel allows you to keep your destructive dog out of danger while you are away.
Of course, the indoor kennel is only useful in cases of separation anxiety if you use it in addition to a global treatment of your dog’s problem. This treatment must include detachment and deconditioning therapy, which you can undertake on your own with the help of our practical advice or with the help of a dog behaviourist if this advice alone is not enough to calm your dog in your absence.
To help potty train your dog.
For young dogs, the indoor kennel can help with potty training when small accidents still occur in your absence. By asking your puppy to go into his crate while you’re away, you’ll help your puppy to restrain himself, as he won’t normally relieve himself in his sleeping area. But be careful not to set your puppy up for failure: remember that he’s physiologically incapable of holding back more than he should if his sphincters (bladder muscles) aren’t mature. Thus, a puppy can’t hold it in for more than 2 hours at two months, 3 hours at three months, 4 hours at four months. You must, therefore, not let your absences go beyond its capacities. Otherwise, the indoor kennel will not be of much help!
You can also use the indoor kennel for dogs that don’t hold back at night, but as you can see, this solution should be reserved for young dogs whose sphincters are mature, after 6 or 7 months, but who still forget themselves at night.
To help a dog calm down.
It is also possible to send your dog to his indoor kennel to help him calm down, to channel his energy if he tends to jump on guests as soon as they enter your home. But be careful; for this solution to be effective, you must first teach your pet to go into its kennel on your orders without ever forcing it. You must not let your dog’s kennel become a place of punishment, nor a place where the dog is confined at the slightest problem.
Simply as a basket
The crate can simply be used as a basket for your dog. If the dog has been used to it positively, he will appreciate it and spontaneously go there to rest. Enjoy a chewy treat.
In any case, you must gradually and positively accustom your dog to staying in its indoor kennel.
Also, remember that a dog should NEVER be locked up for more than 3 to 4 hours a day. This is a maximum! If the dog is locked up for too long, then the use of the crate becomes “counterproductive” and can be the cause of behavioural problems and anxiety.
How to positively accustom your dog to his crate?
To get your dog used to his kennel positively, you must make him want to go there by himself. You must make it attractive and make it a little haven of peace where your pet will enjoy going to rest. To do this:
Furnish the inside of the cage with a cushion or soft, cosy blankets,
Place toys that your pet enjoys inside the cage. The most “enticing” toys are occupancy toys that you can “stuff” with your pet’s favourite treats (all the more effective if your pet is greedy),
Install the indoor kennel in a quiet area of your home without drafts, without too many passages, far from heat sources and without too much noise. Don’t put it in an isolated room away from your living quarters where the dog could feel too isolated from family life,
Introduce the crate positively and very progressive way to the animal and preferably after a long walk or a good play session. The dog will be more receptive to the cage when it is physically and mentally exhausted.
This introduction must be done gradually and in several phases:
First, invite your dog to approach the crate with his favourite treats or with a toy that you place near the crate. If your dog is fearful, don’t force him to come closer and be patient. You can encourage him by calling him happily, but under no circumstances should you pet him if he shows signs of fear: you will only reinforce his apprehension. You will have to repeat the operation daily until the dog understands that there is no danger and that it approaches the cage easily,
Next, encourage your dog to enter the crate by placing some treats or toys inside. You can also encourage him to enter the crate by patting the pillow you’ve placed inside. At first, don’t close the crate’s door, but once the dog is inside, congratulate him and continue to give him treats so that he understands that “crate = good time”. Repeat the exercise several days in a row and tell him when he enters his crate: “Your house”, “In your place”, or “In your sleep” so that he associates the fact of entering his crate with this indication,
Then start closing the cage door, first for a few minutes and then gradually increasing the time. During this time, to continue the positive habituation, give your dog a chew bone or an occupying toy to divert his attention and continue to associate the crate with a pleasant moment. Stay close to your dog at first and then move to another room. If the dog reacts to you leaving, don’t return immediately to release him, but try to wait a few minutes.
Never force your dog into the crate, and never use the crate as a punishment for your dog. Otherwise, all your efforts to get your dog positively accustomed to the indoor kennel will be wasted.
Also read: Getting your dog used to the crate
How to choose the right indoor dog house?
The fact that your dog feels comfortable in his crate also depends on the care you take in choosing it. Therefore, make sure you choose a crate that is adapted to the size of your pet. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably.
For indoor kennels, choose one with a removable bottom so the dog can see what’s going on in the room and for easy maintenance.