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Dogs, House, and Kennel
By Bill Szentmiklosi

This is kind of a Readers Digest version of some of my thoughts over the past 30 plus years with both dogs that worked out for police and competition, and those that made good house pets, but not for the sport or police. I have gone both ways with 14 or so dogs. What has worked the best for me, with the exception of one dog, is that stay in an outside kennel, if the weather is acceptable.

When I lived in Michigan, they stayed outside unless the temperature was below 15 degrees for extended period of time, or over 90 degrees for extended period of time. When they were in the house, I then had 2 choices, let them run free, or have them go to a kennel.

For me, it does not matter if it is a puppy, young dog, or adult dog, once I get them they start out in the house, always in a crate.

With a puppy, young dog, or adult dog, it is probably the first time they have been separated from the litter, or familiar surrounding and may have no security of the pack or den. I bring them in for security and provide for them the human touching that I will need later on. Also in the beginning that I teach house rules, house breaking for bathroom, and start word association and basic training; go outside, kennel up, here, and sit for example. The kennel provides for them a den-like atmosphere of safety, and calm. It is important for me that when I say "kennel" or "kennel up" that they happily and immediately run to this place without reservations. It is part of reward for food. Here is the start of establishing territory and finding that the human contact is needed, especially later on.

With a puppy, it is generally around 12 weeks or so. I then introduce an outside kennel, starting with short times. I again teach them word association with reward to kennel up. I may just place them in their kennel for 10 minutes while I walk to the mail box. The time then becomes longer and longer to the point that most of the time they will be outside. When I return, I try to create that I missed them and try to get them excited to see me. This excitement will later be used as they continue development, so that when they see me, they want to be with me.

Once they have accepted staying in and outside kennel, I use the lack of human touching and lack of human presence to my advantage in training. Even with the dog that I have now in Arizona, he stays outside except at night and during the extreme heat. Otherwise, he is in the house, but in a room off the kitchen that is gated. He sees, hears, and smells the human, but yet is extremely excited to see me, be with me, play with me, and work for me. Even when I bring a dog into a house, I may let them run around for a couple of days as a treat. But, I then play the starving for touching by placing them in the outside kennel.

I have found that the consistency of being in the house without restrictions, which yes the dog, enjoys seeing me, but also learned that they loose a sense of purpose, and become lazy. I have been more successful in kenneling the dogs outside. They acclimate to the weather, they seem to be tougher in personality, they seem to have more drive, and seem to have a strong desire to be with me. Their senses and perceptions seem to be keener and more purposeful.