Rewarding Calm Kennel Behavior

Adopt-a-Shelter Program Canine Quick Tip sheet   

Goal: To teach dogs that calm behavior within the kennel will be rewarded.  

  1. Have little pieces of soft yummy treats accessible to staff and visitors outside the kennel 
  1. With dogs that are new to the shelter four feet on the floor (no jumping) will result in praise and a reward. If you can hand feed the dog give the treat low to keep the dog from jumping up to get the treat. If you can’t hand feed the dog toss the treat in a way that keeps the dogs feet on the floor.  

If new dogs are barking use the same reward system. Walk away from barking dogs. Wait until the dog is quiet for two-three seconds and reward. Try to increase the time. 

  1. Once the dog is quietly keeping four feet on the floor. Ask the dog for a sit to earn the reward.  
  1. Once the dog reliably sits on cue, do not say sit (How to use Sit as a Job Quick Tip) approach the dog’s kennel and praise and treat when the dog does an auto sit. 


Consistency is very important! Do not reward the dog when it is barking, jumping, mouthing the cage or any other undesirable behavior. Behavior which is rewarded will be repeated.