How to Choose the Perfect Dog Crate
Dog crates are a great way to give your pet(s) a space of their own, transport them from place to place, and keep them out of trouble while you’re gone. Crates are not one size fits all. It is important to choose the right size crate and use the crate as a place of reward, not punishment!
An appropriately sized crate should be just big enough for your pooch to turn around and lie down. Dogs naturally do not poo or pee in spaces where they eat or sleep (i.e. the crate). However, if the crate is too big a dog may alleviate his or herself at one end. The biggest mistake owners make when buying crates is to buy one too large, thinking they are doing the dog a favor by buying them extra room.
Before purchasing a crate, measure the height and width of your dog. Add three to five inches to that number and that is the size crate you should buy. If you have a puppy, go ahead and buy a crate appropriate to the size he or she will be when fully grown. In the mean time, you can use a crate divider or plank of wood to block off the extra space. Puppies should not spend more than 4 hours at a time in the crate, as they will need to go to the bathroom. Once a puppy is about 4 months old, he or she can probably spend closer to 5 or 6 hours if he or she has been exercised prior to being crated.
Location! Location! Location!
The first time you bring home the crate, simply place a treat or dinner inside and allow the dog to go in on its own. Praise him or her for doing so. Continue to encourage crate use through food and affection.
Make Their House a Home
The crate should be a welcoming place for a dog, not one he or she dreads being in. Never, ever, use it as a punishment. Cushion it with a blanket or pillows. Leave familiar toys for him or her to smell something familiar inside (and also play with when they’re bored). Make sure to always leave a bowl of water.
Dog Crate Size Chart
Types of Dog Crates
- Wire Dog Crates
- Plastic Dog Crates
- Soft Sided Dog Crates
- Heavy Duty Dog Crates
- “Cute Dog Crates”
For in depth descriptions and the pros and cons of each, visit The House Breaking Bible. They provide an excellent guide to the different types of dog crates you can choose from.