In the past couple articles here on the blog, I have talked about whether or not it is a good idea to crate-train your dog (for most dogs, it is), and what steps you can take to carry out the crate-training process effectively. But before you can begin crate-training your dog, you need to actually purchase a crate. There are so many different kinds of dog crates. How do you go about choosing the right crate for your dog?
First off, you need to think about dimensions. There are small crates, medium crates, and big crates. I recommend that you choose a crate which will suit your dog when he reaches full size, because you want the crate to be a special place that he can voluntarily spend time over the years to come, long after house training is complete. If you have a small breed of dog, a small crate may be all you need, but if you have a larger dog breed, be sure you get a big enough crate, even if your dog is smaller now.
Materials and Design
You have five basic options here:
- Wire dog crates
- Plastic dog crates
- Heavy-duty dog crates
- Soft-sided dog crates
- Cute dog crates
Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. This should help you to pick out the best option.
- Wire crates
These are very popular. They have excellent ventilation, and you can even buy dividers for them so that the crate is smaller when your dog is young and larger when she is older. They are often easy to clean and collapsible for transport. As far as drawbacks go, they are not that great to look at, and the non-collapsible models can be hard to move around. Determined dogs can get out of them, they can be noisy, and some dogs will eliminate right through to the floor.
- Plastic crates
These crates are harder to bust out of, and are frequently at least partially collapsible. If your dog enjoys cozy, confined spaces, he will particularly like a plastic crate. It’s perfect for travel, and you can buy one in a range of colors. Any drawbacks? They can get hot, so they are not best for long-haired breeds or hot climates. They can be tough to clean, they are not that great to look at, and some dogs will get anxious in them because they do not offer as much visibility as a wire crate.
- Heavy-duty crates
These crates are designed specifically for dogs that like to try to get out of their crates or destroy things. They are also good for travel, especially on airplanes. They do not look that visually appealing, and they can be somewhat expensive. Still, for a very destructive dog, they may pay for themselves. Just think how much it would cost to replace crate after crate if you bought something less durable.
- Soft-sided dog crates
Our soft-sided collapsible crate is a very popular product! These crates are great because they are visually appealing, easy to fold up and store, and perfect if you want something lightweight that is easy to transport. They are perfect for home or travel, and have breathable mesh for air circulation. These are great for small to medium-sized dogs that enjoy cozy, soft surfaces. Any drawbacks? They are easy to chew through. Smart dogs may also learn how to open the crate and escape. They may be hard to clean as well if a dog eliminates inside.
- Cute crates
Cute crates are those which are specifically designed to be aesthetically pleasing. They look great, and many double as items of furniture (like a bedside table). They are bad for destructive dogs, which can tear them apart, but can be a great choice for other dogs.
Hopefully now you feel more prepared to choose the best crate for your dog. Observe your dog’s habits, think about your climate, and you should be able to choose a crate which is a good fit for your dog’s breed, personality and needs. If in doubt, just purchase a crate which has good ventilation and offers you portability and other convenient features. If you do a good job with crate training, your pet will probably love it.