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Crates 101: Choosing The Right Crate For Your Dog

(Tuesday, February 18, 2014)

A crate can be a very effective way to train your dog and safely transport him. It is essential that your dog feels comfortable and secure in it. Here are tips to help you find the perfect crate for your dog:

  • Choose the material: Dog crates usually come in three different materials: plastic, wire or soft materials.
    • Plastic crates are den-like and enclosed, which may make your dog feel safer. They are also easier to clean.
    • Wire crates are usually easy to store and carry around because they can collapse. Wire crates have more ventilation and you can always drape a towel over the crate to create a den-like atmosphere for your dog.
    • Soft-sided crates can be made from collapsible materials such as canvas or nylon. These types of crates are easy to wash and great for travel.
  • Choose the right size: The crate should allow your adult-sized dog to stand up and raise his head without hitting it. He should also be able to turn around in a full circle in it. Be sure that the crate is not too large for your dog. If the crate is the right size, it will help with training. If you have a puppy and there is too much room in the crate, he may soil on one side and sleep on the other. If this problem occurs, you can place a partition in the crate to make a smaller area, which can be removed as he grows.
  • Leaving your dog alone in the crate: You should place a water bowl in the crate if you plan on leaving your dog home alone for several hours. A rubber Kong toy stuffed with frozen vegetables is a great treat to put in the crate and will keep your dog occupied while you are away. Crate pads can also go inside to help keep your dog comfortable.