Dog Crate Tips for Crate Training

Dog Crate (1)

Have you decided to crate train your puppy?  We think crate training is a wonderful solution to provide stability and consistency to any puppy or dog’s life.  Whether you call it a dog cage, dog crate or dog kennel dogs respond well to structure and consistency. This is why a routine to create a safe space for your new puppy is so important.  In this article, we discuss why we think crate training is so essential, considerations when purchasing a new crate, crate recommendations, and some tips on how to properly crate train your dog.  

Standard Wire Crate

Wire crates are the best for crate training a new puppy.  

Look for wire crates that have an epoxy coating over the wire and ensure there are no rough edges that could cut your puppy.  Also, keep an eye out for any holes that may be big enough for your puppy to get through! We recommend wire crates with two doors so that it is easier for you to keep it where you want.  Some wire crates have a pull-up door, and others come with doors that swing out. The decision should come down to what is more convenient for you, but I would recommend that you pay attention to the latch.  Make sure that it is sturdy and able to stand up to your dog full grown.

MidWest Life Stages 36" Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate

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Wire crates are some of the easiest to clean.  If there is an accident in the crate, I can break it down and take it out back where I can hose it off and disinfect it.  They also air dry thoroughly.

As discussed before look for a crate that comes with a divider.  This makes it so that you can buy the full-size crate for your puppy now and just adjust the space they have as they grow!

Lastly, pay attention to the bottom tray.  Can a dog easily kick it out? During our first week with Pepper, she figured out how to pop out the bottom plastic tray of her crate and dug a hole in the carpet below the crate.  That hole is still there, but she has learned to love her crate, so we don’t have to worry anymore.

Heavy Duty Wire Case

If your dog is large, has serious separation anxiety or is just a troublemaker, we might recommend you take a look at heavy duty crates.  This type of crate is not for everyone.

I would still recommend looking for something that is easy to clean and pay attention to the bottom tray as discussed above. Also, the harder steel and reinforced welding won’t allow for bending or corners being pulled apart.

Guardian Gear ProSelect Empire Dog Cage

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Furniture Crate Designed to Match Home Decor

This has been a category that has interested me for years.  Sometimes, people are interested in the overall aesthetics of the crate and decide to purchase crates that are designed to blend into the furniture in the room.  I would also still recommend looking for one with multiple doors. I might not recommend these crates for a dog that tries to escape or has frequent accidents. This would be a better option for a small dog or for a dog that is fully crate trained.

Internet's Best Wood & Wire Dog Crate with Cushion

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Travel Crates

Many of us travel and travelling can be stressful for a dog.  We recommend soft crates for travelling with your dog. This way your dog will have a familiar space of their own on the campsite or hotel.  I would still recommend looking for a crate with multiple doors and like the furniture crates, these crates are best for dogs which are already crate trained.  As these crates are made of soft materials, your escape artist types will have no problem escaping from a crate like this.

EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate

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Why crate train your dog?

Crate training is an excellent tool for any pet parent as dogs rely on consistent rules and boundaries to behave well and be comfortable in their environment.  Puppies are den animals by nature, and because of this, they tend to be more comfortable in a smaller confined space which is all their own. Their own area smells like them, and no other dogs are able to encroach on that space.  

We never recommend punishing your dog with a crate.  This is because it defeats the whole purpose of the crate. This creates a negative association with the crate and your dog will not go there when commanded also it could reinforce bad behaviors like destroying the crate to escape.  If something happens and you need your dog to go to the cage, you want them to obey your command and want to go to their crate. If they feel like its a punishment, they won’t be quick and willing to follow!

Training is important!

Set ground rules, don't let your dog be this pup!

Crate Training Tips

  • Never use the crate as a punishment!!
  • Keep beds, towels or soft materials out of the cage until you are confident that your puppy is fully crate trained and won’t have an accident or chew the items out of frustration.
  • Covering a crate can help darken the crate to feel more like a den.
  • Start crate training as soon as possible so your puppy will get accustomed to sleeping in their space and not other bad habits like in your bed. This will help prevent separation anxiety from you.

Before Purchasing a Dog Crate (Keep These Things in Mind)

When you are selecting the right companion for you and your family, I am sure you thought about things like energy level, temperament, and size.  So the good news is that you probably know the answers to all of these considerations!

When your puppy is fully grown, how big will it be?

This is important if you do not want to have to purchase more than one crate from puppy to adulthood.

Puppies experience the majority of their growth within their first six to eight months. Many crates are expensive so we would recommend purchasing a crate designed for your dog when it is fully grown.  

If you buy the larger crate we recommend that you look for one that comes with a divider and today Most crates come with one.  You should use the divider to make sure you are not allowing your puppy to access the entire crate. Dogs naturally do not like to sleep where they do their business.  So by limiting space, this will help avoid accidents.

Dog Crate

Where will you keep the crate?

We recommend somewhere that can help regulate body temperature.  

Most dogs begin to show signs of overheating between 81F and 85F. Dogs don’t use their skin to sweat, like humans, due to their insulating coat. Their coat keeps them both cool in hot weather and warms them in cold weather.  Where you plan to keep the crate can help you decide which type of crate you might want to select.

If its too cold for you, its too cold for your dog!

Hover here!

See our article on cold weather safety below.

Click here!

Your dog’s temperament.

Some dogs will take to crate training easier than others. Some dogs will associate their create as “den” where others are more prone to separation anxiety and could hurt themselves trying to escape the crate.  

It’s a natural instinct for puppies to want to sleep in a safe place. When wolf puppies are born, they are born in a den that their mother creates. They will spend most of their time in or around the den until about six to seven months where they will join the pack in hunting. After that, the fully grown wolfs will no longer sleep in the den and will just sleep on the ground.

You want to crate train when your puppy is young. Where older dogs will orient to sleeping outside of a cage opposed to sleeping inside one.

Things to pay attention to when buying a dog kennel:

How durable is the material?

If you have determined that your dog is the mischievous type or has a short attention span, your dog might try to escape, a metal wire crate will need to be heavy duty and not have any sharp edges that could hurt your pup.  Pay attention to things like the latches, doors and bottom trays. Also, pay attention to how far apart the wire bars are from each other. Will your puppy be able to stick their head through them?

Is it easy to clean?

If you are using this technique to help potty train your new puppy, this one is a MUST!!  You should anticipate having to take this outside to hose off a few times while you are training.  Is the crate you are looking at able to be taken down quickly? Also, does the crate have a removable tray that can be easily removed and cleaned?

Does it need to be foldable?

Depending on where you are putting the crate, you may want to take it up and down as needed.  Many wire crates are able to fold up like a briefcase and can be quickly tucked away when needed.

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