The first thing I hope to accomplish with this article is to let people know of the benefits of dog crates and what they are used for. Dog crates are basically a safe haven for your dog and a very good training tool for puppies or young dogs. Some people even believe that dogs are den dwelling animals and that providing them with a crate is like providing them a substitute for a den.
When used properly, dog crates are an effective tool to begin teaching puppies bladder and bowel control and the limits to what they can or more often, cannot, chew on or chew up in your home. Crates are effective in teaching bladder and bowel control because puppies typically do not like to soil their resting or sleeping areas. So, if you use the dog crate effectively and give your puppy or dog the opportunity to use the bathroom elsewhere, you are in effect training them bladder and bowel control.
Another great benefit in utilizing crate training is to get dogs used to smaller places in the event they have to be crated. If your dog will ever need to crated for a trip to the vet or for pet boarding then it is a good idea to already have them used to a dog crate. Likewise if you plan on traveling by car, plane, or any other means. Not to mention the fact that dogs who are crated in their owner’s vehicles have a better chance of surviving in the event of an auto accident. Another added benefit of crating your dog is that your dog or dogs are less likely to get into something that could be lethal to them if they are crated while at home alone.
Most dog owners find dog crates to be an indispensable piece of equipment. The option to secure one’s dog in a confined space at night, in the car, or simply whenever it’s convenient is a great convenience. Dogs, too, seem to enjoy the security and comfort of a dog crate once accustomed to them. When shopping for a dog crate, dog owners have many choices to make- size, brand, and design all play a part in choosing the perfect dog crate. The most common crates are a simple plastic shell with a metal grated door. However, there are also a wide range of “soft” dog crates, made from fabric on a lightweight metal frame. For many dog owners, soft crates offer great advantages over other varieties. Here are some points to consider if you’re thinking of buying a soft dog crate.
Firstly, cost varies widely between different dog crate types. The cheapest, which are typically sturdy wire cages with a removable plastic pan, cost as little as $20, while some designer models run as high as $600. Soft crates typically run between $40 and $120, depending on the size, model, and brand. The cheapest soft dog crates will be no frills- just six sides and a zipper- while more expensive models may offer various extra features: locking mechanisms, reinforced seams, rubberized feet, loops for ground stakes, side pockets, and others. Depending on your budget, you may choose to take advantage of some of these extras, or not.
However, even the most high-end, pricey soft crates will be reduced to a worthless pile of scraps in no time at all if its resident chooses to destroy it. Unlike hard plastic or metal crates, soft dog crates are not appropriate for vigorous chewers, or dogs who are not yet kennel-trained and may try to escape. Given enough time, a distressed, struggling dog will easily tear through mesh, rip out seams, and break zippers. And even the small teeth of a puppy will make short work of fabric if it chooses to chew on its home. For these reasons, soft crates should only be used for dogs that are trained and already comfortable in a crate.
There are two basic kinds of dog crates: wire crates and hard plastic crates. Both kinds of crates can be good choices, depending on why you need a crate for your dog. The cost of the crates is similar, so that will probably not be a deciding factor for you. Both kinds of crates can be broken down or taken apart and put together rather easily, so that, too, will probably not be too influential, although wire crates are usually more portable if you are going to training classes or taking your dog someplace local.
Hard plastic crates
If you will be flying with your dog on a plane, you will need to get a hard plastic, airline-approved crate. Airlines are very picky about the crates they allow on planes, for the safety of the dogs, and they do not accept wire crates because they can be bent during a flight, which could crush a dog. Most hard plastic crates are airline-approved but you should look for this label or statement to make sure. Hard plastic crates have ventilation holes so air can circulate and they have a wire grill for a door so your dog can see out and have more air. Under ordinary circumstances a dog is safe in one of these crates and will not escape.
They come in two pieces (a top and a bottom) and are put together with screws and knobs around the sides. They are easily assembled in just a few minutes. Hard plastic crates have the added bonus of being a good way to travel with your pet in your personal vehicle. If you should have an accident, the hard plastic will provide some protection for your dog and prevent him from being tossed around the vehicle or thrown out on the road.
Wire crates are a good choice for your dog if you go to training classes, dog events such as agility or obedience trials where the dog might have to wait around at the site for a few hours, or if you prefer your dog to be able to see more outside the crate. Wire crates are more open than hard plastic crates and the dog can feel like he is part of what is going on.
They will also work as a way to confine your dog in your personal vehicle but they do not provide as much protection as hard plastic crates. If you are in an accident, a wire crate can be crushed more easily and your dog could escape. However, many people who go to lots of dog events with their dogs like wire crates because they are easier to carry than hard plastic crates and more portable. They are relatively easy to fold up and set up quickly and they collapse into a much smaller space than hard plastic crates.
Both kinds of crates are equally good if you will be using a crate at home to help with house training or as a place for your dog to sleep and hang out.
Finding a good crate
You can find good crates at your local pet store, online from vendors who sell dog products, and even at your local discount stores and building supply stores. They are not hard to find.
Most crate manufacturers provide a guide that suggests the correct size crate to get for each breed or size of dog. These guides are usually very accurate and you should follow their recommendations. It is generally best to get the correct size crate for your dog and not get a crate that is too large. Crates that are too big for your dog are not safe if your dog is flying or traveling in your car. The more space there is in the crate, the more your dog can be thrown around in case of a turbulence or an accident, possibly causing injury. If you will be using the crate for house training, extra space would allow the dog to poop in his crate which would defeat the purpose of using the crate for house training. However, if your dog will simply be sleeping in the crate, you can get a crate as big as you like.
Crates are great for dogs and most dogs like them once they have been introduced to them. Which kind of crate you get for you dog is really a matter of personal preference, unless you will be flying on a plane with your pet. In that case you will need to get a hard plastic, airline-approved crate. Happy crate training!