Crate training has been found to have tremendous benefits and is one of the easiest ways we know of to curb unappealing habits in our pets. Some new pet parents believe that crate training unfairly confines their new four-legged friend, but most veterinarians and pet psychologists actually disagree. Instead, many believe that crate training allows dogs to get in tune with their natural instinct to find a den, and they say that it can greatly help to reduce stress for both indoor and outdoor pets alike.
Types of Dog Crates
There are several dog crate styles currently on the market today, which can potentially make picking out the right crate a stressful experience for first time pet owners. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered! We’ll break down the various types of crates below and explain their pros and cons to help you select which one you think is the right choice for your pet.
The wire dog cage is one of the most commonly used crates out there, and it provides several benefits to pets and owners alike. One of the most obvious benefits, of course, comes from the fact that it is open, and pets can see out of all four sides of their crate. This allows them to feel more involved in family activities while also having a sense of security and safety provided by the bars around them. At the same time, it also allows owners to see their dogs as well, to make sure that they aren’t up to no good while in their crate.
Wire crates are also typically collapsible, which makes them easy to store when not in use, and they often have a removable plastic floor which makes it easy to clean. On top of that, wire cage crates also usually come with an extra panel that enables owners to make the crate larger or smaller as needed, so pet parents can buy one crate and then expand it as their pup grows.
The plastic dog crate is the one most commonly used by travelers to transport their furry friends on planes and for other trips, but they can have benefits as permanent crates as well. These crates are also typically enclosed on three sides, which can provide an added sense of security for your pup, especially if it is one that enjoys sleeping under tables or in corners, where he or she can feel more secure. These crates also very often can be split in half, making them easy to clean and store.
Unfortunately, not all dogs enjoy that sense of confinement, so some pets might be reluctant to actually get in and feel comfortable. Because they are completely enclosed, many of these plastic crates also have a tendency to get hot, making them especially uncomfortable for pets living in warmer climates who might not have the luxury of constant air conditioning. Additionally, even though many of them can be split in half, they can still sometimes be a pain to clean, and pet parents will often need to break out the hose in case of any accidents while in the crate.
Soft sided crates are great for outdoor dogs, or for parents who have smaller or calmer dogs. These crates are easy to store and are often very comfortable and airy, but unfortunately due to their soft nature they can be easily shredded and destroyed by larger or more aggressive pets. Soft sided crates can also be quite a pain to clean up in case of accidents and might even require a toss in the washing machine for some of the more troublesome messes.
Several specialty crates are also available, ranging from heavy duty metal cages to more decorative wood or rattan slat crates. These are typically purchased with a specific purpose in mind, for example the heavy-duty crates might be necessary if your dog is an escape artist or if he has been able to destroy other crates in the past, while more decorative dog crates are better suited for more docile dogs who won’t chew their way through the wood frame. These decorative crates also have their own aesthetic appeal as well, making them a good choice for pet owners who are looking to coordinate their pet’s crate with the overall look of the room.
Best Crate Overall: Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate
The G1 intermediate crate by Gunner Kennels is considered one of the world’s best dog crates, and for good reason! This crate sets a new standard when it comes to travel crates, and makes use of a patented double walled roto molded plastic that goes through a process similar, but a bit more rigorous, than those used to manufacture Olympic kayaks.
The people at Gunner Kennels, who created this masterpiece of dog crate design, ran the numbers and came to the realization that more than 100,000 dogs are killed each year due to transportation accidents and from kennels falling out of truck beds. With this shocking statistic in mind, Gunner created a crate that is built to withstand more than 4,000 pounds of force, a fall from a 200-foot cliff, and a 630 lb. object dropped from 8’4″. To be extra sure of the crates strength, the manufacturer even tested its durability by firing a 12-gauge shotgun at it from 7 steps away, and the crate held strong. Because of these intense tests, and the fact that the crate was able to survive each and every one, the G1 Intermediate was named the Top Performer of the Center For Pet Safety’s 2015 Crash Study.
In addition to all of those features, the G1 also is made to maintain a comfortable crate temperature in both cold and hot conditions, has water repelling vented windows, an underfloor drainage system, four custom tie down points to ensure that the crate stays stable during transportation, and a ton of awesome accessories to really deck out your dog’s den. For those out there who transport their dog by vehicle often, this crate is an absolute must, and there is no better option on the market today when it comes to ensuring a safe and comfortable crate that your pet is sure to enjoy.
Runner Up: Midwest iCrate
The Midwest iCrate is a traditional wire cage design that offers plenty of space in an easily transportable frame. The iCrate is also double doored, so that it can be place virtually anywhere, and has several features created with safety and security in mind. Rounded corners and slide-bolt latches help ensure that animals and children alike are kept secure and out of harm’s way, while a removable plastic floor-piece makes for easy cleanup in the event of unfortunate accidents.
The iCrate also can be easily broken down for transportation and storage, and includes plastic carrying handles to allow easy transportation from one place to another. The iCrate also comes with a removable divider, so that you can increase the space available within the crate as needed as your pet grows. Finally, every iCrate comes with a 1 year manufacturers warranty, so you can rest assured that you are purchasing one of the highest quality wire crates on the market or your money back!
More Crates We Love
Crown Pet Products Wood Pet Crate
The Crown Pet Products wooden crate is one of the more attractive crate options on the market, with a swing through door and multiple wooden vents that provide for great ventilation as well as a 360-degree view for your pup. This crate is also available in two different finishes, mahogany and espresso, to allow pet parents to better coordinate with the rest of their home décor, and comes in two sizes: medium for pets up to 45 pounds, and large for dogs up to 80 pounds.
EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate
The Elitefield 3-door soft crate us ideal for the outdoors, and makes a great addition to any camping trip. The frame of the Elitefield is made from strong steel tubes to provide stability, while the cover is made of high quality durable 600D fabric with hex mesh fabric around the openings. The crate also has 3 openings that allow for plenty of breathability and sunlight, and it comes has two accessory pockets built in to store some extra pet supplies while on the go. As an added bonus, the Elitefield crate has a removable, washable cover, and comes with a free carrying bag and comfortable, washable fleece bed.
Reasons to Use a Dog Crate
Safe and Secure: Pet owners have found that dog crates are useful for a wide variety of reasons. One of the most commonly found uses of crates is to provide pet parents with a certain sense of peace when they leave their dogs at home alone. With your new pup securely locked in his or her crate, pet owners can rest assured that their new friends won’t be out destroying the house or going to the bathroom in places they shouldn’t be. Even more importantly, having your dog in a crate ensures that he or she won’t wind up getting hurt around the house, or even possibly finding a way to get outside or end up lost.
Reduced Anxiety: Crates can also provide a pet with a certain sense of safety and security. In a sense, a dog knows that the crate is their place, and it gives them an area that they can retreat into when they feel over-stressed or when they simply need a break. As mentioned earlier, crate training taps into the dog’s evolutionary urge to find a den, and as such providing your pup with a safe, enclosed location can go a great length in reducing your dog’s anxiety levels and giving them a stress-free place to escape to whenever they feel the need.
Potty Training: Furthermore, crate training has been found to have tremendous benefits when it comes to potty training your pet. Crate training has been found to greatly improve your dog’s bladder and bowel control, and also helps your dog to get into a regular schedule for going to the bathroom outdoors. The crate also helps to cut down on your dog getting into the habit of going to the bathroom during the night and encourages your pets to wait until the morning.
Traveling: Finally, crates are also necessary for travel, so they are an essential for any pet parent on the go. By being comfortable and familiar with their crate, we can be sure that our furry friends will not experience undue stress while traveling and will instead feel safe and secure in their little sanctuary even while they are being moved long distances.
Features to Look For
Aside from size, there are a few other features to look for. Chief among these is ease of cleaning. It is inevitable, especially with puppies, that your furry friend will have an accident while in the crate, and you are going to need to clean it up. Because of this, always opt for crates that are easy to open up or clean, and save yourself a headache of needing to reach into a soiled box and scrub it out on your hands and knees.
Another important feature is a strong lock. Some dogs are just natural escape artists, so a sturdy locking system is a much. Crates are meant to keep dogs inside, after all, so if your pup is able to work his way out and wander freely it simply isn’t doing its job.
Remember, dog crates can come in all shapes and sizes, so it is important that you find the one that best suits both your needs as well as those of your pup. It can be tough to pick out the perfect crate, but hopefully this guide has made that job just a bit easier, and you will have a good, crate trained friend in your house before you know it!
What Size Dog Crate Should You Buy?
Now that you’ve got an idea of which crates you should get, you might be asking yourself which size crate is best suited for your dog’s unique individual needs. To answer this question, you need to keep a few things in mind. First of all, you need to fight the urge to give your pup too much space. While we might like large, spacious rooms for ourselves, they do not suit our dogs interests at all, especially not when crate training.
Your dog needs to have enough room to be able to turn around and to lay on its side with its paws stretched out, but not enough space to be able to pace about. This is important, because we don’t want our dogs to be able to soil their crate. If it is too big, they will be able to go to the bathroom in one corner and rest in the other. A good crate doesn’t give them the space to do this, and pushes dogs to control themselves until they can get out.
And not just that, but a crate that is too big just doesn’t provide that same cozy sense of safety and security that your dog may find from a smaller one. The bottom line is you aren’t doing your pup any favors from getting him or her a big spacious crate, and in fact you might be causing more harm than good!
As for height, we also don’t want a crate that is too tall, and we definitely don’t want one that is too small. For height, pet parents should opt for cages that are just a bit higher than your dog’s head level when sitting, so that he can get comfy without banging his head on the ceiling!