Historically, wild dogs slept in small dens – shallow holes they dug in the ground where they felt safe from predators. These were small, dark places, just big enough to turn around in and to lie down comfortably. A “dog crate” is just a modern version of the ages old den. It’s simply a dog house within a people house. Just as you enjoy having your own room where you can go for peace and privacy, your dog will also start to seek out his “den”.
As well as giving him a safe, cozy place to retreat to, a dog crate can make training your dog a lot easier. Housebreaking goes much faster when you use a dog crate, and destructive chewing becomes easier to control. Furthermore, traveling is safer for both you and your dog when he’s in a crate.
The most common place to buy a dog crate is at your local pet supply store. You can also find them at hardware and department stores. For the largest selection and the best value, a wholesale pet supply company will be your best bet. You can find these companies through ads in popular dog magazines or online. Do your research, as there are many types to choose from, including companies which specialize in discount dog crates.
What Type Of Dog Crate Should You Buy?
One very popular choice of dog crates is the plastic model. Another popular version is made of heavy welded steel wire. Plastic crates are molded two-piece units with ventilation areas along the sides and a welded steel wire door in front. They’re lightweight, portable and are easily taken apart for storage or travel. Most plastic crates meet federal regulations for airline travel. However, if air travel is important to you make sure you check the guidelines before purchasing a dog crate. The quality of plastic crates varies between manufacturers and you’ll need to get one sturdy enough to resist scratching and chewing.
Wire dog crates are very popular and depending on your dog’s needs, may be a better purchase than plastic. You’ll need to shop more carefully for a wire crate because quality and style vary greatly. Some of them are poorly constructed and not meant to be collapsed for storage. Others, while advertised as “collapsible”, do so only with great difficulty and don’t fold down to a convenient size. Look for sturdy crates with heavy gauge wire that are easily folded down into a “suitcase-style” shape for transportation and storage. Make sure that you test the collapsibility before you buy the dog crate.
What size dog crate do you need? A dog crate need only be big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. It’s likely best to allow a little extra leg room for the dog to stretch out. Growing puppies can be a problem when buying a dog crate. A dog crate that is too large can make a puppy slightly harder to housebreak. Fortunately, dividers are available for some brands so you can shrink and expand the puppy’s space as needed. Look here for more information on the proper use of dog crates for puppies and training.