In happy homes, dog crates should be a sign of relaxation and safety for your pet and a stress reliever for you. The best dog crate should provide you peace of mind, knowing that your dog is safely sleeping at night and that your home is protected from damage during short trips away if your pet is young or untrained. By selecting a proper crate and learning how to use it properly, you will improve your relationship with your dog as well as enjoy its company more fully.
What Are Dog Crates?
Dog crates are enclosures that are made of plastic, fabric on a frame, or metal material. They are often used to house train dogs, provide a comfortable sleeping area for your pet, or contain your dog so it will not cause damage while you are away for short periods of time. Some crates can be used to transport your dog in a vehicle from one place to another safely. The best dog crate should be large enough for your dog to stand and turn around inside. They can be used to train your dog to learn certain behaviors acceptable in your home. If you have a dog that’s particularly strong or a smart escape artist, you might want to check out our escape-proof dog crate reviews.
Training With Dog Crates
In order to train successfully using dog crates, you need to teach your dog to associate positive behaviors and reinforcements with the crate while avoiding negative or anxiety-causing associations. Crates can be used to house train dogs successfully because dogs can learn to see the crate as their den or home, which they naturally do not want to soil. They can also learn to sleep and be contained in a crate while you are away, which protects both your pet and your belongings until you can train them more fully.
Follow these simple steps to train your dog with a crate:
1. Place the crate
Place the dog crate in a common area where your family and your dog tends to relax and recreate. Some pets may immediately claim the crate as their own and explore and rest inside their crate with little coaxing. Others may need to be brought over and lured slowly inside with dog treats.
2. Put food in the crate
Place dog food regularly inside the crate. If your dog is nervous, start by leaving meals near the crate and slowly move them inside. Be patient and wait until your pet is calmly eating inside the crate before closing the door. Slowly increase the time you leave them in the crate after meals.
Once the dog is comfortable inside the crate, start associating a one-word command to have them enter. Leave them in the crate for short periods of time while you’re home. Praise them with treats. Stay nearby for a few minutes, leave for a short time, and return for some time before letting them out. Repeat this process so that the time increase to half an hour.
4. Get them used to it
At this point, you can leave your dog in its crate for short times when you must leave the house to run errands. Keep placing your dog in its crate occasionally when you are at home so your pet doesn’t associate the crate with being alone all the time.
The crate can also be used at night for sleeping. You may want to leave the crate close to where you sleep in case they need to go out in the night.
Things To Consider Before Purchasing
Many manufacturers sell a wide variety of dog crates today. Each kind has different advantages and disadvantages and are designed for different purposes. Here are the different kinds of crates available:
Soft-sided crates are made out of fabric or mesh placed on a frame. As a lightweight option, soft-sided crates are inexpensive and easy to transport and use. Since these crates are portable and collapsible, they make a great option for traveling dogs. Although they are comfortable for dogs, they are not durable for long-term use and can be difficult to clean.
Plastic dog crates are practical and more durable than soft-sided crates. The can be inexpensive but unattractive and may present ventilation issues so they can only be used for short periods of times. Dogs may enjoy them because they provide private space. Although plastic crates may be more difficult to store, they are easy to clean.
Metal dog crates are sturdy, well-ventilated, damage-proof and easy to clean. However, they can be bulky and heavy to move around as well as prone to rusting over long periods of time. Some collapsible metal models are available and most do not retain dog odors.
Wood dog crates are really for the benefit of the owners. They can be beautiful and designed to match your home or your yard. Typically, they are not moved around but kept in one place for your dog to sleep or relax in. Wooden, decorative crates are not practical and are often too heavy to be portable.
Crates vary in size from 18 inches for very small dogs up to 72 inches for extra large breeds. Ideally, the crate should only be large enough for your dog to stand upright and turn around comfortably. If the crate is too large, your pet may try to soil in one corner and sleep in another. This could undo all of your hard work potty training them.
You may want to select a crate that is the right size for your dog once it stops growing or you might consider renting a crate and swapping for larger ones as your dog grows. Some models offer dividers that can be moved as your dog grows.
Top 5 Dog Crate Reviews
Check out the crates we recommend:
MidWest iCrate Folding Metal Dog Crate
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The MidWest iCrate measures 48 inches by 30 inches by 33 inches and comes with a divider panel that allows you to create the right crate size for your growing pet. The design of this crate includes rubber feet to prevent scratching of floors, rounded edges to eliminate injury to dogs or owners, a sturdy handle, and a plastic pan designed to prevent leaks. The iCrate can be easily collapsed into a suitcase-sized package for storage and travel.
Many dog owners highly recommend this crate for a wide variety of dogs, noting its roomy size, ease of assembly and sturdy construction as positive points. A few dog owners complained that their dogs were able to bend the cage wires and that some of the ends of wires were sharp and dangerous.
AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate
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This double-door folding metal crate features a two slide bolt as well as a durable and collapsible design. Measuring 36 inches by 23 inches by 25 inches, this AmazonBasics dog crate has a divider as well as a plastic pan that can be taken out and cleaned easily. Compared to other similar crates, this model is the lightest and the most inexpensive.
Users are impressed with the crate’s sturdy construction and strong locks and latches. The double door construction makes it easy to find a spot where the crate can fit comfortably and still provide access for your pet. Some owners complained of dogs being able to chew through bars of the crate as well as danger of pinched fingers during the assembly and disassembly process.
OxGord Metal Pet Crate with Double-Door and Divider
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The OxGord crate features an easy-to-assemble design that does not require any tools to build or collapse, which makes it simple to store when not in use. This heavy-duty metal construction makes this metal dog crate durable and safe for your pet. The steel materials are coated and resistant to fading, rust, and corrosion. The crate is available in six sizes to accommodate different size dogs and comes with a divider, two doors and a carrying handle. The crate is easy to wash.
Customers are generally pleased with this dog crate as it provides an inexpensive and durable solution to crating your pet. The double doors and divider make the unit easy to use and allows the size of the crate to be adjusted as your dog grows. Users say the crate collapses quickly and easily, making storage and travel simple. A few people complained that their dogs were able to break out of the crate.
Carlson Pet Products
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The dog crate made by Carlson Pet Products is constructed with steel and features a single door with a secure lock. Users can easily fold up the crate for travel and storage purposes. The unit includes a removable pan that is easy to wash. The Carlson dog crate is designed for puppies and medium-sized dogs no larger than 45 pounds and measures 30 inches by 19 inches by 21 inches.
Many users note the sturdy construction and enjoy the fact that the crate takes only seconds to collapse and store. A few users complained that their dogs were able to break out and bend the wires, resulting in some injury to their pets.
Petco Classic 1-Door Dog Crate
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The Petco dog crate offers four sizes to accommodate multiple breeds of dogs, and all except the smallest crate come with a divider so that the crate can grow with your pet. A slide-out pan and the coated wire finish makes the crate easy to clean. Compared with other similar models, this crate is similar in price and features.
Many customers said that the crate was easy to set up and collapse and featured sturdy construction. The larger sizes were noted as very roomy and spacious for large breeds. Some users complained that the divider is somewhat difficult to install and move without bending the crate itself. A few people complained of poor craftsmanship and construction.
Make your dog comfortable
Finding the best dog crate for your beloved pet is worth the research and time. It can not only serve as a safe, secure and familiar place for your dog to rest and relax, but it can be an important tool in house training your pet as well as helping your dog and your home stay safe during short absences.