Crate Selection and Training

When choosing a crate size for your dog choosing the correct size is important to their success.

If you have a puppy you will need to use multiple sizes as the dog grows for the best results. You want the crate to be just large enough to where the top of the crate aligns with the bottom of the dog’s head when they are sitting next to the crate. The dog needs to be able to turn around in the crate but does not need to be able to hold its head up all the way. With our dogs, the weight rating for most crates will not apply accurately. Our dogs have a solid structure resulting in a somewhat compact size for their weight.

Crate training your dog.

With puppies, it is important not to have a crate that is too big. If the crate is too big they will use one corner for a bathroom and sleep in the opposite corner. Because of this if you are crate training a puppy you will likely need to go through more than one size crate by the time the dog matures.

When starting a puppy on crate training you will gently assist the dog into the crate while telling them the crate. Once the dog is so far in that they have to go in to turn around they should go in. Close the door and leave them in there until they calm down and relax. If they resist you may need a larger crate for training, don’t worry you can use it later as the dog gets bigger, then come back down to the smaller size. If you leave the room or if the puppy has been in the crate for 15 minutes or so it may start to whine. We recommend doing crate training initially while you are home, so you can be in the room to help keep them calm. You can talk calmly to them telling them to relax.

It is important to get a puppy on a feeding and crate rotation schedule. If you are leaving your dog at home while you are at work it is important to give the dog the maximum amount of time between feeding and crating to give them an opportunity to get everything out of their system before being left in the crate. We recommend feeding the dog and then putting them directly into the crate once they are done feeding. Then set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes and take them directly outside. Praise them with the command you want to use for telling them to go to the bathroom, like good empty. When you take them out take them to the same place every time so they can smell the scent they left from last time. If they go in the crate before you get a chance to take them out; take the whole crate outside before you let them out. Then after taking them out clean them off and clean out the crate.

Recommended Dog Crates

Depending on your use we have two recommendations. If you are traveling with your dog frequently then we recommend a Dakota 283 dog crate. They are Single-piece military-strength crates that are made in the U.S.A. But if your crate will only be used at home 90% of the time then a much more economical choice would be the Petmate Vari Kennel. They are especially useful if you are starting with a puppy since you will likely need to go through 2 to 3 different size crates as the dog grows.