Crates have several different uses. They can be used to confine dogs when home alone or during travel, they can be used as a housebreaking aid, and they can be used to give your dog his own personal area. Even if you don’t plan to crate your dog on a regular basis, it is still a good idea to crate train. That way if the need does arise, they will already be comfortable with the experience. When properly crate-trained, a dog generally views his crate as his own den. Dogs should never be placed in a crate as a punishment because it can ruin their perception of the safe haven the crate represents.
When selecting a crate it is important to choose the correct size for your dog. The crate needs to be large enough to allow your dog to comfortably lie down, as well as stand up. It is tempting to choose a crate that is much larger than needed to ensure your dog has plenty of space. However, if you are using the crate as a housebreaking aid, that decision can undermine your efforts. When purchasing a crate for a still growing puppy it is often possible to purchase dividers which allow you to adjust the crate size as your puppy gets larger.
The three primary types of crate construction are wire, hard plastic, and fabric. Many dogs prefer either hard plastic or fabric style crates because the enclosed sides help to create a secure den-like atmosphere. However, wire crates can easily be covered with a towel or blanket to create the same feeling.
Wire crates are often collapsible, and able to be folded and stowed away to save space when not in use. They are easy to clean and easy to sanitize. However, aggressive dogs or those not accustomed to being crated can attempt to chew the wire and injure themselves.
Hard plastic crates are the style which is most often airline-approved. They are easy to clean and offer a limited viewing area to help ease stress and make your dog feel more secure. However, they are also bulky and more difficult to store than a collapsible crate and tend to be more expensive than wire or fabric crates.
Fabric crates are often collapsible and are light-weight and easy to handle. They are generally used for supervised crating or with smaller dogs and cats and come in a range of stylish options. However, larger fabric crates can be expensive and dogs can chew through the fabric to escape.
Pet gates are generally made from metal, plastic, or wood. The come in styles ranging from permanent gates with walk through openings to temporary gates that can be moved from doorway to doorway on a regular basis. For the most part, both styles are easy to install although some permanent gates may require hardware be fastened to the doorframe.
When selecting a pet gate, you first need to measure the width of the opening where you plan to use. Some gates can be used with expansion panels allowing them to fit very wide openings while others can only expand to a set width. The next step is to decide how durable a gate you need, for example, plastic or wood gates are generally not a good match for dogs who are aggressive chewers. Another factor to consider is the height of the gate, if you are trying to limit your dog’s access you don’t want a gate that he can easily climb or jump over.