We get asked this question quite frequently during our evaluations. First off, many people make the mistake of getting a crate that is way too big. If you have a puppy, getting too big of a crate can work against your goal of crate training and house breaking. Reason being, if the crate is too big this gives the puppy the option to go to one end of the crate, eliminate and still have a clean area to lay down in. Dogs don’t like to eliminate in their resting area. So a crate too big doesn’t give the dog incentive to hold it. With that being said, the crate should just be big enough for the dog to go in, stand up and turn around. No more, no less. This will increase the likelihood that your dog will not eliminate in the crate provided you’re giving ample opportunities for potty breaks through out the day.
For puppies we recommend wire crates that come with a divider. Buy a crate big enough to fit your dog when he or she is an adult. The divider can be moved to give your dog more or less room. As your puppy grows you can move the divider back for more room. Again, one common mistake is owners give too much room in their puppy’s crate. The crate isn’t supposed to be a play arena. It’s purpose is to teach your dog to hold its pee, poop and be a place of rest and relaxation. The crate is also here to protect your young dog from himself. Puppies don’t know not to chew electrical cords, eat your socks etc. So when you don’t have time to train your puppy, he or she should be in his crate. Our next post will be on exercise pens and how to use them with crates.