How big of a dog crate do I need?

April 13, 2012

Dogs, especially puppies are like children. If both can have their way, they would rather run and play freely all the time. However, because of immaturity both would get into trouble. What would a parent and a pet parent do? Confinement! The child will be confined in a child proofed room and the dog will be locked up in a crate. The child would not like being restrained but a parent has one trick and that is to provide the kid with toys. The pet will not like the crate too but it can be enticed to accept being confined in the crate. Once the puppy has accepted the crate it will be viewed as its own cozy place. We humans usually consider our bedroom as our very own space where we can have peace and privacy. Dogs are not very different from humans. Dogs would love to have their own space too.

Dogs have descended from the wolves. The wilderness is vast but wolves are known to look for small cozy places to be used as dens. The den can be a rock crevice, a hole in the ground, a small cave, a snug place under the overhanging leaves of a tree. All these chosen places have one thing in common – compact, snug and usually small but would allow the wolf to stand without docking the head and to move around without constantly bumping on the walls. Dogs have been domesticated for centuries but the habits learned from the ancestors would still kick in from time to time. Modern day dogs love to be with the family but like humans, dogs love to have some private moments. Dogs would love to have a secure and cozy place of their own too. A crate serves as a modern day dog’s den.

A dog owner aware of this fact would get a crate for the dog. By getting a crate for the pet the dog owner is not only supporting the ancient instinct of the dog. Crates are effective training tools. Housebreaking would be a lot easier and most importantly crates prevent destructive chewing especially for inside dogs that are left alone all day. There are many kinds of crates to choose from. Molded plastic and welded wires that come in fashionable designs and colors are the popular choices. A pet parent can choose any type of crate for the pet but the size is an important factor that must be considered. The size of the crate matters – a lot – if the pet is to benefit from the crate experience as if it is a den.

The rule of thumb in choosing the right crate for the size of the pet is to be sure that the dog can stand, can turn around and can lie down comfortably. Curled up is the most common sleeping position of a dog but these pets also stretch out when sleeping thus the crate must be long enough so that the dog can stretch out comfortably. The crate must not be too large either. Remember, dens are small and cozy thus the crate must be snug and cozy too. Apart from this fact, a too large crate will defeat the owner’s efforts to housebreak the pet. Dogs don’t soil their sleeping area. Dogs that are not restrained by a leash would defecate and urinate as far away as possible from the area where they sleep, eat and play. A small crate will teach the dog to control himself until it is time to “go”. With a too large crate, the dog can sleep on one side and do its business in the other side. Ideally a crate should be six inches higher and six inches longer than the dog.

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