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Hi everyone,

We will be getting our first puppy next month and I have not had a dog since I was a teenager, although we do dogsit regularly for friends. No one crate trained when I was a kid and the dogs we watch are all older and sleep on dog beds. So, I have been doing lots of reading and researching on crates, but I need some help deciding on what crate and where to put it! Obviously we want it in our bedroom at night for easy access and for nightime potty breaks, but what about during the day? We have a two story house, so ideally we should have something downstairs during the daytime, right? We want to get a large wire one with a divider as many suggest so it will grow with the puppy. BUT, that would be difficult to move up and down, i am guessing. Is it possible to have two crates? A plastic one for daytime and then a wire one for nighttime? If we get a plastic one, should we get a puppy size one and then go buy a bigger one when he gets older? Or should we just go with one plastic and move it around?

Also, do dogs use their crates after they are housebroken? It seems like a lot of people no longer use them after when their puppies are older.

Thanks in advance!!
 

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We have one of the wire crates with a divider, and when we first got Biscuit we moved it up and down stairs every day like you describe. It was a huge pain in the neck, but I don't know if it would be much worse than a plastic crate.

After about a week of that, we stopped crating Biscuit at night. Well, to be more specific -- my husband started refusing to move the crate up and down! We just closed the doors to our bedroom so she couldn't leave and meander about. She never had an accident in our bedroom. But she was 6 months old when we got her. I don't think it would be a bad idea to have 2 crates if you don't want to move it around. If you only get one, I definitely recommend the wire variety. Crating for potty training is much more effective when the crate is the right size, and you don't want to have to buy a new plastic crate every few weeks.

Many people still crate their dogs after they are housebroken for a lot of reasons, but a common one is because even once a dog knows not to go to the bathroom in the house, they still like to get into things and chew things they're not supposed to until they're much older. That can be really dangerous, both to the dog and to the house, so you shouldn't leave your dog alone with run of the house until you know they're trustworthy. You can also leave them in a "safe" room with a baby gate across the door.
 

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With Luke (our first) we bought a smaller crate than he would need full grown because we were spending a lot of money upfront when we got him. We were living in an apartment at the time so it was easy to move it from our bedroom at night to the living room during the day. Once Luke outgrew that it worked out that my MIL was done using they XL crate for her husky, so we got that from them (medium one ended up going to my sister for her new puppy). Luke used his crate til he was about a year old, and then he had free run of the house.

We got Zoey in February this year. She was 5 1/2 months old and we had to decide where we were going to put the XL crate as we are now in our house with our bedroom upstairs, and lugging that XL crate up and down the stairs was not even on the list of options! So we started with it downstairs in the living room and she actually did great sleeping through the night, for about 5 weeks. Then she learned that when she cried we would come downstairs and let her out to potty. So then we moved the crate upstairs for bed and put up a baby gate downstairs that split the house in half so that she had limited access and that worked pretty well. She stopped crying at night and now she only goes in her crate at night or when we leave. We actually just took the baby gate down this weekend because she's been doing so good with more access to the house. Our bedroom is pretty large so having that big crate up there isn't a problem. She will probably be using it at least while we are gone for a while because I can't quite trust her alone with the cats yet.

It sounds like maybe for your situation, depending on how your house is set up, you could get a crate to leave in your bedroom and then utilize either baby gates or an x-pen to crate a puppy proof area for downstairs. That way when you can't watch the puppy while you are downstairs you can put him/her in their "area" to do whatever you need to do. That eliminates having to move around the crate all the time and may be less expensive than buying 2 crates. You can also tether the puppy to you or something. We did this quite a bit with Zoey the first 2 weeks because she was so curious and interested in everything.
 

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If you can manage training your pup to two crates, I think it would be a good idea to have one upstairs and one downstairs. If it's small enough I guess you could just take it down with you in the morning.

I have a HUGE crate that I stick in the bedroom walk-in closet (the closet door stays open so it's basically just another corner of the room) but I've had a horrible time getting the dog to like the crate. I think the reason is that it's so out of the way. I think the crate training would have been easier if the crate were where the action is, in the living room. Unfortunately there's no space for it in there. But I digress.

As far as types of crates, I like the plastic ones that double as travel carriers. They have handles, the top part separates for easy cleaning and transport, and it can serve as a permanent bed or as a car crate. That way when you travel together, your dog carries a comfy, familiar home with him. They also provide some shelter from the elements (not that you should crate your dog outside). And the hard-plastic sides and bottom protect your floor from accidents. The crate itself can be taken apart and sprayed with a garden hose. Easy.

I have one of the wire kind too. It collapses for travel but I find it's not really practical to take anywhere. Too bulky and can't be used in the car. Also, my dog doesn't seem to relax as much when she can see everything. I have to put a carpet over the top of the wire one.

The one that I like is a PetPorter brand. I would suggest searching Craigslist for a crate. Some people practically give them away, with little use.
 

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Thanks so much everyone for you helpful ideas. Sounds like every pup is a bit different. Our breeder starts the crate training with a wire one, so we want one of those for sure, but I think I will bite the bullet and get a plastic one too for car use and for downstairs during the day. I may even be able to borrow a small one until I can move up to the large size one. We do have baby gates too, so that might be another solutions...
 

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Heres a thought for the plastic one - We just used a carboard box as a divider for the plastic crate until he grew into it. But then, he wasn't very distructive either. when it started to get ratty I took it out and replaced it (the box) to avoid any issues.
 
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