A DIY Dog crate (and dog cage) can be used in so many practical ways. Training your dog to use a crate as their special place can be a life saver if you need to move your dog.
A dog crate can also be very helpful in eliminating unwanted dog behavior.
You may be surprised to learn that humans and dogs do not see or associate a dog crate in the same way.
Do you see crates for dogs or a dog cage as a prison with bars for your dog? Is this how you think it will be like for your dog?
Well, did you know that your dog doesn’t actually see a dog crate the same way? A dog crate can actually be a very positive place for a dog as the sensation of being enclosed actually makes them feel secure.
So, How Does it Work?
We will show you what a DIY Dog crate is and how your dog sees it. We will also give you all the different reasons that you must consider dog crate training. You may not think there is even a need for a dog crate. But you will be genuinely surprised by how practical a dog crate or a dog cage can be. Read our Guide to Crates for Dogs if you want to know more.
What Is a DIY Dog Crate?
A dog crate is a cage that has at least one door that can be secured.
The terms dog crates and dog cages can be used interchangeably when referring to a dog crate. Colloquially speaking they are the same thing although the dictionary does define crate and cage as slightly different. Dog cages are a space surrounded by wire or mesh. A dog crate being a box made of wood, wire, plastic or metal. Both can be used to transport. For more information, read our full article on dog carriers.
This is a Dog Crate. It is a cage, it has a door, and it can be secured and locked.
This is NOT a Dog Crate. It is not a cage, it doesn’t have a door, and it is certainly not secure.
What Does Your Dog Think About A Dog Crate?
A dog crate or dog cages can satisfy a dog’s natural instincts as a den animal to have their own enclosed personal space. A dog crate can be a sanctuary for your dog where he can retreat to for a bit of a rest, to sleep or just a place to escape to when he needs a break. All of this is true, but it does come down to training your dog to know it.
In general, dogs won’t go to the toilet in their dog crate or dog cages however you do need to right-size your dog crate to make sure there is not too much empty space. Your dog crate should fit your dog. For a puppy who will grow into the space over time you need to include a divider in the crate. You can move it as your puppy grows and fills the space.
How To Choose The Right Size Dog Crate
Dimensions for dog crates are typically represented by length (L), height (H) & width (W).
Length: Measure the length of your dog from nose to tail then add another 4 inches for comfort.
Height: Measure your dog from the top of the head to the ground and make sure you add ears into the measurement if your dog normally has erect ears.
Extra Small Crates
Dog weight: Between 1 lb. to 10lbs.
Breed Examples: Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Yorkie, Papillon, Havanese plus others.
Dog Weight: Between 11 lbs. and 25 lbs.
Breed Examples: Jack Russell Terrier, Maltese, Pug, Boston Terrier plus others
Dog Weight: Between 26 lbs. and 40 lbs.
Breed Examples: French Bulldog, King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Miniature Schnauzer, Welshie plus others.
Dog Weight: Between 41 lbs. and 70 lbs.
Breeds: Bulldog, Labrador, Boxer, Australian Shepherd plus others.
Extra Large Crates
Dog Weight: Between 71 lbs. and 90 lbs.
Breed Examples: Rottweiler, Dalmation, Collie, Golden Retriever plus others.
Dog Weight: 90 lbs. and up
Breed Examples: Great Dane, Mastiff, St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhound plus others.
Why You (And Your Dog) Need A DIY Dog Crate
Familiarising and training your dog to use a dog crate will prepare your dog when things don’t go according to plan. Dog crate training is essential if only as a precaution to all the situations that may arise during your dog’s life.
A dog crate is a great training aid to teach your puppy, and dog, good behaviour including house training. Read our full article on How To Potty Train A Puppy. However, you must never use a dog crate to punish your dog for bad behaviour.
A dog crate should be used as a short term training aid, and not as a long term home for your dog. Do not lock your dog up for hours or days on end.
The dog crate can assist you to teach your dog how to overcome behavior issues.
Other Dog Crate Uses
Dog Alone At Home
A DIY Dog Crate is ideal if you cannot leave your dog free-roaming alone at home. Maybe your dog is chewing the furniture or rugs or shoes or clothes or trash? Or your dog may be bored resulting in investigating his environment. This may lead to accidental smashing of glass and destroying other belongings. This can be hazardous to your dog (and very upsetting to you!) as it could result in injury through cuts or from eating something dangerous like cushion fillings or chocolate.
Training your dog to accept and behave when left on his own is crucial. We recommend you act immediately if your dog is exhibiting any of this behavior when alone. Click through to Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer to find out how.
Dog Crate training can eliminate destructive behavior. Instead of your dog acting out when home alone he can retreat to his haven safe in the knowledge that you will be coming home. There is no need to for your dog to be anxious when he knows you are the pack leader. The pack leader is allowed to come and go and your dog will know this once your credentials are established. It is essential to train your dog to recognise you as the pack leader before your success in dog crate training is assured!
Multiple Dogs In One House
Where there is more than one dog in a household a dog crate or a dog cage may be needed. This could be due to the stage in life (a new puppy being introduced to an existing older dog) or their differing personalities. It may also be to provide consistency in training or to eliminate either dog’s unwanted behavior.
Dog Health – Illness, Recovery and Vet Visits
Many vets use crates for dogs so if your dog needs a longer vet or hospital visit he will need to be secured in these. Prior training in dog crates and dog cages will reduces one stress for your dog. There are plenty of other things going on around your dog but if he is used to being confined in a dog crate at least that is one less issue to deal with for you both.
Your vet may require your dog to be restricted in his movements for some injuries. Keeping your dog confined in a dog crate or dog cages without any prior dog crate training could be an impediment to your dog’s healing and long term health.
Travel – With And Without Your Dog
Dog boarding kennels will need to use dog cages or dog crate for the safety and security of all dogs in their care. So if you are planning to travel without your dog for any period of time you need to ensure your dog is comfortable with being confined. Dog crate training before such an event will help to reduce the stress for your dog.
If you are planning or need a hospital stay (where clearly your dog cannot accompany you) a dog crate can help reduce the stress of separation for your dog. It will provide your dog with one less change in his environment and a place to which he can retreat.
When travelling with your dog your accommodation choices may be limited. However it is more likely that a dog in his own dog crate will be accepted. There is some assurance that the dog is at least house trained and won’t cause any damage to the room.
If you ever need to fly your dog, a dog crate is required to be under the seat or in cargo. Read our full article on how to select and use a Dog Carrier for travel.
Driving longer distances in a vehicle requires your dog to be both comfortable with that travel option and also to be confined for the safety of everyone. Read our article on dog car seats to find out the ways that a dog car seat can help save your life.
Safety In An Emergency
In an emergency (e.g. fire, flood, other disaster) when everyone is running around in a panic where is your dog? It is safer to secure your dog in a dog cage or dog crate and remove him from the danger. You don’t know how your dog may react in this situation. Your dog could flee in fright or hinder emergency workers or run into the danger. Your dog will be comfortable and safe once placed in a dog crate but only after proper dog crate training.
A dog crate is perfect when you need to confine your dog for any reason.
- When you are introducing a new dog to your home so your dog needs time to adapt.
- There are new visitors or children in your home. Even when you have someone else stay in your home a dog crate can be perfect if your dog has been trained to use it. A dog crate will provide your dog a safe retreat when the noise and excitement of visitors gets too much.
- To teach your dog the boundaries of your house.
- You can safely and securely tuck your dog away at night when you are sleeping. You can sleep easy knowing that your dog is not roaming around and getting up to mischief.
- To stop your dog whining, whimpering or barking when left alone.
- To establish your dog’s place in the hierarchy of the household and reinforcing who the pack leader is.
So how do you choose the right dog crate or dog cage or dog carrier for you and your dog? The options are many. However they may not be appropriate for you or your dog’s needs and also how you will use the dog crate. Read our article Here’s a Quick Way to Get the Best Crates for Dogs and use our Guide to steer you through all the finer details of dog crates.
Training Your Dog To Use A Dog Crate (And Love It)
You can make a DIY Dog crate but its important that you and your dog know how to use it. A dog crate is a useful short term training aid but not a long term home for your dog. Do not lock your dog up for hours or days on end in a dog crate.
Most dog owners that have dog crates seem to love them and so do their dogs. It may take some time for your dog to get used to a dog crate so you will need to crate train your dog.
To begin you must make sure all your dog’s needs have been fulfilled including making sure your dog is;
- Not hungry
- Not thirsty
- Doesn’t need to go to the toilet
- Not bored
- Exercised fully
It is important that during dog crate training your dog should only be let out after he is silent for a period.
Take a look at Doggy Dan crate training his new puppy Moses, and you’ll see how much sense this makes.
Dog Crates and Dog Cages. Useful And Practical – And Essential?
A dog crate provides numerous benefits including giving your dog a safe and secure sanctuary all his own. Dog crate training is essential if only as a precaution to the many situations that may arise during your dog’s life. Familiarising your dog with a dog crate will prepare your dog when things don’t go according to plan.
So how do you choose the right dog crate or dog cage or dog carrier? The options seem never ending. However they may not be appropriate for you or your dog’s needs and also how you will use the dog crate. Read our article Here’s a Quick Way to Get the Best Crates for Dogs and use our Guide to steer you through all the finer details of dog crates.
Breed Examples: Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Yorkie, Papillon, Havanese plus others
Breeds: Jack Russell Terrier, Maltese, Pug, Boston Terrier plus others
Breed Examples: French Bulldog, King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Miniature Schnauzer, Welshie plus others
Breeds: Bulldog, Labrador, Boxer, Australian Shepherd plus others
Breeds: Rottweiler, Dalmation, Collie, Golden Retriever plus others
Breed Examples: Great Dane, Mastiff, St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhound plus others
Training is Always the Answer
We hope this article has helped you to decide which dog crate may be right for your and your dog. The first step will be to train your dog to become comfortable in his sanctuary. Do not contemplate just putting your dog into the dog crate and taking off as this really can do more harm than good. Click on the Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer link below to find out how.