Crate training | dog spending time alone

What kind of crate is best for my dog?

There are several types of crates widely accessible. The one which suits your needs best depends on your house and your puppy's behavior.

Metal crate

The most reliable one as it's almost impossible to chew through it. Some dogs can break them, though. Metal crates come in a variety of sizes and the material they are made of differs as well. We recommend a metal crate for those puppies who tend to chew their crate and for dogs with destructive behavior. A metal crate is a good choice for the very first crate, as staying inside a puppy learns that it's no use in trying to chew it. Later it's possible to use a fabric crate as it's lighter to carry around.

Metal crates are usually foldable, but they are quite noisy if placed in the back of a car. We recommend using a metal crate at home.

The correct size of a metal crate depends on your dog. She should be able to sit, stand, turn around, lie down and sleep comfortably. If the crate is too small, your dog will end up being uncomfortable there. If the crate is too big, some dogs tend to urinate or defecate in one corner and sleep in another.

Fabric crate

Fabric crates are lightweight and easy to carry around. They are foldable and look friendlier than the metal crates. However, we don't recommend using them with very young puppies as they tend to chew through a crate like this. If a puppy grows up knowing it's possible to chew her crate's wall, then it will be problematic to teach her not to do so. Also, some dogs tend to destroy fabric crates while scratching them with their paws and nails.

Fabric crates are great for dogs who are older than 6 months of age as they tend to chew less. These crates are good for traveling and dogs' sports, as it's relatively easy to carry them around. 

Their size should be the same as the metal crate – big enough for your dog to sleep comfortably.

Plastic crate

Primary used for air travel; plastic crates are popular due to their versatility. They can be used as a crate at home or as a travel carrier. They are easy to clean and usually lighter than metal crates.

Their only problem is that these crates are not foldable, thus it's not so convenient to carry them around when needed. Also, those made for bigger dogs tend to be quite heavy. We recommend using a plastic crate with smaller dogs mainly for this reason.

The size of the plastic crate should be big enough for your dog to sleep comfortably. If used only for travel, it can be relatively smaller.

Heavy-duty metal crate for car

If you travel a lot, consider using a metal crate in your car. Although this type of crate is pricey, it serves its purpose and is safe during a car accident. We recommend using this type of crate only in your car as they are heavy and not convenient to carry around.

The size of this type of crate should be smaller than the one you use at home. Your dog should be able to sit and lie down there, but in general, it's safer if the travel crate is smaller. This way, if an accident happens, your dog will be less affected as she would move less inside a crate.

Other options

There are other types of crates also – wooden, integrated with tables and sofas, etc. However, we recommend starting with a more traditional crate at the beginning, and later you will decide which option is the best for you and your dog.

Which and when to use?

We recommend starting with a smaller metal crate which would be comfortable for your puppy from her first day in your home until she reaches 6 or 7 months of age. Later, if needed, you can switch to a fabric crate. If you travel a lot, a heavy-duty metal crate is advisable. If it's too big for your car, using a special travel harness might be an option.

Some dogs behave well with their first fabric crate and don't end up destroying them. So, it depends on your pup – observe her behavior and decide, which option is the best. We would opt for the metal one.

To make crate training easier for new dog parents, we’ve made a 28-Day training program 'Crate Time, Pup’ that you can follow at home. It guides you step-by-step throughout the process so even a beginner dog parent could successfully complete it. Become a member at Wiglo to get instant access to ‘Crate Time, Pup’ training program, as well as other 10+ programs (over 200 daily lessons in total) for improving dog behavior one day at a time.