Many times over the years as a breeder or owner of dogs, if I were to mention to the average pet dog owner, I put my dog in a crate, you would think that I just sentenced them to a prison. Anything from “That’s mean and cruel,” to “How could you do that to the poor thing?” would be some of the feedback that I would hear. Truth be told as any breeder can attest to, having a dog crate is a “must.” We would tell you, it’s the best house training tool for a puppy or youngster, a good place to feed a dog when you’re feeding more than one at a time, you can use it to ship a dog, it’s a great place for them to sleep in the house, and a wonderful “escape den” for the dog when he just wants to “chill!” As long as the crate isn’t used as a place of punishment or kept in it for hours upon hours, then it’s one of the most important things that you should have as a dog owner. It’s something that I recommend to all of my puppy buyers.
Now just what kind of crate is available for the dog owner? You can buy a dog crate that’s either all wire or one that is constructed of polypropylene (looks like plastic). I personally prefer the plastic type. There’s something about the wire crates that bother me. It looks like a foot or puppy’s leg could get caught in between the wires. Although, this type of crate is probably great for the best air circulation.
I like the plastic type of crates because they seem to be constructed to last a life time. I have two crates that are made by Sky Kennel. They are the 500 size which measures 40” long, 27” wide and 30” high. This is a good size for a German Shepherd Dog. He has plenty of room to lie down in. Now mind you I only own bitches, so for the adult male, you might want to look into getting a larger crate to accommodate his size. Of these two Sky Kennels that I own, one dates back when I bought it in the 80’s and the other one is only a few years old. They’re both the same size, and both are sturdy. The only real difference that I see is with the door and the bolts holding the crate together. The door lock on the newer one has a handle that turns and then bolts the door locked. The older one has the bolts sliding into slots to hold the door locked. The screws that hold the crate together is probably the thing that I like the least about the newer model. The old model has the old fashioned screw and bolts. The newer model has the bolts, but instead of the metal screws, it has plastic screws. I don’t find that they would be as durable as the old ones. They are easier to remove, but I question if they are as secure.
Another favorite crate that I also used to own is the Kennel Aire crate. They too are made very similar to the Sky Kennels. They were made to last a life time as well. The plastic crates are easy to clean. If need be, you can take them apart to clean them, but most of the time this isn’t necessary.
The plastic crates have plenty of ventilation because of the wires at the top sides and back of the crate as well as the wire doors. Many of the crates come with a detachable bowl for water. You can buy rugs or mats to put on the floor of the crate for the dogs comfort. I have found that this wasn’t always the best thing to do with puppies as they love to chew everything. In fact, I have an adult dog that still does the same thing, so no rugs for her. Sometimes the dog just likes to lie on the bare floor of the crate because it’s cooler for them to do so.
Because dogs are pack animals, their natural instinct is to look for a “den to nest.” Don’t be surprised if once you start to crate train your dog that you find him periodically going into the crate on his own just to “get away from it all!’ I always leave the crate door open during the day in case one of them wants to lay in it.
There are many different places on the internet as well in some pet stores to buy your dog a crate. Prices (depending on size) can range from $150 to over $200. Check around for the best prices. This is a small price to pay because these crates last practically forever!
I’m going to base my rating on the plastic crates as I don’t use the all wire crates.
My rating: durability: (4), comfort for the dog: (4), easy to clean: (4), value: (4)