When used correctly, a dog crate for your puppy or dog is a very useful aid and will become a safe sanctuary for your dog. Frequently, a crate-trained dog will return to the crate as a place of refuge, for example, when you have visitors or during a thunderstorm. When your dog considers the crate as a place of safety that is also helpful to settle them when travelling. A Portable dog crate is an essential item if you plan on travelling with your dog.
Different types of Portable Dog Crate
We are looking predominantly at the metal weld mesh dog crates here as they are the best to get a dog used to for both home and travel. However, it is important to check with airlines if there are specific crate requirements for travelling by plane. Hard plastic cased portable dog crates might be needed for air travel. If you are travelling on a train or the dog is going on a flight with you as hand luggage then a softer material option may suffice.
What to Look for in a Portable Dog Crate
When looking for a dog crate, there are a few things to consider, such as:
- The size of the mesh
- The quality of the welds on the mesh
- Ease of assembly and disassembly
- Look out for sharp edges and weaknesses
- Ease of opening and shutting
- Check if there is a chance that a dog could accidentally open the door
When buying the crate for a puppy, think about the size that the pup is likely to grow to. Your dog will need room to turn around, stretch out and stretch up too. Next on the list is how to train your puppy or dog to go in the crate and enjoy it. If your dog is familiar with the crate before travelling and comfortable in it then this will limit your dogs stress during travel.
Crate Training your Puppy
One way that the crate can help is with training a puppy. With a new puppy, you are teaching them about communication, and they are learning the rules. It’s important with a young puppy to control their environment, and a couple of ways are to literally tie them to you on a lead and to have a safe room or part of a room that they can spend time in. Utilising a crate is another way that works in tandem with these methods and can go on to give your adult dog a ‘room’ of their own. By making the crate a happy place for them, it will serve them well as a safe haven for years to come.
It is important for your dog to be happy using the crate; this starts with the initial training:
- Make it den-like. Put a throw or cover over the crate to make it darker and cosy.
- Make the crate enjoyable, put a dog bed or blanket inside.
- Let them look at the crate, sniff it, walk around it, feed them treats when they react positively.
- Play with them near the crate, a favourite toy is excellent for this and throw the toy near the crate and then into the crate, so they go in to retrieve the toy and come out again, do this a few times, make it fun.
- You can also use favourite tasty treats thrown into the crate.
Getting your Dog Used to his Crate for the First Time
When first shutting the door of the crate, only do so after exercising the dog, or the puppy is all played out.
When first closing the door, make sure you have time to sit and chill out with them, keep feeding them treats, to begin with, and then maybe give them a chew toy. Keep it positive and the time short.
Open the door and repeat a couple more times. Gradually, increasing the time to an hour for older dogs and half an hour for young puppies.
It can often take a few days for the dog to be completely happy to have the door shut. So, taking the time here is crucial to getting it right for the long term.
After exercise, continue to use toys or treats to encourage the dog to be happy going in and out of the crate. Giving them some tasty treats repeat steps 7 and 8 as often as is needed. Make it the place your dog have their chew toy or bone.
Gradually increase the time that the door is closed and leave them in there with a tasty chew or bone.
Minimise the time your dog spends shut in the crate, 15 minutes at first, and up to an hour and to sleep in overnight are the reasonable times. If you plan to crate your dog whilst you go to work, then keep the time to four hours or less and if you cannot get back, arrange for a dog walker to come and take them out.
The crate is a great safe way to transport your dog in your car because they know it is their den, often a crate is the easiest and safest way to transport your dog. It prevents nose marks all over the glass of your car too!
Often a dog will choose to go and lie down in the crate, so always leave the door open when they are not shut in there.
Not all crates are born equal, so don’t just buy the cheapest option. There are a couple of tried and tested brands of portable multi-purpose collapsible dog crate. These are Easipet Metal Dog Cages and Midwest Contour Dog Crates, they both come in a variety of sizes to suit a variety of dogs and at least two doors.
Metal Mesh Dog Crates
Easipet Portable Dog Crates
Easipet is a long-established brand, and their crates are robust and sturdy, one drawback is that they come with a metal base tray.
The Midwest Portable Dog Crate
The Midwest crates benefit from a robust plastic tray that slides out for easy cleaning. The Midwest crate has their unique latch system for added security, two doors and a useful divider that can be used to make the area smaller when the puppy is small or to assist with toilet training.
Plastic Portable Dog Crates
Plastic portable dog crates are good for travelling by train and plane. If your dog is used to his metal crate at home then it’s a good idea to move his usual bed into the new travel crate so he will feel comfortable.
Material Portable Dog Crates
Material dog crates or carry cases are suitable for travel by car and train. They are also ok for flights (provided that they are approved by the airline) if you are flying with your dog in the cabin with you.
Some of the cheaper crates have sharp points, weak doors and bendy noisy metal bases that can bend, warp and scratch or flimsily plastic trays that don’t last.
- A 24” or 30” crate should be suitable for your Patterdale Terrier.
- Some dogs benefit from being fed in the crate to increase positive association.
- There are some excellent stainless steel water bowls available that hook onto the sides of the crate.
- Remember, don’t leave a dog unattended in a crate for long periods.
If you are flying with your dog, check with the airline or loading company their preferred travel crate. Many will not accept domestic or car transport crates. Most will accept Sky Kennel or individual wooden crates with wood or metal doors, plastic grilles or doors are unacceptable.
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