Preventive Vet's certified dog trainer and behavior consultant, Cathy Madson, shares her top picks for crates, pens, crate accessories, and supplies to help you through the puppy crate training process.
Safety Note: As with all chews and toys, supervise your dog to ensure their safety. Throw away chews before they are small enough to swallow. Toys should be sized appropriately for your dog so they cannot be choked on or swallowed, and throw away toys when they become damaged.
There are many crate styles to choose from, depending on the available space and style of your home.
While on the pricier side, this crate has all the bells and whistles a dog trainer could ask for. Being able to fold up one side allows for a more spacious and open option, perfect for when you combine the crate with a puppy playpen. And the top open option makes giving treats, meals, or toys super easy. Plus, this crate folds down and has wheels for easy transport.
This pop-up and portable playpen is perfect for when your puppy needs more room to move while you're traveling or enjoying outdoor time prior to their vaccinations being complete. It's also a great option for moving room-to-room in your home but still need a puppy-proofed area or during potty training.
Soft and cozy, this crate bed is a nice choice for puppies who like to nestle inside their crate. Plus, it's machine washable! Check regularly for any wear and tear in case your pup decides it also makes a good chew toy.
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If you'd like a soft blanket for your dog but are worried about their crate getting too warm for comfort, this one is for you. It feels like a poofy down blanket but wicks away body heat to keep your dog cool. I tried it myself during a heatwave and was impressed with how it stayed cool.
This bowl is easy to install into a wire-sided crate and can be used for food or water. It can take some finagling to securely push it in or to remove for refills, and some puppies like to play with the water in the bowl rather than drink it. Make sure it's placed at the correct height for your dog, not too low that they start to play in it, but not too high that they can't drink comfortably.
This is what I use in my dogs' crates, as it's no-mess, easy on and off for refills, and they took to it right away. Most dogs just need a quick demonstration of how to lick to get water, but you can also smear a small bit of peanut butter to help them. Check out the video below of Preventive Vet pup, Finnegan, using his Choco Nose that's attached to his Mid West crate.
I much prefer real-grass indoor potty areas to paper, cloth, or artificial grass options. They can help you transition to outdoor-only potty training much easier, are less likely to be considered bedding or something to chew on by your puppy, and have you ever tried cleaning an artificial grass potty spot? It's disgusting and usually ends with just throwing away the artificial grass portion.
But these real grass spots are meant to be tossed when all used up! Ideal for apartment-dwellers and for puppy owners without puppy-safe grass areas for potty breaks. Choose from a variety of sizes and how frequently you'd like a new Fresh Patch automatically delivered when setting up your subscription.
Consider the below products to create a safe and soothing crate or pen environment. Using food-stuffed chew toys and puzzles can help create positive associations with the crate.
This is an absolute MUST for new puppies. Transitioning from sleeping with littermates to sleeping alone is tough for a young puppy, and the Snuggle Puppy mimics sleeping with another dog. Use the heartbeat insert and/or warming pack to provide extra comfort.
When I picked up my puppy from his breeder, I brought along the Snuggle Puppy and let his mother and littermates roll all over it to transfer their scent to it.
I don't know what I'd do without my SNOOZ machine every night. Not only do I need some white noise to sleep soundly, but this was incredibly useful with my puppy to mask outdoor noises when we lived on a busy city block. Now it masks the outdoor sounds in a very quiet (sometimes too quiet) suburban neighborhood that would otherwise cause my dogs to alert bark.
If your dog must wear a collar in their crate or pen, please use a breakaway dog collar to lessen the risk of strangulation if the collar gets caught.
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