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Author Topic: Buying a crate  (Read 8841 times)
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OhBichonPlease
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Bridget & Daisy


« on: January 02, 2014, 10:23:13 AM »

I have never crated a dog before [never needed to], but we are thinking about getting one for Daisy in case we need to go out together for an extended amount of time [to go to the movie theater!]. She has not been by herself for more than 15 minutes since we adopted her this summer. I don't think she would be bad, necessarily, but there is so much trouble she could still get in to [like yummy chocolate, used tissues and the guinea pigs!] so we are looking around at our options. We can only really afford something simple, so are looking at plain metal crates - not furniture pieces and not enclosed, plastic travel crates.
What sizes do you have for your fluffs? I would like her to be able to turn around completely as she very much likes digging in her bedding and getting comfy-cozy. Is there anything I should be looking for, as a novice crate-user/purchaser?
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2014, 10:40:54 AM »

I would like her to be able to turn around completely as she very much likes digging in her bedding and getting comfy-cozy. Is there anything I should be looking for, as a novice crate-user/purchaser?

This is how you determine a proper size crate; this is now what you like, it is what is required.  The dog must be able to stand, turn around etc. 

I don't use crates, like you I never have.  Things you can also consider: using baby gates to block her in one room or one area of a room.  Using a x-pen (you can often find these on craigslist for about $45).  Using a baby play pen (you can find on craigslist and / or freecycle).  You can also find crates on both sites. 

Training her to use the crate will be important.  You don't want her to consider it a punishment, so you will need to use it often, not just on those rare occasions when you both go out for extended periods.  She needs to feel it is her den, her safe place.  Her bed needs to fit in there.  If she is going to be in there more than one hour, you also need to consider a water source.    Creating that den feeling is often achieved by placing a blanket or comforter over the top and sides to make it enclosed.  This leads to concerns in hot weather, think about if you have a/c or not.  Others on here who do use crates will have more info on the training side.

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OhBichonPlease
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2014, 12:06:22 PM »

I have thought about a pen, but we just don't have much open floor space in our small apartment [someday I will have a couch again] and I could much prefer a baby gate, but I have two concerns with that -
1. she'll jump/clamber out... the lure of the empty bed is just too high... or move it around my pushing on it if she did worry
2. the only 'safe' place to put her out of the way is the bathroom and she hates going in there cause she thinks it means bath time [and baths are obviously some form of torture]. [I have been thinking about starting to give Daisy her favorite frozen treats in the bathtub as a way to get over that. She's just so eager to jump out of the tub by herself and I'm worried she'll hurt herself unless I'm perched over her.]

Perhaps I could put her crate in the kitchen, with some pen access to her water dish... Hmm..

I definitely don't want her to be stressed out by the crate and have read about accustoming a dog to being in them and being alone. She does have a bit of separation anxiety, so crate training might actually help a bit with that. [She whines when her people move out of view, even if someone is keeping her company - nothing too severe, but I can feel her little heart pounding like mad when my fiance exits the car and enters a store that she can't see in to]. She may end up liking it - she's a shelter dog, so I have no idea if she's been exposed to crates before.

I have tons of extra hanging water bottles [we have multiple generations of guinea pigs] and will see if she could figure that out. Otherwise, a bird feeding cup might work, right? They make some that are very easy to attach to wire cages are are very stable/untippable, if I recall correctly [I had multiple birds as a teenager]. I have also seen hanging metal cups for dog crates. Thanks for pointing that out - I would probably have forgotten and come home to Daisy sitting on a soggy pillow because she tipped her dish over or stepped in it.

Obviously we want to get her the biggest crate we can, but don't want it to be so large it's unsafe if we did ever have to use it as a transport carrier.
If we had a bigger place [our lease in this first 'starter' apartment is up this summer - and we live in the South, so we definitely have AC!] this would not really be an issue because there would probably be a safe place for her behind a closed door. I think Daisy would probably worry for a few minutes and then just sleep on the bed until we got back... but I don't want to risk her doing anything else!

I also don't want to have to keep the crate out and part of regular life if I don't need to... I'm home all the time and want Daisy to be comfortable-est around me, not in a little box in a quiet corner. Right now her 'den' is under the covers, in bed with me [until she gets too warm, then it's all the way back to the pillows at the head of the bed, poor girl]. She rarely uses her dog beds, though she knows they're there for her if she wanted to.
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darwinsmom (Chris)
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2014, 01:17:26 PM »

Darwin has 2 crates and really likes them. He feels safe in them and they've really been helpful overall. We have one that is smaller, that he sleeps in, and has plastic walls with ventilation holes. This is the 'cozy' crate. We also have one a little larger made of wire that he can easily see out and stand/ sit in.

I don't remember the size issue being hard- we went by the weight guidelines on the package, which I believe are standard??

There are lots of great threads on this site about getting a dog used to a crate the right way, so I'd definitely check those out, too.
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Lin
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2014, 02:48:13 PM »

Both mine use and love their crates however they have been trained as pups to use them. My intention was to only use them for the first year as I did with my other dogs but when we got Lia, Luigi was not giving up his crate to her so we had to buy another one. We bought the larger size with two doors, it is only about 6 inches longer, same width and both seem to like the larger side opening rather than walking in the narrow end and turning around.
This is the small one that measures 24"x18"

This one larger measures 30"x18"

As I said I had no intention of using crates but have found them to be very useful! Lia goes in and out of Luigi's crate many times per day to nap, only during the night do I lock them in.
Here is a shot of their crates, plain and simple yet comfortable.

I don't cover the sides but as you can see I cover the tops and pile their junk on top.  Laughing

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Thank you Alison!
OhBichonPlease
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2014, 07:32:24 PM »

It does seem that the crates are pretty size-standardized. Is the 24x18 one a tight fit? They're usually for dogs 11-25lbs, and Daisy is around 15lbs at the moment. I'm trying to shop online and it's hard without being able to shove her in one to see how she fits. I think she is a bit of a big Bichon... we haven't met any others yet, but I have seen some walking when we have been in the car, and they seem slightly smaller [maybe 11-13lbs to her 14-15?], more Maltese size, than my Daisy [though she can fit under cars and her shoulder is level with the curb around our block]. People we meet that have had Bichons think she is big too, but how bigger? I dont know... I might just have to spring for the 30x18. I have found 2-door models in both sizes, for really good price on eBay.
Thanks Lin, for pointing out that Lia and Luigi both prefer the 2nd door - that's not something I would have necessarily considered!
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Lin
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 10:51:40 PM »

As you can see from this picture, Luigi does not take up the whole crate and often like the other picture shows he curls up in the corner, but as I mentioned they both prefer the 18x30" size, and I think it has more to do with the wide side opening than the extra 6 inches.

Luigi is 15 plus pounds and Lia almost 13 pounds so technically as far as the size chart goes the smaller size would fit, but I like to put in comfy pillows, stuffed animals, or blankets. Since we are not using crates for toilet training I feel the more room the better.
As you can see Luigi lays anyway he wants.

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Thank you Alison!
OhBichonPlease
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2014, 12:51:44 AM »

That last picture is just adorable! And I love that little pillow - it reminds me of the ones you get on international flights - it seems perfect in the crate.
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OhBichonPlease
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2014, 03:24:22 PM »

A babygate worked! We had to barricade it in-between 3 closed doors and had to brace it with a large bag of aspen shavings and Daisy's tub full of food, but it didn't move. She barked a bit at first [mre consfused and questioning-sounding, not scared or angry], but we are pretty sure she was sleeping by the time we came back home. No jumping out, so pillows destroyed, no accidents!
I'm so relieved, though I missed her and worried about her so much while we were at the movies, I'm not likely to leave her again that long any time soon.
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Lin
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2014, 04:25:03 PM »

Good to hear that you found a solution!  thumbsup
Going out and leaving them every so often is necessary, IMO, as you never know when something may arise and you have to leave them alone.
My two are used to being left alone. I leave them on a regular basis but not for long periods of time. I know when I go out nothing will be destroyed, there will be no messes and when I return they will be happy to see me.  nodding
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Thank you Alison!
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2014, 03:27:38 AM »

Just wanted to add, that my Bichons were not crate trained until they were age 6 and 7 (something like that). They always slept with me and had the run of the house. Circumstances changed and I needed to crate train them. They didnt think much of it at first, but I did lots of positive reinforcement, was persistent, and now they are as comfortable as if they had always used them. It took about 2 weeks (from memory) until they were completely comfortable. They use their crates all the time, by choice. Good luck!
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MattiesMom (MaryEllen)
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2014, 10:25:29 AM »

I'm glad you found this idea.  I was going to post about this very thing, but didn't get around to it.  I do have suggestions (learned from experience) that may help you further.  It is all about dog proofing your "safe room".  Dog proof means that there are no electronics or active outlets within 3 feet of the floor.  You can use baby caps on the lower outlets.  It also means there is nothing to be eaten in there either or it is totally locked up.  Again you can use baby proofing.  I like the kitchen for my "safe room".  All of my outlets are up at my waist height or higher.  I use baby locking devices on the lower cabinets/cupboards.  The floor is tile.  I put their beds in there along with a couple of safe toys and I remove their collars (for safety as they can get caught on things and choke).  There is nothing they can jump up onto either (all chairs are pushed in under the table).  Just a thought in case you need another idea.  Good luck!
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OhBichonPlease
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2014, 04:17:42 PM »

I had heard about horror stories, so I definitely remembered to take her collar off before we left. I also always take her leash off in the car, just in case!
Daisy ended up getting a 4x4ft-ish area in between 3 doors in our tiny excuse for a hallway - no plugs, no cabinets. I let her have a washable pillow dog bed and some blankets. The only thing she could get in trouble with is the extra hay on the floor [we have guinea pigs and keep a bale in our utility closet]. I am still looking for a crate, but it's less urgent now that I know we can secure her if we need to.
My fiance seems quite taken with the soft, pop-up type of pens or kennel. I just worry that she could jump up or slide it around.
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Lil Toby
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2014, 07:39:40 PM »

My Toby had a crate and it was okay for a few month and for traveling. He doesn't even have one now, he loves his toys, dumps them all on my side of the bed, they fly when I get there.  He sleeps with us and the only thing we have to watch is paper, he likes to chew it and make a mess, doesn't eat it.  We had to all go out to the dr at the same time, it's the only time he has been alone. We could hear him barking to the end of the street, broke my heart but he'll get used to it.  For only a year old he is very well behaved, we think.  He has a pad in front of the bathroom door where he poops and will not pee in the house for anything, he'll cry his heart out if he has to pee.  We occasionally put on a belt. All works for us. 
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