After you figure out what type of dog (or pup) you are looking for (willing to commit to!) and do some research, the next logical step is to get prepared. With all the many types, styles and brands of collars, crates, beds and brushes, what do you really need? What is the best to buy? Instead of letting some pet shop sales person up-sell you to the latest fad, let us take a minute or three and reason out some things, logically.
So what makes the best dog crate? What is the best bed? Since your pup’s comfort is important, it is imperative to put some thought into this.
Assuming you did some research, you should agree that all pups and dogs need a crate. Both puppies and dogs need their place. For some reason, most likely money, the wire cage-like crates seem to be most popular. However, ask yourself this: Do you want something that is safe, good for your pup, and will last a long time?
Wire cages that merely have bars all around are not cozy. Dogs like cozy. They like cubbyhole types of places to relax, feel safe. Cages do not afford this appeal, as they are fully open. A crate, on the other hand, does have peepholes along the sides and the front gate, but are entirely closed in around the top, sides and back. A pup can go inside and feel like they’re in a mini-cave, all their own. As long as he can stand up and turn around comfortably, the crate is a good fit. Of course, you may want to gauge how large your pup will be when full grown to avoid having this expense in the future.
Crates are the most durable for the money. Mia has had her crate for the 5 1/2 years we have been together. Hanani was shipped up to me from the Florida breeder in the crate I have for her. That is another thing to think about–versatility. If you ever have to fly with your dog, a metal cage will not be sufficient. Crates, like described and pictured here, are the standard for any type of shipping or public travel. Even for travel in your personal vehicle, crates are the safer, more comfortable way to go.
The most important difference with crates is that dogs can feel safe. It is quiet, soothing, relaxing to sneak inside their little cubbyhole–as opposed to being contained in the open, with metal bars that rattle at every turn. Being a dog can be stressful. If they have their cubbyhole to curl up in for a bit occasionally, you will have a better dog.
Crates are usually sized by the weight of your dog. If you have a pup, figure how much she may weigh when she is full grown. She will grow into the crate fast!
Here is Mia, full grown, modeling proper crate size! Over 5 years ago I paid around $190 for this crate. Look at how it has stayed nice! That works out, so far, to roughly $35 per year. Think about that when you are ready to purchase!
Deciding what type of bedding depends a lot on the age of your pup and her personality.
If your new friend is very young, still learning to do her business outside, you may just want to use old towels that can be washed easily. (See post on safe laundry products.) If she seems to have the potty training down enough for a big girl bed, consider closely her behavior and habits before running out to buy the “best”, most comfy mattress!
Mia has always made things easy for me. She has been such a blessing! The only thing she ever tore up was a cute pillow in the shape of a puppy way back when she was teething. Too, from the time I brought her home she never had an accident inside–in her crate or the house! (More on potty training later.) No matter what I put in her crate nowadays, remained intact. She does like to nest, though! So we may get a snag or scratch here and there, but she does not chew things to smithereens.
Now, Hanani… That’s another story! She is a blessing, but if you watched the video from Leerburg, So you think you want a high drive puppy?, in the post “What do you Want?“, you can see for yourself firsthand the differences in personalities. Everything… Yes! Every cotton-pickin’ thing we put in Hanani’s crate either immediately or eventually gets shredded! I thought, silly me, “Buy the more durable beds! She won’t tear that up!” Boy, was I wrong! A couple hundred dollars later, I finally bought those cheap, cute fleece blankets for a couple bucks each and threw a few in her crate. The next morning I was amazed that they were still intact!
Other beds we have around the house are for our dogs’ comfort, and to show them their “place” (more on that later, too). Before Jamie and I married, I used to let Mia in my bed, or we’d cuddle on the couch to watch our favorite shows. To my dismay, no amount of cleaning–her and the couch!–could make my couch look nice again. The dog’s natural oils, tiny hairs, it all wears the fabric eventually. And my husband is adamant about dogs not being on the couch or bed (a trade-off I had to make). So for Mia and Hanani to have their own “beds”, aside from their crates, gave them a place to lounge with us, while enforcing “their place” in our home and pack. These beds are essentially oversized pillows, reinforced for dogs of all sizes. We have three–two in the living room, one in our bedroom. Though it took a while to train Hanani to not fight with these pillows, they have been an asset and our dogs love ’em!
Free Training Tip Keys
Key #1: When choosing a cage or crate, go crate so your pup feels safe, has a place to be soothed and relax.
Key #2: Before you spend hundreds of dollars (like I did!) on bedding, get to know your pooch!
Key #3: Crates are always better–for the pup and your budget!