Bringing home a new Labrador puppy requires a great deal of preparation. New dog owners are always highly concerned with making sure that their new furry friend will have everything he or she needs for a happy life, but are also worried that the training process may not go perfectly. One of the most important steps for bringing home and training a new Labrador pup is selecting the right cage for the job, and there are a few ways to help you find it.
Types of Dog Crates
When most dog owners think of crates, the standard wire ones often come to mind first. In general, there are about three other types of crates other than wire; these include plastic, soft-sided, and the more stylish options such as wood. You will need to choose the type of dog crate based on reasons other than aesthetic appeal, if you have a dog that may be a bit more destructive. Labradors are typically quite intelligent and less likely to inflict too much damage on their surroundings; however, this doesn’t mean that they may not occasionally chew on or otherwise harm their crate, especially as puppies.
Wire dog crates are most common because of their many advantages, such as visibility and ease of cleaning. Wire crates also allow for better air flow than other models, and often can fold for travel as well. Some models of wire crates are adaptable in size, with panel inserts that allow for room to grow. Plastic crates are quite similar to wire crates, with added portability and lighter weight. These typically offer more shelter for the dogs, and both wire and plastic can be covered to provide warmth and to decrease visibility for dogs that need a more secure feeling. Each of these are difficult for escape, and are the two most popular types of indestructible cages. These are great for Labrador puppies, as long as you have the right size! Soft-sided and stylish crates often provide much less security, but can be perfectly fine depending on the pup.
Dog Crate Sizes
Choosing the size of the crate is just as important as choosing the type. Utilization of a dog crate is most effective when the size is just right for the dog, allowing crate training to take place efficiently. Size is actually the most important factor when choosing a crate. Many new dog owners will make the mistake of buying a crate much larger than needed, in the belief that they are doing their dog a favor. A crate that is too large will only serve to set back the process of crate training.
As a pup, crate training is often used to potty train the dog, along with making him or her feel secure. The problem with a too-large crate is that the puppy or dog would then have the additional space to use one end as a bedroom and the opposing side as the bathroom. A crate that is tailored to the size of the dog will keep him or her from soiling anywhere in the crate, based on instinct alone. In addition, an oversized crate has the disadvantage of taking away the dog’s feeling of safety and security.
In the long run, the perfect crate size for a dog is one that allows him or her enough room to sit or stand up straight, turn around easily, and lie down stretched out. For an adult Labrador, a 42” crate tends to be a great size to go by; however, it is best to modify this for your dog as needed. As a puppy, on the other hand, a 42” crate will be much too large.
To avoid purchasing a second cage for adulthood, many cages come with an option to reduce the interior size for the pup. A 42” cage can be easily scaled down with panel inserts, made of wire or wood, to adjust for the puppy’s size and move strategically as he or she grows. The option to build up the size as the pup grows allows for more flexibility. While the panels may not be fully indestructible, they are still much easier to replace in comparison to purchasing an entire new cage.