The Best Dog Crates for Puppies: How to Start Crate Training Your Dog

Behaviour and Training

The short version:

Best Dog Crate: Different crates suit different dogs. Depending if you’re using it at home or or travel, big or small dogs, the design may vary. The best dog crate across categories are:

So you’ve decided to crate train your dog, great! There are a lot of advantages to creating a special safe space for your pet. But now you need to learn all about the best dog crates for puppies. Before you start, it’s essential to work out what exactly you want the crate for. Hint: check out our article on the subject. When deciding what the best dog crate is for you, consider purpose, material, size, and ease of transport.

First, Work Out What You Are Using the Dog Crate For?

  • Crate training: If you’re just doing regular, straight forward crate training at home, a metal crate is the best bet. They’re durable, well ventilated, and can easily be covered with a sheet or blanket to make them feel more like a den.
  • Car transport: If you mainly need a crate to house your dog while in the care, it’s better to go for something lighter. Plastic or fabric crates are often easier to fit into vehicles. 
  • Plane transport: Unless your dog is a platinum frequent flyer, it’s honestly not worth buying a special crate for the one flight they’ll probably ever catch. Instead, just hire one from the airline or a transport company such as Jet Pets. That way you know it will meet the requirements needed.

Best Dog Crate Material

As you can see, different types of crates are good for different purposes. But there are a few rules to keep in mind when deciding what’s the best dog crate for you.

  • Fabric crates: These are light, easy to transport, and often cheaper. But they’re not suitable for ongoing use or to leave your dog unattended. They are too easy to destroy or escape from. 
  • Plastic crates: plastic crates are great because they’re light, but more durable than fabric. Being a bit more sturdy, they’re often more pleasant for the dog as they can feel like a snug den. Like fabric, they’re good for transporting your pet around, but be careful carrying them by the handle. They’re tougher than fabric, but can easily break when holding your dog’s full weight. Unlike metal crates, they’re not adjustable, so this isn’t an great option if you want to use the same crate when they’re a puppy and grown. 
  • Metal crates: If your pet is using the crate daily, or you want it to last a lifetime, then metal is really the way to go. Metal crates are robust, durable, and often adjustable. But they’re also generally more expensive. Also, if you’re a design nut, they’re often not that attractive.
Best Dog Crate
JetPets Plastic Crates

Choosing the Right Sized Dog Crate

It is vital to choose the right sized dog crate. Too small and your pup will be cramped and not want to use the space. Too big and there will be enough room for them to wee in one end and sleep in the other, making them less motivated to toilet train. 

Your pooch needs to be able to stand up, turn around and lay down to be comfortable in a crate. A small dog can have the same size crate from puppy to adult. Large dogs will either need two different crates or one that is adjustable.

Extra Features to Look Out For

  • Collapsable: Crates are great, but they’re also often bulky and take up space. If you’re travelling, you’ll want something that folds down. But it’s nice to have the option for home too, in case you decide to put it in storage in the future.
  • Adjustable: Yes, we’ve mentioned this a few times, but it can make a big difference. As we juts pointed out, dogs need different sized crates at different periods of their life. It’s often more cost effective to get an adjustable crate than have to replace it in a year.
  • Replaceable parts: dog crates face a lot of wear and tear, so options like replaceable trays and the choice to switch between plastic and metal parts can come in handy.

Off the Leash’s Pick for the Best Dog Crates for Puppies

Best Dog Crate

Best value: At $32 Kmart’s folding metal pet crate is an affordable basic option for smaller pets. Unfortunately it only comes in one size and isn’t adjustable so wouldn’t be suiter for larger dogs. 

Buy it here

Best Dog Crate

Best design: A lot of the time a dog crate will live in a common area of the house, so it’s worth making sure it has some visual appeal. Omlet have done a great job giving the classic dog crate an aesthetic update, as well as adding the option to customise it for extra storage.

Buy it here

Best for bigger dogs: K9Pro has a range of crates that will fit even the most XXL dog. 

Buy it here

Best range: for everything else, check out Vebo Pet. They have crates for pretty much every purpose and pet you could think of.

Buy it here

Our 2022 Favourite

We have a new favourite here at the Off The Leash dog park. A clever Brisbane team have launched The Paws Room – a beautiful and seemingly far more sustainable small range of dog crates.

Paws Room Dog Crate

They’re flat packed and ship easily around the country, starting at $695 for a small and up to $1,275 for a large. They also have a pretty neat doggy couch to go with it. It’s easily our favourite dog crate design.

Buy it here

For more on training, check out:

What You Need to Know about Crate Training Your Dog

What You Need to Know about Bringing a Dog Home for the First Time

How To Tell Your Dog You Love Them

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Written by on for Off The Leash

Article last updated on October 3, 2022

Doug never had a dog growing up but as soon as he stopped moving around knew he needed a dog in his life. Enter Snoop the Beagle. Doug worked for 7 years designing and making dog treats and food for some of Australia's best brands. Now a Co-Founder of Scratch Pet Food.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s the process of getting a dog familiar with an enclosure (or “crate”) where they may sleep or spend time when travelling, anxious, or home alone (if it’s large enough). Rather than focusing on locking them up, it can actually be a comfort for animals who love routine and security.

Different crates suit different breeds, sizes, and situations. Such as:

Best range of every other kind of crate: Vebo Pet Supplies

It depends on the size of your dog and what they will use it for. Make sure to measure them before purchasing, and check to ensure they can stand up and turn around.

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