DOG / training & behavior
Crates, Carriers, Gates and Kennels: What’s Best for My Dog?
Your dog is your best friend, but sometimes you both need some alone time. A guide to your options.
Your dog is your best friend, but sometimes you both need some alone time. These containment choices can help keep your dog corralled and comfortable:
A sturdy carrier is a handy way to transport your dog and it doubles as a cozy hideout at home. When choosing a carrier, be sure it’s just big enough for your dog to stand up, lie down and turn around in.
Constructed of lightweight but sturdy plastic, a hard-sided carrier makes a perfect portable den where your pet can feel safe. Line the carrier with a washable foam pad and maybe a blanket, for extra security and softness. Hard-sided crates are also ideal to contain your dog when you’re traveling by car.
Consider a hard-sided carrier if you are:
- Going on a road trip with your dog in a car
- Transporting your dog in an airline cargo hold
Usually made of fabric, a soft carrier is a good option for toting a small dog across relatively short distances. It’s also the carrier of choice if you’re flying with your dog in the main cabin of an airplane.
Consider a soft-sided carrier if you are:
- Flying with your dog in the main cabin of an airplane
- just out and about and want to carry your small dog with you
This option tends to be too big and not sturdy enough for transportation. But a wire crate is an affordable and easy way to keep a dog out of mischief if you have to leave your pet home alone for a little while. Make sure there’s enough room in the crate for your dog to move around comfortably. A pad or bed on the floor will keep your pet happy.
Consider a wire crate if you:
- need to be away from your dog for a few hours
- are crate training your dog
Kennels and pens
Think of this as a playpen for dogs. A sturdy metal or chain-link kennel or a metal, plastic or nylon pen is roomier than a wire crate (though not always as portable), which allows dogs to run around a little. They’re usually used outdoors.
Consider a pen if you:
- Need a temporary area to contain your dog that’s more portable than a crate
- Want to add additional lounging space to his crate or sleeping spot
- Want to include your dog in outdoor activities — but don’t want to give him the run of the yard
- Need to contain more than one dog
- Need to give your dog a safe environment to dry off after a bath or recovery from an injury
This is the canine version of a baby gate. These easy-setup temporary barriers can go up in a doorway or hallway, keeping your dog out of off-limits areas in your house.
Consider a pressure-mounted gate if you:
- Want a simple solution that doesn’t require tools or hardware to set up
- Plan to move the gate from room to room
- Want to block off angled openings
- Have a dog who tends to squeeze through tight spaces
Consider a hardware-mounted gate if you:
- Have a dog who tends to knock things over
- Don’t mind using hardware and tools to secure the gate to a solid door frame
- Don’t plan to move the gate often
- Need a gate at the top of a staircase
Consider a free-standing gate if you:
- Have a small to mid-sized dog
- Have a dog who won’t jump over or knock down obstacle
- Need a gate that’s easily portable
- Need your gate to span a wide entrance or have walls won’t support a pressure- or hardware-mounted gate
- Aren’t using your gate to block off a staircase