"Should we get a metal crate or a plastic one?
If people ask before they buy a crate, I suggest getting the molded-plastic, travel-style item rather than the metal cage-type, for several reasons:
1 - Plastic crates come in a larger variety of sizes;
2 - They're much less expensive (so buying two to accommodate your growing pup isn't an economic hardship);
3 - They're easier to take apart and clean.
4 - They're much lighter, so they're easier to move around the house, as needed;
5 - They fit more easily into cars and other vehicles, enabling you to keep your dog safe when traveling;
6 - They're much more denlike - smaller, darker, cozier - factors which make puppies more comfortable when inside.
But if you already have a metal crate, do what you can to make sure it's the proper size for your puppy. To make it more cozy, you can drape an old blanket or large towel over the top and sides, leaving some open space near the floor to allow for air circulation.
What should I use a crate for?
This is where your puppy will sleep, nap, chew and eat. Used properly, a crate is a combination crib and playpen - items without which parents would never survive the infancy and toddler-hood of their human kids!
The crate is where your puppy can feel safe and secure - and where you know he can't get into trouble during those times when you can't supervise him.
Feed your pup his meals in his crate. Since most dogs love eating, this will help your pup build a positive association with his crate from the day you bring him home. Just slide the dish to the rear of the crate, so your pup has to go in to chow down. You don't have to close the door. Don't leave uneaten food. Remove the dish after a maximum of 20 minutes. If he doesn't eat it all, he'll be hungry for the next meal.
How can I not feel guilty about putting my puppy in a crate?
By remembering that puppies don't mind being in crates, as long as you make sure they have ample opportunity to get out, go to the bathroom, and get needed exercise through walks and playtime with you. When it's time to put your pup in his "den," give him lots of praise and a little tid-bit-treat. If you have a positive attitude toward his crate, so will your dog.
How long can I keep my puppy in a crate?
For young pups, about one hour per month of age, (plus one hour). So a 3-month old puppy should be able to go up to 4 hours in a crate - assuming, of course, that he's had a chance to go potty before you put him in, and that there's no water or food in the crate with him. Obviously, if he's eating and drinking while in his crate, what goes in must come out."
For more information, read Puppy Kisses are Good for the Soul, by Howard Weinstein & Mail Order Annie