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I apologize in advance for the long-post. But I have been doing tons of research on crates and crate training, and I wanted to get some first-hand Doberman crating experiences and opinions from you guys.

Some background info on my situation:
My hubby and I are getting our first Dobe pup at the beginning of May. We both work full-time, but our schedules only overlap about 3-4 hours max when no one is home, and even then, my hubby works close to home so he can come home after an hour or two to let the puppy out while we're housetraining.

We also have two 4 year old cats that are like our kids (we don't have any children). We need to crate-train the puppy so he can be confined when we're not home (to avoid accidents in the house, getting into trouble, or chasing the cats). Of course once he's house-trained and trustworthy around the cats when he's older, we probably wouldn't have to continue to keep him crated when we're not home, unless he's going to get into mischief.

We will put the crate in our living room/computer room where we spend most of our time. But at night, we will have to move the crate into our bedroom with us, so the pup doesn't feel abandoned in the other end of the house, where his crate will be. Once he gets used to being alone though, he should be fine in his crate alone overnight. And once he's trustworthy around the cats and is housebroken, he won't need to be in the crate overnight anyway.

My goal is to make the crate a fun place to go that the dog doesn't mind staying in, and isn't going to be destructive and try to get out. Of course I know that the dog will need plenty of exercise to use up excess energy before leaving him in the crate for any amount of time, and that's not a problem.

We're going to start the crate training the day we bring him home so I want to have everything bought and ready to go when he comes home. But I've read a lot of conflicting information on what type of crate to buy to have the most success (wire vs. plastic).

Some people say that the plastic crates (Vari-Kennel) are more den-like so the dogs seem to like those better. But getting a plastic crate means I would have to buy several different sizes to accomodate him as he grows (since you can't partition them off), because too big of a crate can create problems with housetraining since he could eliminate in one end and sleep in another. We expecting this dog to be about 90 lbs. full-grown so we need quite a large crate in the end, but I'm estimating we'd need to buy at least 3 different sizes to accomodate him as he grows. One the positive side, a plastic crate will be easier to move into the bedroom at night.

The other option is the wire crate. The one I would like to buy is called the Life Stages folding crate. This would be more cost-effective since it comes with a divider to partition off a section of the crate while he's a small puppy, and move the divider as he grows and gets bigger. I would prefer to buy this crate due to cost, but I wanted to see if you guys thought that Dobes do well in these wire crates as opposed to the plastic ones. My main concern is making him happy to be in his crate. Maybe I could put a blanket over the wire one to create a darker, more den-like atmosphere in it. But the wire crate would be more difficult to move into our bedroom at night.

Do you guys have a preference in the types of crates you use? Do you recommend one more than another?

Sorry about the long post, but this is the biggest concern I've been having lately and I could really use some guidence from experience Doberman owners who have crate-training experience. Thanks so much!!
 

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i don't like to leave dogs alone in wire crates because of the possibility of their getting a toe or foot caught in the mesh, i've seen it happen, that's why i use varikennels.
 

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It really depends on the person and pup. My dogs like their Vari-Kennels. They never took to wire crates. They always found the plastic to be more comforting and den-like. But, many dogs accept wire and plastic the same.

Like you know, the key is making it inviting and enjoyable for them. Safe toys can help like kongs, ect to keep them busy. Usually, at the beginning most dogs put up a fight to be in a crate. You have to stick with it and not give in. I still have mine set up in their room for them. They love to go in their and relax from everything. It is their own personal space.

A word of caution though about the blanket idea. Some dogs do eat and shred things around their crates. I have one that I can not have near curtains, ect. He will pull everything into his kennel and shred it. I tried the blanket covering once and he had half of it pulled in and ate when he was a puppy. Not what you want to come home to.
 

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I agree with whitecat...When I worked for a Vet some years ago, we had a shepard with separation anxiety that tried to escape from the wire cage and got stuck half in half out and had severe internal damage and had to be put down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
DreamDoby said:
It really depends on the person and pup. My dogs like their Vari-Kennels. They never took to wire crates. They always found the plastic to be more comforting and den-like. But, many dogs accept wire and plastic the same.
What size Vari-Kennel do you use for your full-grown dogs? Different sites recommend different sizes for Dobermans, so I'm not sure which size to get. Did you buy different sizes as they grew up?

DreamDoby said:
A word of caution though about the blanket idea. Some dogs do eat and shred things around their crates. I have one that I can not have near curtains, ect. He will pull everything into his kennel and shred it. I tried the blanket covering once and he had half of it pulled in and ate when he was a puppy. Not what you want to come home to.
Yeah, I also thought of that too. It would be easy to shred a blanket through the wire...

I'm so torn! Both types have pros and cons and it's hard to know in advance which one he'll prefer...
 

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Burns said:
What size Vari-Kennel do you use for your full-grown dogs? Different sites recommend different sizes for Dobermans, so I'm not sure which size to get. Did you buy different sizes as they grew up?
I have my male in the extra large. He can stand up and lay out comfortably. I had one smaller size that I used when he was smaller. Big enough that he had room to grow for training. Then I upgraded to this one. Once they get crate training and the no potty in the crate part, their isn't exactly a reason for the divider IMO. Then it is there for their safety and total housebreaking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
DreamDoby said:
I have my male in the extra large. He can stand up and lay out comfortably. I had one smaller size that I used when he was smaller. Big enough that he had room to grow for training.
Thanks, that helps a lot. Do you happen to remember which size you used when he was smaller? Sorry to keep bugging you!
 

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Burns said:
Thanks, that helps a lot. Do you happen to remember which size you used when he was smaller? Sorry to keep bugging you!
It is no problem. I *think* it might have been the medium. That or it was the intermediate. But, I am leaning towards the medium. I would have to look at them in person to remember completely. My memory isn't that perfect.
 

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We went with the wire crate, Its actually the one you mentioned. Never had any problems with it. We also kept it in the room where we spent most of the time. Since I'm the Bad Dad one and we didn't allow our girl on our second floor, where the bedroom is, we kept the crate in our great room, which is where we spent most of our time. It was very easy to hear her when she needed to go out at night, which was not very much. We gradually made it to having blankets in it for her. Just make it a postive experience from the beginning and it will make it easier. We also used it for our 30 second time outs when needed. They do catch on really quick. We used the crate regulary until she was 15 months and then I was sure she was 100% reliable in the house. Then she got her own special bed made for a queen.
 

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I would definitely go with a wire crate,I think a determined Dobe could eat it's way out of a plastic one,I use a folding 42" wire crate which doubles up as transport and holding crate for shows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
brumwolf said:
I would definitely go with a wire crate,I think a determined Dobe could eat it's way out of a plastic one,I use a folding 42" wire crate which doubles up as transport and holding crate for shows.
How do your Dobes like your wire crate? Did you have any problems getting them to accept it?
 

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I use plastic vari type kennels at home - they are the 500 size (40"L x 27"W x 30"H). I never have had issues with puppies using them as a potty, but they were never left for more than 3 1/2 hours at a time either. I keep them in my office on the first floor which is where I spend a lot of my time.

For a young puppy, I keep a smaller crate in our bedroom by my side of the bed - if I hear them in the middle of the night I take them out and carry them outside (no chance of accidents that way). Once they are old enough, they sleep on a dog bed in our room.........one sleeps in bed with one of my kids. They only sleep in a crate at night if they are sick or there is some issue.

Mine are ok with a blanket in their crate, but WILL chew on them when the crate is open.........go figure!! I am cautious with blankets, and replace them pretty frequently when they start looking really ratty.

I do have a wire kennel and mesh crates for travel. I use mesh once I know they are totally crate safe and won't attempt to chew out.
 

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velmadobe said:
I use plastic vari type kennels at home - they are the 500 size (40"L x 27"W x 30"H).

I do have a wire kennel and mesh crates for travel. I use mesh once I know they are totally crate safe and won't attempt to chew out.
Yeah, I have the full array of crates-vari kennels, wire and mesh. The wire and mesh crates are used for traveling/shows. You definitely shouldn't use mesh until the dog is totally comfortable about being crated.

I use vari kennels in the house with puppies until they're reliable. Like Mary Jo, I use the #500 size and have never had a problem with puppies pottying in them..but if that's an issue, you can always put a box in the crate to partition part of it off until the puppy grows into the crate.
 

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I have an giant size Precision crate which came with a divider. I have had ******* in this crate since she was 8 weeks old with no problems. I had a smaller one in the bedroom for when we went to sleep. I never used the divider and she never once made a mistake in the crate. I also just bought a Vari crate for traveling up to my parents. I got the one that you just dial the latch to take it apart. She likes the wire crate alot better, but that's probably because she is use to it. I have a large blanket over it and have never had a problem with her chewing on the blanket. They do make fitted covers for wire crates that make it almost impossible for dogs to get at. If I remember right, they were kinda of expensive. Both have there pro's and con's. Good luck picking one!
 

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Our experience is similar to Kratty's. I used the Life Stages crate at first, lined with several cushy layers of newspaper and in went Java's polar fleece baby blanket from the breeder. Her crate was kept in the mudroom, a few steps from the back door. During the day the crate door was kept open and she would sometimes go in and nap during the day. We never brought her crate upstairs and she never had any problems falling asleep. She was brought home on July 4th weekend, and the slate floor kept the room cool and comfortable.

As she got older, and the weather colder, I being the softie (the floor in that part of the house has radiant heat), bought a soft-sided folding crate and that was kept in the great room/kitchen area. This is the crate we use 99% of the time, and is perfect for Java when we travel. She knows where her bed/den is when we are in a strange house. During the day she uses a large dog floor pillow, but at night she still goes into her travel crate.
 

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I've got 6 crates for 2 dogs (the meshed crate that my terrier destroyed in 5 minutes doesn't count). That being said, here's what I would recommend:

An extra-large vari-kennel plasstic crate for my Dobe (50-90 lb variety). While you can't create a true partition, I've had success putting another plastic container, wrapped in blanket or something, in the back end of the crate. This makes the crate smaller from 8-16 weeks so he is less inclined to soil one end of it. Honestly he was large enough at 16 weeks for me to not worry w/ the extra space.

He's chewed his bedding due to boredom, and has scratched the inside of the crate with his nails, but hasn't done any real damage, so the plastic one is certainly durable enough.

I use a wire crate for travelling/competition. He feels quite vulnerable in the wire crate unless I put a sheet over the back, top, and sides.

Good luck!
 

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I just don't find the extra large Vari crate all the big!!
 

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Okie-dobie said:
I just don't find the extra large Vari crate all the big!!
It is bigger than it looks. Asher can stand up and move around without any hinderance. He is a curler, so choses to curl in a ball. If he chose to, he can still stretch his legs out. You can always go to the giant if you want something bigger.

Doodle is my escape artist and will escape out of any wire crate you find. He is out, the door is still latched closed. I don't know how he does it. He has marked his kennel with scratches. He used to try to dig out of it when he was a puppy.
 

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Diesel has a wire crate and he loves it! We got a foam mattress thing that we put in so it covers the bottom and also goes halfway up the sides(don't think it would last too long with a puppy though!) so the only way he'd get a foot caught would be if he tried to do stunts in there! We made it a fun place to be from the beginning, I had concerns as to whether or not he would like it as he was 5 when we got him and had never even lived lived indoors let alone been in a crate. He uses it as his den, and we often catch Abbie in there if there's a storm, so they must find it quite comforting.
On the down side, it is a real pain to move when I'm on my own as its pretty heavy and awkward. But that is the only problem I've found. :)
 

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I use both for Dobe puppies, but like the wire best. Esp. for travel, as the air flow is much better. For adults, to take to and from the shows I LOVE the mesh, but that is not for puppies at all, def. have to be crate trained before mesh.

I don't usually have collars on my dogs in the house and would never feel comfortable leaving collars on dogs in ex-pens or any type of crate.
 
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