How Do I Choose The Best Crate For My German Shepherd?


  • A good quality crate. I’d recommend XXL or 48” crate with a cover and divider so the size of the crate suits puppy. You can also use a crate in the car for safe transport, it doesn’t need to be a large crate. I use a 36” crate for my dogs in the car. I find Vebo Pet Supplies to be the best quality and value for money crates. You can order them here
  • If you find you need a more heavy-duty crate that your dog can’t escape from then this is the best alternative to a wire collapsible crate. There are two sizes suitable for a GSD either Large for a female or extra-large for a male order here


Crate Training – You will thank me later

If your puppy lives in your house with you, then purchasing a crate is essential. It must be placed in a quiet area for the puppy to be able to rest. When puppies do not get enough rest, they can become overstimulated and might exhibit a magnitude of undesirable behaviours.

Dogs, as species, do very well with routines. It can also make your life easier and allow you to proceed with your daily activities.

Not every puppy settles in the crate very easily. We have to remember that probably up to that day they have never been alone. You can place food there every time before the puppy enters the crate. It will be a surprise for him and can change his emotional response.

Please be very careful not to reinforce your puppy screaming in the crate. Obviously, he might have to go to the bathroom, but he has to wait patiently and quietly until you open the crate. If you do not do so, he will conclude that the more he screams the faster you come and release him. Take your time and wait him out.

Advantages of Crate Training:

  • Provides a relaxing and safe place for your dog to rest
  • Greatly reduces the stress of owner’s in relation to their dog’s supervision, confinement and inappropriate behaviour
  • Provides an effective way to prevent puppies/adult dogs from endangering themselves, when not in direct supervision (e.g. chewing electrical wiring)
  • Assists greatly with house training as dogs don’t generally soil their beds. This is further advantaged by preventing the dog from wandering unsupervised throughout the house, providing opportunities to sneak off and eliminate
  • Permits safe car travel, without the need for restrictive harnesses which may be chewed
  • Facilitates greater opportunities for your dog to participate in activities such as training sessions, car trips, day trips and holidays

A crate is a short-term solution for a long term wonderful relationship with the dog.

Commencing Crate Training

Successful crate training cannot be achieved be simply locking your dog in the crate and hoping for the best. Some dogs take a little while to acclimatise to being confined and may perceive the activity as exclusionary / punishment.

Start by placing the crate in a central area, where the dog is comfortable and still able to interact with family members. A quiet corner of the lounge / family room or in the same place as the dog’s current bed is preferred. To promote the dog’s feeling of security in regard to the crate, ensure that children do not climb in or on top of it.

Our first aim is to build a positive association with the crate; this is exclusively done with the DOOR OPENED and may be achieved by;

  • Feeding your dog in the crate
  • Giving the dog bones, pigs ears, chew toys in the crate
  • Hiding treats and other toys in the crate. A KONG filled with food are great for this.
  • Offering praise / reinforcement when the dog approaches / enters or lays down in the crate
  • Placing the dog’s bedding in the crate

Whilst in the early stages of training, we never close the crate door until the dog is calm and comfortable. Like all training programs, the length of time taken to achieve this relaxed attitude, will vary between individual dogs and will be greatly influenced by socialisation levels and past experience.

Once we are happy with the dog’s attitude to the crate and its readiness to go inside, we may start closing the dog for short periods of time. We must remember to reward appropriate behaviour and ignore any inappropriate responses such as whining, scratching, etc. The dog should never be let out of the crate if it is not behaving accordingly.

As the dog becomes more comfortable with the crate, you should extend the time the dog remains in there, with the door closed. Never use the crate as punishment and always facilitate calm and relaxed behaviour whilst inside.

It is also recommended to establish a cue / command for going into the crate (e.g. bed / crate), as well as ensuring the dog does not leave the crate without being released / commanded. This ensures that you can send the dog to its crate at a distance and also prevents the dog from bursting out before you can attach a lead.

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