The Advantages of a Large Dog Cage

I hadn't given much thought to large dog cages until a couple of years ago when my husband and I adopted an English Mastiff. My husband had always wanted to own a Mastiff but their price tag of $2,500 for a puppy in our area put them out of our price range.

One day, my husband was on the Internet looking at a website called freecycle and he saw an ad for a free female English Mastiff. He quickly called to find out about her and was told that she wasn't able to be house trained. No matter how hard they tried, she would pee in the house all the time. The lady said that her husband would beat the living tar out of her for peeing in the house be she would never learn. This upset us so we didn't waste any time deciding to go and get her.

We made the hour in long drive to go meet her in 45 minutes. When we arrived, we were really surprised at what we saw. She was brindle colored. We didn't know they came in brindle. Our initial thoughts were that she was absolutely gorgeous. She looked like a cross between a tiger and a dog.

We both decided quite quickly that we had to have her. We put a leash on her, thanked the people and led her to the car. We both thought it was quite strange that she went with us so eagerly. She never even looked back at them.

The first place we went was to the pet store to buy her a large dog cage. We've always had good luck potty training dogs with the use of crates so we bought a large dog cage, a new collar with a name tag on it, and headed for home. We got the cage set up and put a blanket in it for her.

We were quite surprised when she walked right in and lied down. She then proceeded to close her eyes and shortly thereafter, she fell asleep. While she was sleeping, my husband noticed that urine was leaking out of her. She was peeing in here sleep.

My husband got on the Internet and learned that some large dogs develop urinary incontinence problems after they are spayed. Upon further investigation, we learned that the condition was usually easily treated with an inexpensive pill that we could get from our vet.

The next day we took her to the vet and he did a test on her urine to make sure she didn't have a bladder infection or crystals in her urine. The test came back negative and he happily wrote the prescription for the medication.

We had her sleep in her large dog cage that night and the very next day after giving her the medication, the leaking urine problem was cured.

In the days to come, we realized that this poor dog had really been traumatized by the beatings that she got from her previous owners. She would go into fits if anyone picked up a broom or a stick. My husband was so mad that he almost went back and beat the guy we got her from with a stick.

As it turned out, we didn't even need the large dog cage. She was already potty trained. She only urinated in the house because she couldn't control her bladder. We kept the cage because she liked it so much. Dogs generally feel quite secure in their crates. Providing a crate for a dog is a good thing to do because it gives them someplace in you home that they can retreat to and feel safe.

Training Your Dog To Accept a Large Dog Cage

Most dogs need to be trained to accept their dog cage. With a little patience, the experience will go quite smoothly and your dog will come to love being in their cage. Follow a few simple steps and things will go well for both you and your dog.

  1. Put some familiar items in the cage that your dog likes. It's a good idea to place your dog's favorite toys and treats in the cage before introducing him to it.
  2. Lead your dog to the cage and show him all the goodies in it. Nine times out of ten, he will cautiously enter and take something out. This is fine. Don't slam the door shut on him when he goes in. If he wants to back out, let him.
  3. Encourage your dog to go in again. This time praise him lavishly when he is in the cage. Don't shut the door yet.
  4. Repeat this step several times and for several days before you shut the door behind them. Shutting the door behind them too early in the process may make your dog panic.
  5. After a few days of this, it's okay to shut the door behind your dog. I like to have a nice juicy treat that will be irresistible to my dog in the cage for him. Make sure it's a treat that will take him a while to finish. An uncooked soup bone is a good choice. Most of the time your dog will be focused on enjoying the delicious treat and not even think about the door being shut.
  6. After your dog finished the treat, open the door and let him out.
  7. Now you're ready to do the same thing again the next day but this time you're going to leave him for a while. Repeat step five and without making a big deal of things, quietly leave the room so that your dog can't see you.
  8. After a few minutes, come back into the room but don't let him out right away. Also don't say anything to your dog when you enter the room. You don't want to teach your dog that seeing you enter the room when he is in his cage means that you are going to rush over an let him out. This may cause your dog to become impatient and develop separation anxiety problems while he is in the cage.
  9. When your dog is quite and calm, open the door and let him out.
  10. This process should be repeated several days in a row. Each time your do this, leave him in the cage a little longer. Eventually you'll be able to leave him in his large dog cage for several hours and he'll be perfectly calm and content.

The key to success is to take things slowly. The worst thing you can do is force your dog in the cage, lock the door behind him, and leave for several hours. This will always backfire on you and your dog will end up hating the cage.

Large Dog Cage - Metal vs. Plastic

When picking out a large dog cage, you will have two choices. The first is a standard plastic dog cage with a wire door and the second is a metal wire dog cage. It can sometimes be difficult to decide which type to buy. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type

The advantages of a metal large dog cage is that they provide a lot of ventilation for your dog. Another advantage to this type of dog cage is that metal wire dog cages usually come in larger sizes than the plastic versions. Yet another advantage is the the metal wire cages can usually be disassembled and folded flat for storage or traveling.

The disadvantage of this type is that they are really open and don't provide the same "den like" feeling for your dog that the plastic kennels provide. You can however drape a blanket over a metal dog cage to provide more of a "den" feeling for your dog.

The advantages of a plastic large dog cage is that it does provide your dog a sense of security that most dogs crave.  The disadvantages are that they usually don't come in as large of sizes as the metal types so if your dog is huge like our Mastiff, they will likely out grow it quite rapidly. 

Our personal preference is the metal type.  You can put these large dog cages out side when you are traveling and your dog can be safely penned up during family outings but they can still see out and feel like they are part of things.

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Large Dog Cage Training Video

Here's a little video on how to crate train a dog.  I think you'll enjoy watching it.

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If you have a large dog, I'd love to hear from you!

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