Need a Better Crate for my Doggy?
July 1, 2009 6:26 AM   Subscribe

What type of dog crate would you recommend for a 50lb Staffy (pit bull)?

She currently has a wire crate that she has bent up and broken multiple times. It is being held together by caribiners and wire. I want to get her something that is both strong and won't hurt her if she becomes scared. She did the damage during late night storms and twice broke out of her metal crate. She also hurt herself by chipping her teeth on the crate. Any suggestions for a stronger crate would be great! Would a plastic crate with metal door be better? Should i just try steel?
please help!
posted by fozzie33 to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
Steel or plastic isn't going to change the behavior, and neither will be less likely to hurt a dog determined to hurt herself (she'll chew on steel, and plastic shards can be sharp).

Is the crate in the same room as you? You could try desensitization, such as putting the crate in your room (with her in it) for a few nights with the door open, and then on successive nights, close the door, put the crate near the door, in the hallway, down the hallway, in another nearby room, etc ... until you have the crate where you want it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:45 AM on July 1, 2009

i'm already working the behavior, i'm just looking for a better crate then the one i have. She's 10 years old, we adopted her at 7, we have come a long way, but she has gotten spooked a few times, and caused some trouble. I'm just looking for a better crate.
posted by fozzie33 at 6:48 AM on July 1, 2009

If there's a tougher crate you can find (like one of these?), but you're worried about her hurting herself in it, could you possibly fit a larger-than-necessary crate with an inner layer of foam/padding/blankets to create a correctly-sized, non-tooth-chipping surface within an appropriately strong crate?
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:19 AM on July 1, 2009

My rescue AmStaff (45 lbs) did this to his wire crate when we first got him. He had been at the shelter for a long time (3 months) and had a great deal of separation and barrier anxiety. As evidence of this, his teeth as a one year old were tarnished and stained, worn down and broken from biting and worrying at his chain link kennels.

We switched him to a plastic airline crate because its construction is more durable. The metal door has a fine enough grating that he cannot worry at its bars, and he cannot bust it open as he did the metal crate. He chewed a little on an available edge of the crate over the door, but was unable to make any headway. He's never broken out of the plastic airline crate, and I think its solid construction helps him feel safer, as if it's his 'den.'

A steel crate would be great, but you're looking at paying MUCH more money. And its probably not necessary; the plastic crate should be able to contain her.

Please do not continue to keep your dog in a wire crate held together by caribiners and wire. That sets up so much potential for her to hurt herself as she tries to get out of her crate. In the interim, can you put her in a bathroom and close the door? Bathrooms make a great temporary holding place for dogs, as there is very little in there they can destroy.

My AmStaff hated, hated, hated the crate for a long time. The biggest change came when I started feeding him in there. Now he believes it cannot be such a bad place if food happens in there.

Good luck with her behavior, and kudos to you for adopting an older dog!
posted by Seppaku at 7:24 AM on July 1, 2009

Also, seeing as you have considered asking your vet for a sedative to help during the traumatic thunderstorms, I sometimes give my two 50-65lb dogs 1-2 Benadryl tablets hidden in a piece of cheese to 'take the edge off.'

This is also what some parents give their children during long airplane flights. It makes my dogs drowsy, so that rather than being worried that there is a stranger (a.k.a. the housecleaner) around, they yawn and sleep.
posted by Seppaku at 7:53 AM on July 1, 2009

I had a steel crate (albeit for a smaller dog - scottish terrier) and it could have survived a nuclear war. I always had blankets and such in it and when tucking in the dog would throw treats into it. During the day the door to the crate was left open and sometimes my dog would go lay in there - - it became like his bedroom.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:45 AM on July 1, 2009

yeah, bathroom is a noooo... she took out door frame and almost the drywall in attempt to escape during a storm... we actually have to drug her now, xanax works wonders.

She was in the shelter for almost 2 years, no one wanted to adopt her... it took a few months for her to get used to her cage, and she likes it 95% of the time, the other 5% she has Houdini syndrome and has escaped without opening the door, pulled off the panel of the cage that had the door, somehow tipped the cage on its end and escaped... she is pretty clever....

i may try a plastic cage, they aren't too expensive, and might work better....
posted by fozzie33 at 10:06 AM on July 1, 2009

You can also try teaching your dog to handle thunderstorms better. I am entirely serious.

One way to start is to go through some things she does well during a thunderstorm. Tell her what thunder is when it thunders, and then do something positive like asking for a trick and giving a food reward. (If you've been working with her for two years, I assume she knows a trick or two.) Obviously, you can't do this while you're at work, but you can give her some additional coping skills that will help her with storms when she's alone.

I would not pad the crate - that's just asking for expensive surgery to remove the padding from staffy's innards.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:19 PM on July 1, 2009

These are the best wire crates I have seen that are still being made in the USA of the original materials: Central Metal Products. Scroll down to see both styles.
posted by acorncup at 1:18 PM on July 7, 2009

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