Congratulations! You’re having a puppy! But before the little fluff baby waddles its way into its new home (and isn’t a little Silky Terrier cute?), you need to prepare! After all, would you bring home a newborn human without a crib or baby seat on hand? The same logic applies to puppies. But instead of a crib, they’ll need a puppy training crate. Without one, potty and behavior training will be infinitely more difficult.
And don’t worry: crating puppies isn’t evil, bad, or even inhumane. For starters, canines are genetically predisposed to seek out safe, small protective dens. Before domestication, their ancestors used caves, tunnels, and shallow holes to sleep and care for their young. They purposefully chose small spaces to mitigate the possibility of predator attacks.
But which puppy training crate is the best? What should you look for when buying one? Do different breeds of dogs do better with different types of crates? Some dogs are best suited for apartment living, while others, like a Rottweiler, are bigger dogs. What about materials? Is a plastic puppy training crate better than a wire one?
Our team of pet product reviewers attacked all these questions, and this is the guide they developed for new puppy parents in search of the best crates. When considering options, we looked at several factors, including budget, quality, special features, and style.
Best Puppy Training Crates
#1 Best Overall Puppy Training Crate: Petmate Two Door Top Load
- PET CRATE FOR SMALL DOGS: This small dog kennel has a top entry door so you can access your cat or dog. Suitable for small dog breeds between 10-20 lbs. Measures: 24” long and 15” high
- AIR TRAVEL APPROVED: This pet carrier meets most airline cargo specifications. The air travel kennel for dogs & cats also has a durable, ergonomic comfort-grip handle & ventilated sides for comfortable transport.
- KENNELS & HOUSES: Crate & kennel training is vital for dog safety & comfort. We provide traditional travel carriers, wire training & exercise kennels, play pens, barn-style dog houses & more
- Petmate: For over 50 years, we at Petmate are passionate about our dogs, cats & furry friends in general. Starting with the very first dog kennel, we've produced plenty of eco-friendly products that pets will love.
- JUST FOR PETS: Petmate makes a variety of pet products for dogs, cats, chickens & other small furry friends! Check out our brands such as Aspen Pet, Arm & Hammer, Booda, Chuckit!, Jackson Galaxy & more!
Petmate’s two-door, plastic model is our pick for best overall puppy training crate. The dual purpose unit works for both training and traveling, and it features loads of ventilation holes in the plastic, but it also features two wire doors on the side and top.
The unit comes in two sizes — 19-inches and 24-inches — in a rainbow palette of colors. The former holds pets up to 10 pounds and the latter up to 20.
Petmate’s puppy training crate is equipped with several features, the design is airline approved, and it costs less than $50 — making it the best value option.
Click here to check out Petmate Two Door Top Load
#2 Best Hard Puppy Training Crate: Pet Magasin Hard Cover Collapsible
- PERFECT SIZE FOR A TRIP TO VET: A pet carrier that gives you the best features of both hard and soft carriers! 17" long by 13" high by 14" wide, it's suitable for cats, small dogs, and other pets.
- HARD BASE & PROTECTION: A hard top and hard base give you sturdy protection for your pet, and gives your pet a firm surface to stand on.
- EASY FOR STORAGE & COMFORTABLE INSIDE: The soft sides can be folded down so the whole carrier fits into a neat little package -- just the top and bottom zippered together. Takes up very little storage space while it's not in use. A padded mat in the floor gives your pet a comfortable place to lie down and a non-slip surface to stand on. A see-through mesh door lets him or her keep an eye on the world outside.
- EXTRA-SAFE & BREATHABLE: The carrier is made from premium materials, YKK zippers, and panels of tough but breathable mesh.
- TRUSTED BY 100,000+ AMAZON CUSTOMERS - More than 300+ 5 Stars reviews with 500+ of recommendation for cat & dog owners.
We love Pet Magasin’s hard-cover puppy crate! It’s stylish, has excellent ventilation, and is collapsible! Perfectly sized for puppies, cats, and rabbits, the round unit is 17″ long by 13″ high by 14″ wide. The top and bottom are hard, while the sides are made of a softer material.
Plus, it also comes with a plush pad to keep your pet comfy and cozy.
We liked so many things about this unit. The shape is great; the mesh door is large, making it easy for getting the fur babe in and out; moreover, it’s got “floor-to-ceiling” ventilation.
Other reasons why we picked this unit as our best hard puppy training crate:
- Top and bottom zippers
Click here to check out Pet Magasin Hard Cover Collapsible
#3 Best Soft Puppy Training Crate: Amazon Basics Premium Folding Portable Soft Pet Dog Crate Carrier Kennel
- Soft-sided carrier crate for pets that collapses down easily for storage
- Made with durable polyester and PVC material
- Well-ventilated with multiple screened panels for your pet to look out of
- Includes plush fleece-covered pet bed for comfort while on the road
- Accessory pockets on the top and sides for storing treats, toys, and more
Amazon Basics’ soft puppy training crate is a great value product that’s $20 less than comparable products. Plus, it comes with a handy bag. The Amazon Basics soft puppy training crate is made of PVC material and durable polyester and has multiple mesh windows on all sides, providing better ventilation than similar options.
The unit comes in five colors and sizes. The smallest size can handle pups up to 12 pounds, and the largest one works for dogs up to 90 pounds. Unlike other soft crates, this one doesn’t have a steel frame, and it folds down completely. Amazon Basic’s puppy crate made our list because it was easier to open than similar units — and the price is right!
Other features include:
- Top handles
- Removable shoulder strap
- Plush fleece-covered pet bed
- Zipper pockets
Click here to check out Amazon Basics Premium Folding Portable Soft Pet Dog Crate Carrier Kennel
#4 Best Configurable Puppy Training Crate: Life Stages Double Door Folding Crate with Divider
- Double door folding metal dog crate, Life Stages measures 36 L x 24 W x 27 H inches & is suitable for intermediate dog breeds
- Versatile 2 door dog crate includes a free divider panel, durable dog tray, carrying handle, "roller" feet to protect floors & a “MidWest Quality Guarantee” 1 year manufacturer's warranty. Note, we manufacture the iCrate and the Life Stages Dog Crate. The main difference is the Life Stages is made of heavier gauge steel and has a tighter wire mesh making it stronger than iCrate
- 2 heavy duty slide bolt latches (per door) securely lock dog crate door in place keeping your dog safely inside their pet home
- Easy assembly & portable dog crate, Sets up in seconds with no tools required for assembly & dog crate folds flat for convenient storage or travel
- Durable design creates a safe place for your pet while you're away & provides for your dog's instinctual "den" instincts. Patented rounded corner clips greatly reduce possible sharp points your dog's crate for a safer experience for you & your dog
Configurable crates grow with a dog through their life stages as they come with dividers that make the unit smaller. MidWest Home makes this model, and six divider sizes are available. Otherwise, it’s a solid wire crate that packs away and stores nicely.
A one-door model is also available, and for the quality and price, it landed atop our value ranking for the category. Just add a plush bed to the bottom for the baby, and you’re good to go!
Other features include:
- Heavy-duty side latches
- Roller wheels
- Dog tray
- Carrier handle
- One-year warranty
Click here to check out Life Stages Double Door Folding Crate with Divider
#5 Best Travel Puppy Training Crate: Henkelion's Puppy Travel Carrier
- AIRLINE APPROVED CARRIER - With airline-approved design, you can take your pet to go to everywhere. This pet carrier provides two connecting loop handles for balanced carrying as a dual seat belt or luggage strap to secure transport
- SAFETY DESIGN - The adjustable shoulder strap help you hands-free carrying and makes it the most safe and convenient pet carrier bag for your travel
- WATERPROOF & DURABLE - This cat carrier is made of durable, lightweight and waterproof polyester fabric. The four-side mesh will not only give a safe and comfortable travel for your pet, but also easy for you to check on your pet
- PORTABLE & WASHABLE - This dog carrier is easy to carry and store, which has a padded shoulder strap and handles. The cozy fleece pet bed can be completely removed and machine-washed
- BOTH SIZES AND WEIGHTS - The mediun cat carrier is designed for small and medium pets within 15" x 9" x 9" and 15 lbs. Please do not choose your carrier only based on weight. Reference your pets' length and height in selecting a carrier size.
If you’ve secured permission to bring your puppy on a plane as a cabin guest, you’ll need to get an airline-approved carrier — and Henkelion’s carrier fits the bill. As is required for air travel, it’s a soft carrier that fits under the seat. Plus, it’s thoughtfully designed to slide onto a luggage handle, making airport navigation leagues easier.
This travel puppy crate is soft, has an adjustable strap, and features front, side, and top mesh windows so your baby can easily keep track of where you are and feel safer.
Other reasons Henkelion’s puppy crate made our “best of” list include:
- Quality material
- Top-entry option
- Top-rated across the board
Click here to check out Henkelion's Puppy Travel Carrier
Plastic vs. Wire Dog Crates
The two most common types of puppy crates are plastic and wire. Both have advantages and drawbacks.
Advantages of Wire Dog Crates
Wire crates are great for dogs in warmer climates and those with longer or thicker hair because they provide maximum airflow. Plus, with wire puppy crates, your fur baby can see all the action. In addition to the ventilation, wire crates are easier to store because they fold down, and many are configurable and can size up with your pup.
Drawbacks of Wire Dog Crates
On the one hand, unobstructed views afforded by a wire crate are good. On the other hand, it can cause stress if they want to cuddle but can’t reach you. In such instances, being in a wire crate can lead to excessive whining and yapping.
Additionally, wire crates aren’t always the most comfortable for small dogs because of the wire spacing. Plus, for little pups that live in cold climates, they can be too chilly.
Advantages of Plastic Dog Crates
Plastic crates are usually a lot lighter than wire ones, and many models can be popped apart and used as a dog bed when the top is no longer needed. Instead of unobstructed views, plastic crates typically have a row of holes for ventilation and limited viewing, which is super for dogs who prefer privacy or, for whatever reason, need an environment with few distractions.
Moreover, plastic puppy crates are usually airline-approved whereas wire ones are not.
Drawbacks of Plastic Dog Crates
Plastic puppy crate features that make them a hit with some dogs can be drawbacks for others. For example, dogs that need the security of seeing their humans may not appreciate a plastic crate with a limited view. They can also be stifling for pups in warmer climates.
Also, plastic crates tend to hold odors, which can get stinky — especially if your puppy’s potty training takes some time.
Last update on 2021-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The 5 Best Puppy Training Crates: Reviewed for 2021 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Type of Crate Is Best for Puppy?
It depends on the puppy. What may work for a dachshund pup may not be ideal for a malamute one. Above, we’ve outlined our picks for the best puppy training crates in several categories.
Is Crate Training the Best Way To Train a Puppy?
For non-professional dog owners, crate training is the most effective way to train puppies.
Is a Crate or Playpen Better for a Puppy?
Playpens and crates are different. Playpens are best when you want to control the pup’s environment while simultaneously giving it space to romp. Also, if you must leave a puppy alone for several hours, playpens are best. Crates, on the other hand, are better for sleep and potty training.
What Size Crate Should You Get for a Puppy?
Ideally, a puppy’s crate should only be large enough for him or her to stand up, turn around, and sleep comfortably. If you’re looking to buy one that will last a dog’s lifetime, a configurable option is best.
How Long Can You Leave an Eight Week Old Puppy in a Crate?
Puppies younger than eight weeks old need near-constant attention. But once a newborn canine turns eight weeks old, they can be left alone in a crate for one hour per month-age plus one hour. In other words, if your puppy is eight weeks old, it can be crated for three hours (two months = two hours, plus one hour). A puppy that’s 12 weeks old can be left alone for four hours.
Should I Put a Pee Pad in My Puppy's Crate?
No! Don’t put pee pads in puppy crates. It’s counterproductive. One of the main reasons to crate puppies is to potty-train. By letting them relieve themselves in the crate, they never learn how to ask to go outside.
Are Puppy Crates Cruel?
No. Puppy crates aren’t cruel as long as they’re the correct size. Dogs are genetically predisposed to seek out small, safe dens.
Where Should a Puppy Sleep the First Night?
For the first night in a new home, puppies should sleep in a crate right next to their human’s bed. If possible, include a few plush toys that have the scent of their littermates or doggie mom.