Dog crates are an essential part of the training process for well-behaved pets. One of the most critical functions is creating a den space where your dog will feel comfortable and safe. There is nothing better than you can choose to confine your dog for a trip to the vet or take the dog along on a road trip (The Pampered Pup provides reviews for different crates).
There are circumstances that might make you consider a dog crate divider DIY project. Using the crate size for puppy training makes it easier for you to have designated toileting and sleeping areas. Knowing how to make a dog crate smaller for a puppy will benefit you and your dog in the long run, as the divider is something you can always remove. Knowing some simple dog crate hacks will make training and living with your dog that much easier.
How a Divider Makes a Difference
A divided dog crate for potty training can make the process go much more smoothly. Dogs have a natural inclination to avoid soiling the areas where they eat or sleep. Having distinct areas in the crate will put a stop to a lot of inappropriate behavior.
When your dog is initially going through the stages of housebreaking, the smaller space will encourage them to go to the bathroom outside. As the puppy grows, you can expand the space they have within the crate. Making sure you use the right crate size for puppy training is essential to success and a well-behaved dog.
Another advantage of using a barrier is if you have two smaller dogs sharing crate space. Even though many dogs get along well enough to occupy the same crate, a divider can help prevent a lot of potential problems. If the dogs eat inside the crate, for example, the barrier can minimize the chances of fighting between the two.
Measure Your Dog’s Size
For a divided dog crate for potty training to working most effectively, your dog needs to have the proper space for standing, turning around, and lying down. It’s essential to determine how much room a dog should have in a crate, so they don’t feel cramped when confined. Behavior problems are very commonplace when a dog ends up confined to close quarters and can be very hard to eliminate further down the road.
Your dog’s height always needs to be measured from the floor to the top of their withers. Add another 3 inches to this number to prevent the dog from getting a paw or nose caught. For example, if your dog is 18 inches at the withers, add 3 inches for a total measurement of 21 inches.
You will also need to measure your dog from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. Add 3 inches to these measurements as well to ensure better coverage across the area. A 24-inch measurement, for example, would be 27 inches total.
Compare these measurements to the measurements of the crate. The dog needs to have sufficient space, even when the crate has a divider. Accurate measurements will help ensure that your dog has the space that they need on both sides of the divider.
Does the Door Location Make a Difference?
Although the door placement does not impact whether you can have a divider, you may have to figure out whether the installation of the divider works well with the door design. Making this decision before you start with creating the divider makes a difference in the outcome of your project and the crate’s usefulness.
You don’t want to get the divider installed, then find that your dog won’t go into the crate. Another issue to avoid is having the placement of the barrier make getting through the door tricky. Having difficulty getting through the door can be something that gives your dog negative associations with being in the crate.
Consider where your puppy or dog likes to rest the most when thinking about positioning for the barrier. A lengthwise divider might work best for dogs that sleep near the side, while a crosswise barrier might work better for dogs resting near the front. One of the keys to keeping your dog as comfortable as possible in their crate is avoiding disruptions as much as you possibly can so they still feel safe.
Think About How You Intend to Build Your Divider
When you’re thinking about dog crate divider ideas, you want to make sure the crate will be an appropriate size as the dog grows. For example, a crate that comfortably holds a Golden Retriever as a puppy should hold that dog as an adult. One of the ultimate goals of using a divider should be to reduce the chances of replacing the crate because your dog is growing.
Even though some crates come with a divider, you might benefit from devising one of your own. Knowing when to remove the crate divider is just as important as knowing if you are using the right type for your dog’s needs. A custom divider, distinct from the one that came with the crate, can maximize the number of ways that you use the crate.
Using Cardboard as a Quick Fix
Some owners who have crates without included dividers find cardboard an economical option. You can fit in an appropriately-sized piece easily, as well as replace it inexpensively as needed. Bear in mind that cardboard is not one of the sturdier dog crate divider ideas and may not be the best option to use over a longer-term.
One thing to avoid is using pieces of cardboard that have a lot of printing on them, particularly with a lot of colors. Printer ink can be one of the more toxic substances for a dog to ingest. You also want to discourage your dog from trying to eat the cardboard, in any case, because of the possibility of digestive upsets.
How Wood Might Be a Good Choice
Plywood can be a better option to consider using as one of the better dog crate hacks. Depending on whether you have an appropriate saw and cutting surface, you might need to buy a custom-size piece from lumber or home improvement store. If your dog tends to do a lot of heavy chewing, however, plywood might not withstand their demands.
Avoid wood that has been painted or treated because of some of the chemicals that might be present. There is also a risk for fragments that might be harmful if swallowed. As puppies tend to explore things by finding out if they can eat them, wood ingestion is something to be very cautious about, and sanded edges help prevent this problem to a higher degree.
Advantages of Plexiglas
Dogs that chew through most wood easily might benefit from a dog crate divider DIY that uses Plexiglas. These dividers not only look professional but are durable and robust. Although Plexiglas is a more expensive material, many owners find it hard to beat and are willing to pay the extra cost for greater peace of mind.
Plexiglas is something that will require special preparation in a shop setting. One of the most significant advantages that this material offers is being virtually indestructible. When you use this material, you are assured that your barrier should last for the life of the crate and beyond.
Getting the Divider Ready
Knowing the right crate size for puppy training will make it easier for you to prepare the divider. Consider whether dividing the crate crosswise or lengthwise will work best. Although your dog is unlikely to notice the difference, the placement can make a difference when you’re installing the divider.
Use the width from the measurements if you’re installing the divider crosswise, and the length of installing lengthwise. Always subtract half an inch to allow for more flexibility in the installation. The size is also small enough to keep your puppy from getting caught.
Cutting the Divider Properly
If you’re cutting cardboard, scissors or a utility knife should be sharp enough. A box cutter or hack saw should easily do the job with plywood. In the case of Plexiglas, this should be cut at the shop.
Duct tape along the edges on a cardboard divider will help from tears and frayed edges. The edges of plywood should always be sanded down with high-grit sandpaper. Doing so will help prevent splinters that could hurt your dog.
Holes along the upper edge and sides of the divider can make it easier to anchor, as required. Anchoring the divider down properly will help increase its durability. You can poke holes in cardboard easily with a sharpened pencil and in plywood by pounding a nail through or using a drill.
Installing Your Divider
The installation will come a lot more easily once the divider has been cut. Opening either the top panel or door, depending on the crate’s structure, will give you the access you need. Use zip ties through the anchor points to help secure the divider.
A divided dog crate for potty training and other purposes comes in handy. The better the quality of the divider, the more it will help your crate be a comfortable “den” for your dog.
Some Common Problems to Think About
Although putting a barrier on your dog’s crate is usually an easy task, things can go wrong that you might need to think about with both puppies and adult dogs. Knowing what these problems are and how to handle them will make things go much more easily.
Some of these possible problems include:
- Confinement-related anxiety due to cruelty and neglect
- Dogs who dislodge the crate floor and make it hard to keep the divider up
- Escape artists with a knack for getting out
Some dogs who have come from hoarding situations or other circumstances where they were inappropriately confined to a crate may have anxiety issues with being in any crate. A previous owner who used the crate as a form of punishment can also cause anxiety. Being calm and confident when settling the dog into the crate can reduce these issues.
Puppies or dogs who are active even inside the crate can make the floor of the crate, often called a tray, shift when they are inside a wire crate. The problem with the crate tray shifting is that this action can destabilize the barrier. Making sure the wire “lip” that fits over the front of the tray is in the proper position can eliminate this issue.
Some dogs are notorious for being escape artists, managing to get out of the most secure crate. When this is the case, even carefully-constructed dividers can prove somewhat of a problem. Although dogs that are intent on escaping will often find a way to push the barrier aside, taking the extra steps to make this harder by securing everything properly makes a difference.
The Benefits of a Dog Crate Divider DIY Project
When you create the divider yourself, you’re ensuring that everything is constructed just as you expect. You don’t need to think about a pre-made barrier, not fitting your criteria. Another advantage is making sure the measurements fit just as you expect.
Another advantage is being able to adapt the divider according to changing needs. For example, if your dog tries to get past the barrier a lot, you can provide the necessary reinforcements. Knowing that the barrier’s quality is within your control makes a difference.
Ben was born and raised in Bend, Oregon. Because of that, he is really enthusiastic about the outdoors and just loves every activity associated such as rock climbing, rafting, and skiing.