Dog crates are an incredible training tool. They make potty training much easier, but you need to make sure the crate is the right size for your dog. While there are great cheap and affordable dog crates, most of those can’t stand up to escape artists or heavy chewing. If you want to save money, it is best to buy a crate that will fit your puppy as an adult and use a divider to make it the appropriate size for your dog as it grows. If your crate didn’t come with a divider, you can easily make your own.
Why Use a Divider
You may be wondering why you need to bother. Dogs won’t pee or poop where they sleep! Well, if the dog feels like it has enough space, it may do so. This is particularly true for puppies in an adult-sized crate. They feel like they have plenty of space. This can make it hard if you are trying to train your puppy to go outside. Instead of buying multiple crates as your puppy grows, you can just buy one of the best dog crates and use dividers to restrict the space to be the perfect size for your puppy. Using the right size of a crate can make your crate training go more smoothly. An easy solution, however, is to choose dog crates with dividers.
You can also use dividers to make it easier for multiple dogs to share a single crate. While some dogs enjoy sharing a crate, this isn’t universal. Some dogs prefer their own space. Dividing the space can also help a nervous dog feel more secure. Dogs love to feel hidden and snug, so using a divider can help make your dog more willing to use the crate.
How to Measure for a Crate
Your dog needs to be able to turn around and lay down without getting caught or scraped up. The size of your puppy decides how much space a cardboard divider needs to block. First, measure your dog to the shoulders while your pup is standing. If your dog is 15 inches tall at the shoulder, you need a crate that is at least 18 inches tall.
Next, measure your dog from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. This makes sure your dog can easily turn around. If your dog is 24 inches from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail, you need a crate that is at least 27 inches. Most crates list their measurements in listings, so you can easily tell what size your dog will need. It is not bad if the crate is taller than you need, but it must be larger than the length measurement you got. If your dog is still growing, look at the standard size for the breed or ask the breeder about the parents’ sizes. If your dog is a rescue and you aren’t sure, always opt for bigger and use a divider inside. Use our ultimate guide guide to dog crate sizes for clearer reference.
Dog owners may be wondering if the design of the dog’s crate or the locations of the doors matters. It can change how large of a divider you need and how to position it. If you are splitting up a crate for multiple dogs, the locations so the doors will decide how you divide the space. If you don’t have a puppy crate and are just trying to make a regular sized kennel smaller for your little pup, you may have to change your design depending on where the doors are. If the door is on the shorter side of the crate, it is easy to make the space smaller for a puppy. If the door is located on the long side, you may need to change how you divide the space or use multiple dividers.
Consider How to Build the Divider
Generally, you want to buy a crate that will work as your dog grows. Some crates do come with a divider, but you may need multiple or find that your dog can easily dislodge the divider that came with it. If your dog doesn’t like seeing the extra space, you may want to use a solid dog crate divider to discourage your pup from trying to reach the other side of the crate. Make sure you know how to place and remove any dividers you use so you can easily make the dog crate smaller.
Where you position the divider will also depend on how your dog likes to rest in the dog crate. If your dog likes to stretch out along one wall, you may want to position the divider to give this long space. If your dog tends to curl up, you will want to make sure there is enough space. If the kennel has a crate tray that your dog pushes out on occasion, you may want to design the crate divider so it can’t be pushed out or give access to all of your dog’s crates.
Cardboard is a great choice if your dog doesn’t tend to chew. It is easy to cut yourself with box cutters or scissors and you can easily trim it to fit. It is also easy to punch holes to secure the divider. However, puppies can easily chew through it. The inks in printed cardboard can easily make your dog sick. If you just need a quick dog crate divider while you find a better option, make sure to use unprinted cardboard and check it often so you can replace it.
Wood can be a great choice, but you will need a way to cut it and drill holes to secure it. Otherwise, you need to pay to have the woodcut drilled at a home improvement store. You also need to sand any edges so your pup can’t get a splinter. Never use treated or painted wood since your dog can become ill from chewing on it. Most wood will also not stand up to heavy chewing. You also need to watch out for ingestion since eating wood can result in a vet visit.
Plexiglass dividers tend to be the most durable, but also the most expensive. They tend to stand up to chewing and will last the longest. The main downside is that it is expensive and you typically need special equipment to work with it. You will likely need someone with experience to make a proper crate divider.
Making the Divider
It is easy to make your own crate divider from cardboard. Scissors or a box cutter are perfect. Just make sure you cover the edges with duct tape to help keep your dog from accessing the edges and fraying them. Wood needs a saw typically and needs to be sanded down to prevent splinters. Plexiglass needs to be cut at a shop. Your divider also needs holes on the top and sides to help secure it. You can easily use a pencil or nail for cardboard, while wood typically needs a drill but a nail can work. Just make it large enough to fit zip ties.
Use the holes to help secure your divider with zip ties. Cut the excess off and make sure as little as possible is accessible to your dog. You can install dividers easily either by opening the top if possible or fitting it through the door.
If you know your dog has crate anxiety or is destructive, that can help you decide how to design and place your divider. Escape artists need a secure divider to help prevent them from using that as a way out . Anxious or destructive dogs need sturdy, heavy duty crates or those specially designed escape proof dog crates.
What can I Use for a Crate Divider?
Cardboard, wood, or plexiglass tends to be the best options. Pick the best material for your dog crate and budget.
How do You Partition a Dog Crate?
Using a dog crate divider that came with the crate or you made tends to be best. Position it to give your dog just enough space to move without an issue.
How do I Make My Crate Smaller Without a Divider?
You can either fill the space or make your own crate divider. Use non-porous materials for flooring and make sure your dog cant move whatever you choose to use for filling horizontal space.
Do You Need a Divider in a Dog Crate?
If you bought the right size for your dog, you don’t need a divider. However, it can make it cheaper if you use a divider rather than buy more crates.