Dog Enclosures: How to Keep Your Dog in a Safe Area

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Are you looking for a way to keep your dog safely confined? Dog enclosures have many benefits for you and your fur buddy. There are several options for enclosures, from pet gates to crate training your dog. Know what to look for before you invest in a dog containment system for your home.

Benefits of Dog Enclosures

Outdoor enclosures protect your dog from danger yet give them the freedom to run and play. They can chase a teasing squirrel without running into traffic. Even a well-trained dog can panic when scared by fireworks or thunder, and they might race out of your yard and get lost. Encountering stray animals or wildlife can also expose your dog to disease or injury. Outdoor enclosures help to avoid these sticky situations.

Indoor enclosures protect dogs from chewing dangerous items. They also work well as part of dog-proofing your home. New puppies need constant supervision to prevent potty accidents — or worse. Confining your new pup to acceptable and easy-to-clean areas of your home helps them adapt to their surroundings. It also helps with introductions to other animals in the house. Read on to learn more about common options for indoor and outdoor enclosures.

Kennels

A kennel provides an outside living and play area. It's built to last as a permanent outdoor structure. Kennel designs vary from wire, wood, stone or cement and often include a cover to protect your dog from the weather. Kennels are usually large enough that you can enter to clean the kennel area and interact with your dog, and they often have enough room to contain a dog house. The spacious, airy feel helps dogs more readily accept confinement. Kennels offer a secure outdoor area without the expense of fencing the entire yard.

Black lab runs in a backyard with a tennis ball in his mouth.

Crates

Crates work best for temporary indoor confinement, and they often double as your dog's bed. They come in wire, plastic and soft-sided varieties and can be sized for tiny pups to large dogs. Wire crates offer the best view for your dog, as plastic and soft-sided crates often block vision. Some wire crates also include moveable dividers to expand in size as your puppy grows. Your dog needs enough room to stand up and turn around in their crate. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers provides a crate size guide to help you ensure they'll have enough space. Crate training your dog offers a terrific way to potty train pups, too.

Dog Gates

Dog gates confine your dog in specific areas of your home — and keep them out of others. Like baby gates that keep kids away from stairs or other dangerous areas, a doggy gate helps your pet stay where you want them. Most doggy gates are adjustable. Install your gate so that your dog can't crawl underneath, jump over or push through it with their body weight.

Traditional Fences

Many dogs love to roam. Fencing your property means you don't have to chase them down when they go outside to play or relieve themselves. Fences come in different materials, from metal to wood, and you can choose a design that complements your house. Match the height and style to your dog's size, athleticism and individual requirements. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding between a wood and metal fence:

Wood

  • Usually costs more
  • Dogs can't see through it as well, making them less likely to bark and become protective of the barrier
  • Dogs may chew the wood
  • If your dog likes to dig, they may be able to dig underneath it and escape

Chain-Link

  • Generally costs less
  • Dogs see everything through chain-link barriers and may get frustrated or increase barking
  • Some dogs learn to climb chain-link fences
  • Chain-link set into the ground can foil digging dogs

Training Your Dog to Enjoy Dog Enclosures

Teach your dog to love their enclosure. Make the area their favorite place in the house by following these six steps:

  1. Place bedding inside, including a T-shirt you've worn so they have your comforting scent.
  2. Show them a puzzle toy stuffed with a favorite treat. Liverwurst, aerosol cheese and peanut butter are common favorites.
  3. Let them sniff and lick, then toss the toy inside the enclosure. Shut the door with your dog outside so they can't reach the treat.
  4. Let them beg for a short while. Then, let them in and close them inside for five minutes.
  5. If they beg to come out, let them out — but shut the treat inside. They'll soon decide they can put up with the dog enclosure if it means yummy treats.
  6. Slowly increase their time inside the enclosure.

For dogs who bark in outdoor enclosures, ask your mail carrier to help. Have them toss treats to your dog and only walk away once your dog stops barking to munch. By following tips like these and considering your enclosure options, you can feel confident making the right choice for your canine companion. Dog enclosures keep your dog secure. With a little training and a lot of love, your dog will become comfortable in their happy place.

Contributor Bio

Amy Shojai

Amy Shojai, CABC

Amy Shojai, is a certified animal behavior consultant, and nationally known authority on pet care and behavior. She began her career as a veterinary technician and is the award-winning author of more than 35 prescriptive nonfiction pet books. 

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