Size Up The Perfect Den Space For Your Golden Retriever

Size Up The Perfect Den Space For Your Golden Retriever

According to the American Kennel Club’s list of the top 20 most popular dog breeds in the United States for 2024, the Golden Retriever makes an impressive showing at number 3. When you break down some of the Golden’s most common personality traits, it’s easy to see why so many families can’t wait to bring these gentle giants into their homes and their lives. They’re well known to be gentle, friendly, easygoing, great with kids, loving, loyal, and intelligent – all characteristics that make for an excellent four-legged companion.

Bringing Home Golden

For families preparing to bring home their first Golden Retriever, there’s a lot to be excited about! You’ll need to research the best food for your new best friend and find a great veterinarian to oversee their health throughout their lives. Golden Retrievers are known to shed quite a bit, so investing in a high-quality brush is important. As puppies, Goldens can be high energy, so plenty of toys, a sturdy leash, and scoping out a few great dog parks is recommended.

Size Up The Perfect Den Space For Your Golden Retriever

After all those days spent chasing balls and wrestling with dog friends, they’re going to need a place to retreat and relax. This is where your crate comes in. Pet parents will need to find a high quality, destruction-proof, and safe crate, then figure out what size dog crate for golden retriever you’ll need.

This crate will be your new pup’s den space, and it’ll give them their own area they can use to decompress, rest, and keep themselves safe from any anxieties or puppy temptations they might face.

How To Choose The Right Size Crate For Your Golden Retriever

Next to safety, size is the next most important consideration when choosing a crate for your Golden Retriever. According to the Animal Welfare Society, dogs are natural den animals. This means that they seek out small, cozy, private spaces to comfort themselves, sleep, and wind down.

It might be tempting to think “As long as the crate isn’t too small, my dog will like having the extra room!” While the thought process makes sense, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your dog’s den shouldn’t be too roomy, and it’s the closeness that gives them those feelings of comfort and security they crave. If you’re housebreaking a puppy, too much space may also stop you from using your crate as a housebreaking tool. Pups naturally don’t want to “mess” where they eat or where they sleep, but a crate with too much space may provide them with an “elimination” area away from their sleeping spot.

It might also be tempting to “take a guess” and buy a crate without measuring your dog, but this also runs the risk of getting a crate that’s too small. Even a crate that’s just a little too small can be uncomfortable or even painful for your Golden Retriever, making it anxiety-inducing or dangerous for your dog.

So how can you figure out what size dog crate for Golden Retriever you will need? It starts with breaking out the measuring tape!

The first measurement you’ll want to take is from the tip of your dog’s nose all the way to the base of his or her tail. This is your dog’s length measurement. After taking the length measurement, you’ll want to take that same measuring tape and ask your dog to stand up straight on all fours. Using the tape, measure from the bottom of the paws all the way to the top of the head, and this gives you your height measurement.

With your height and length measurement, you’re ready to start looking for the perfect sized crate. It’s important to note that you don’t want a crate with the same measurements as your dog, as you want to give them enough room to stand up straight, turn around, and lay down comfortably while in their space. Instead, choose a crate with a height and length about 3 to 4 inches larger than your dog’s measurements according to the advice of the AKC. For instance, if your Golden Retriever is 24 inches tall and 30 inches long, you’ll want to seek out a crate with a measurement of around 28 inches in height and 34 inches in length. If the crate isn’t exact in measurement – that’s okay – and pet parents should err on buying a slightly larger crate rather than a slightly smaller one.

Size Up The Perfect Den Space For Your Golden Retriever

Crate Training Your Golden Retriever

While some Golden Retrievers will take to their new crate straight away, others will need some gentle training to get used to enjoying their crate space. Crate training your Golden Retriever is relatively easy, particularly with this dog breed’s notoriously gentle and people pleasing nature. To crate train your Golden:

  • Let them get to know the crate first – If you have a Golden Retriever puppy or a rescue Golden, and your dog has no crate experience that you know of, you’ll want to help them get acclimated to their crate first. Have the crate in a happy, safe, and calm place in the home, and allow your Golden Retriever to sniff, investigate, and explore the crate as they please.
  • Encourage them to go inside – Once your dog feels comfortable around the crate, you can begin to encourage them to go inside. Using a treat or a favorite toy, place the “tempting” item inside the crate and encourage your Golden to go inside. When they enter the crate for the item, respond with happy voices, praise, and lots of positive association.
  • Feed inside of the crate – You can further this positive association by feeding your dog inside of their crate. Mealtime is a happy time for any Golden Retriever, and placing their bowls inside of the crate for mealtime helps them to think happy and excited thoughts about the space.
  • Make the crate cozy – Making the crate more welcoming helps to up the comfort factor for your dog. A tough crate pad gives them a soft place to lay, a crate fan can help to keep them cool, and (if safe) a soft toy provides them with a familiar comfort item they can enjoy while winding down.
  • Get them used to “closed door” time – Once your Golden Retriever has become acclimated to their crate, and they associate it with positive events, it’s time to try giving them a little closed-door time. Start by remaining in the room with them, and only close the door for short intervals of 30 seconds to 1 minute. Encourage your dog to go into their crate, close the door, and stand by the crate counting to your desired time. Once the time is up, give your dog a treat or plenty of praise (or both) and allow them to come out.

    The closed-door time starts with short intervals, and pet parents should work their way up to about 10 to 15 minutes of calm crate time before moving on to the next step.
  • Try leaving the room – Once your dog is calm in a closed crate with you in the room, it’s time to take the next step. Your dog should be comfortable in their crate while you’re not home, and this means getting used to being away from you and calm in their space at the same time. Encourage your dog to go into their crate, close the door, and leave the room for a short period of about 5 minutes to start.

In some instances, a dog might be completely comfortable at this point and able to handle crate time away from you. In others, the dog may need to get used to being in their crate and away from their pet parents. For the latter sort of dog, start with just a few short moments and work your way up to about 30 minutes to ensure your dog is comfortable.

Size Up The Perfect Den Space For Your Golden Retriever

Why Crate Train Your Golden Retriever

Before figuring out what size dog crate for Golden Retriever you might need, some pet parents might be wondering “Should I really bother to crate train my Golden Retriever?” Not only is the crate something your Golden will take to naturally for comfort and security, it’s also a tool that you can use to ensure your dog’s safety through the years.

First and foremost, a crate can help to stop a dog from giving into their temptations or anxieties. For puppies, exploring the world around them is fun and irresistible, and this includes exploring their surroundings with their mouths. Keeping young dogs crated when they’re unable to be watched carefully can save them from accidentally ingesting or destroying any potentially dangerous items around the home.

The crate also serves as a cozy bed for your Golden Retriever while you sleep. Young dogs in particular can feel tempted to “explore” during the night, leaving them with plenty of potential hazards while you’re at rest. Additionally, a dog might decide that waking you up for a midnight potty trip isn’t worth the effort, so they’ll sneak away to mess somewhere in the house instead. Having a comfortable crate to serve as a bed for your dog during the night solves both of these issues with one single tool.

Crates also allow for safe travel for your dog. A crash-tested crate can help to provide security and peace of mind in the car, while crates also make air travel possible for larger dogs like Golden Retrievers. Also, should you ever need to evacuate your home for any reason, like in the case of a natural disaster, many shelters will welcome dogs as long as they’re able to be kept in crates.

A Golden Retriever is a best buddy for life, and investing in the right crate is investing in the ability to give them the best life possible.

Back to blog