I read all of the positive and negative reviews before ordering this crate with cover. It was packaged well. The instructions were clear and set up took 10-15 minutes. It is really roomy and my 73lb Bulldog went right in. The wood looks great and the cage is strong. I use only the front gate, so I put zip-ties on the side door latches and top opening, although I don't think it really needs it.
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Other than that, one should never forget that events like thunderstorms and fireworks can be very frightening for dogs – some might even try to escape from the yard. In such circumstances, our canine friends tend to hide wherever they can – behind the couch, in the closet, under the bed, and at many other places. They seek areas that are small and enclosed since the cramped walls around them give them a feeling of safety and security.
Also, many customers who were considering crate training bought this and found it to be very successful, with one purchaser saying, “Anyone that is considering crate training to PLEASE do it! Your dog will be happier [and] you will house break him or her quicker.” The rave reviews were from an owner who had easily used this crate to train her puppy.
One owner notes that the only major difference between this crate and higher-end models is that the door locks could potentially be opened if a dog pushes the lever with their tongue. And indeed, several owners have noted that the locks weren’t able to keep their Houdini hounds in check. However, one individual notes that you could simply zip tie or caribeaner the lock if escape is an issue.
The Smithbuilt cage is well established. It has a tried and tested track record of many customer reviews. So you can feel comfortable with what to expect. Beware of other cheap cages that do not have a good number of customer reviews. You’ll have less reason to have confidence in whether it’ll be suitable or a complete waste of money, or even dangerous for your pet.
Addendum added January 28, 2013: My vet had never noticed these carriers because I had never put one up on the exam table until my last vet visit. She looked at it with interest and totally concurred with my opinion of having a small, but open carrier for my two (panicky) cats. She has seen more than a few overheated pets in too enclosed carriers. Since I live far from the vet I always carry spare towels for the bottoms of the carriers and she found that the "stable floor covering'* I use was an additional comfort feature for my pets long trip to their appointments. (I just ordered the larger size of this carrier for my "Phat Kat" and will donate her previous carrier to our local animal shelter.)