Dogs are den animals, and a Weimaraner started with confinement training early will love it for the rest of his life. I highly recommend crate training your Weimaraner from puppyhood. You always have the option of not crating a crate trained dog!
The best reasons to confinement train your Weimaraner have to do with safety and potty training. The mischievious and curious nature of the Weimaraner tends to lend itself to your Weimaraner (especially a puppy!) getting into things he shouldn’t and so comfortable confinement is essential for their safety. Using a crate is also the safest way to travel with your pet in your car. And, potty training is also a snap with the help of a crate since dogs instinctively do not want to soil their den.
Other reasons to confinement train? If you want to ever go on vacation without your Weimaraner, it is far easier when your dog is comfortable being confined so he can be boarded or even stay with a friend. Or what if your Weimaraner becomes ill and needs to be confined?
We all need a break from them sometimes! Confinement is perfect for time-outs for an over-exuberant Weimaraner , or around visitors who are afraid of dogs.
When you choose a confinement method, there are several things to consider discussed below. If you are like me, you may end up with several types!
Crates should be the proper size for your Weimaraner, and that means he needs to be able to stand up and turn around in it. For puppies, some manufacturers make barriers to temporarily reduce the size of the crate so that he can grow into the crate. A crate that is too big for your puppy can end up thwarting any house breaking efforts since your pup may start using a far corner of the crate to eliminate. Too big is just as bad as too small.
Even if you end up not using a crate, I highly recommend crate training and keeping a crate at home at all times, even if it is put away in the garage. Don’t rely on borrowing one because you never know when an emergency situation will arise.
Variocages are by far the safest way to travel with your Weim, and it’s been proven with crash tests. These just became available in the US, but are popular in Europe and have been proven to be very safe! They are expensive, but worth it!
The Petmate Compass crate is my favorite plastic crate for a couple reasons. The doors are hinged on both sides so you can open left to right or vice versa. It also comes apart easily with the top and bottom sliding together and only 2 plastic hinges at the back which interlock. This beats removing the dozen nuts and bolts used in other plastic crates, which makes taking them apart a pain for cleaning. (Ever have to clean up vomit in the middle of the night and having to remove what seems like a bazillion nuts and bolts?) This crate is also approved for airline travel.
The Wire crates can be easier to transport than plastic crates since they fold down. I like this one because it has two doors, and it also comes with a divider so your puppy can grow with the crate. Wire crates are a bit more versatile because uncovered, they allow a Weim full view of his surroundings, but can also be covered with a blanket if he prefers a more den-like atmosphere. Wire crates are generally cheaper than plastic ones and are easier to find used. They also make special side by side wire crates which are little narrower so they can be placed side by side in a smaller SUV. The disadvantage of wire crates in a vehicle is that they do rattle! However, if you can stand the rattling, they do afford your Weim better air flow from your AC on those hot days.
The biggest benefit of soft-sided crates are that they fold down easily and are very light. You’ll see this type of crate used often at dog shows, as well as at agility or obedience competitions since the trek from the parking lot to the grounds is usually far! And setting them up is a breeze. Be warned, however, that they are not for dogs who are not crate trained since they can be chewed through or torn.
In his book, Before & After Getting Your Puppy, Ian Dunbar suggests an entire setup for a young pup learning to be home alone. For long term confinement, he suggests an x-pen with a crate inside (door open), an appropriate chew toy stuffed with kibble or treats, a bowl of water, and a (temporary) toilet area at the opposite end from the crate.
These x-pens allow dogs more room to move around, and because they have separate panels, they can be configured into different “shapes.” As you can see in the photo, you can also attach a wire crate to one end. While I think it is far better to keep a young Weimaraner puppy in a crate while you are away, if it is impossible to let them out of your pup out of his crate frequently enough to prevent potty accidents, using a long-term confinement solution as described may work particularly for very young puppies who are physically unable to get over the x-pen.
I personally have not used indoor potty solutions, but there are a few different kinds on the market. My suggestion is to go to Amazon and read the customer reviews before making a decision to buy an indoor potty solution; some products have more than 150 reviews!