Designing and organizing around big dog crates

These dog crates are the bane of my existance. Surely I can't be the only one who has a room that I'd like to look decent, but there's this big whonkin' crate (or in my case, two big crates) that just kills the space: You can't really put anything on top of them in an organized fashion, though ours of course become dumping grounds for stuff. You can't really use the wall space behind them for anything other than decorative stuff since the crates are so deep, and anything decorative kind of loses its appeal when above a set of wire dog crates filled with ratty blankets.

I'd love to find some way to build some type of functional or spiffy looking enclosure, but I'm fresh out of ideas. Has anyone here done anything cool that's helped to minimize the ugliness and sheer bulk of a dog crate?

FYI, we tried stacking them at one point, to save on floor space, but our pit/whippet mix is too old to make it up stairs or a ramp, and our other dog, a giant pug (purebred rescue but longer/taller/heavier without being fat than any pug anyone has ever seen), well... we joke that he's a bully in the streets but a total wuss in the sheets - he was too scared to attempt to go up anything we tried to build.

Help! I need ideas! Help!!

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Anonymous on Sep 09, 2009:

I put a wood top on my foster dog's crate and turned it inot a table. I used a table top that used to be an oak kitchen table that i got for free off of craigslist that was in great shape. I removed the base and put the top on his crate. you could do this idea as a table space in any room or for a smaller crate as a side table. If you wanted to you could even cover the sides and back with more wood or a cloth. I did this for my foster dog who has his crate in the kitchen. It has provided me with another great work space and place to keep appliances. I have a power strip near by so when ever i need the blender, food processor, toaster oven, etc, I just come over to his crate table/work station. plus he loves it because he ends up getting a lot of scraps when I am cooking. I have gotten several compliments from this idea.

denisemichelle on Jan 14, 2007:

Regarding the <a href="http://www.cratehaven.com/about.htm">nice crate solution</a> you found- it looks like one could possibly alter an existing piece rather than build from scratch, perhaps try with a used endtable from Craigslist or Goodwill to practice?

erinn on Jan 14, 2007:

My friend puts throws or tapestries like the inexpensive ones they sell at Urban Outfitters over her doggie 'house' (crate).  She has her dog supplies (leashes, toys, brushes, etc...) in a nice basket that she keeps on top.  It's in her dining room.  And I have to say with just the tapestry and basket on top it is not annoying to look at.  Plus the tapestry lets in some light if Olivia needs to be in there during the day.

jasimar on Jan 13, 2007:

Take some 2 x 4s and frame out a box just slightly larger than the cages.  After that you can dress it and top it any way you like.  Upholster the frame and slap some glass or plexi on top for a nightstand.  Faux finish the frame and chicken wire the inside (still safely outside to the pups) for a breathable but interesting switchup.  Senseless said it first, I just fancied it up a bit.  Good luck!

designmilk on Jan 12, 2007:

I have the same problem - I have a large dog crate and a small dog crate. I have a small room that I have just given up to the dogs. There's nothing I can do about it because crates are just hideous.

Senseless on Jan 12, 2007:

Why don't you get some 3/4 inch birch plywood and make a box that the crate fits in loosely like the picture from cratehaven?  Stick a table cloth and a lamp on it if you need to hide your craftmanship.

Georgetownhouse on Jan 12, 2007:

hair/smell/drool... add to that an increasingly incontinent elderly dog. We wash the blankets for young dog weekly, for old dog sometimes daily, but old dog in particular needs something soft to lay on.

Fortunately both of our dogs are totally comfortable with their crates, including when we have them in a corner or covered with a blanket, and they don't see them at all as punishment. Crates just simply aren't optional in our house because young dog is a purebreed pug rescue who was probably abandoned because he is an obsessive marker, and old dog is, as I said, old and incontinent.

And honestly though, if a dog reacts negative to the crate (even if "boxed in", covered, in a corner, etc.) my experience with rescued dogs is that it's probably more about associating it with some specific traumatic experience, or from only being put in there when he was "bad" and being yelled at or swatted or worse. Most crate trained dogs love their crates because it's very much a canine instinct to seek out a small dark place - instinctually, it makes them feel safer.

I just wish the dogs were smart enough to do their own laundry and clean up their own hair and messes!!

dentedvw on Jan 12, 2007:

Oh yes, we have the same problem. Another issue is that to be fair to the dog, you should have it out in the open, as opposed to in a corner. Being in a corner could make a dog feel like crating is punishment, and they will not know what they did wrong. Same goes for boxing it in. Some dogs have no trouble with this, but some others will react very badly to it. I know I wouldn't like to spend much time in a dark box hidden in a corner. :)

We have ours by our couch, but when we have a lot of company over, we simply remove it, put it on the porch. So, we have not found a permanent solution either. Only time our dog is in it is when we leave him alone. Still, they are too large to move each time. We eliminated the blankets because they would collect too much hair/smell/drool.  

Georgetownhouse on Jan 12, 2007:

Ok, well I found these but the price is waaaay out of my league.

Anyone know how to build something that will look decent but not require master cabinetmaker skills?

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