Puppies, Dogs & Crates
My Answer: No need to send any crates in advance, we have so many crates it would boggle your mind. Literally, we have a stack of them consuming a corner of our basement. We will begin acclimatizing the pups to crates shortly after they get under their own power. Primarily we will use plastic airline kennels to get the pups started since they will be more likely to chew wire crates, and this isn’t a behavior we want to get ingrained at the start.
That Orvis crate looks to be a nice one, but with a pup...I have a hard time recommending it as an initial investment. You could get lucky and It could be just right the right size, or it could end up being a bit small. All of our adult dogs have quite large wire crates so they can lay comfortably when we are away, but when they are pups, they aren’t given such luxury. I did recommend looking on Facebook marketplace, or any other comparable source, for used crates, in particular "life-stages" crates which have a movable panel which will help with potty training. With these "life-stages' crates you can make the puppies space smaller when they are tiny and move the divider to make their space larger as their needs evolve and their bladders strengthen. Then you can either fold it up or sell it once you are done with it.
As I have mentioned in my book, Drents will be really close to full size at around 11-13 months of age. Boys, in particular, will still be filling out: gaining bone and muscle mass up until possibly 3 years of age, and his coat will continue to develop pretty much his whole life, but his adult coat could take until he is 3 or 4 years of age. Females will be done much closer to 18 months but will also likely see some coat development as they age, but to a much smaller extent than the boys. With Drents, it is important to realize a certain amount of Sexual Dimorphism is common in the breed, with the boys being larger.
With our 2019 Powder X Joeri litter most of the litter will be close to the size of the parents as I have posted on the litter page. But with the Drent, there is a lot of variety, and some bloodlines have more than others and in this case on the father's side of the family, there is a greater amount of uniformity in size 23"-24" at the shoulder. On the mother’s side there are some really big boys. So, while it is unlikely, it may be possible we could see a 25" boy.
So for the home, in short, I think buying an adjustable kennel, or a series of the plastic bodied kennels is your best option for his first year. Clean, used, but well-maintained kennels are the best way to go until you know for sure how big he is going to be.
In writing this, I see where I totally failed John. I didn’t even touch on the travel part of kenneling your dog. When it comes to airlines, really, these requirements have become a moving target, and so checking with your airline of choice several months in advance is critical to ensure what you purchase meets their specifications.
What I will touch upon is crating for overland/highway travel. I am a huge fan of having my dogs crated while rolling down the road, it just solves so many problems before they even have a chance to rear their heads to become one! For road travel with Drents I am not in favor of wire, or folding wire crates. I have a friend and mentor who uses them, his dogs are small, so he has never had a problem. I used them and stopped after having the crates collapse at the least opportune time - they provided only an illusion of restraint. Another travel kennel to mention is the soft sided kennel. Like the Jeep Dog Kennel, I have used similar products in the past and I'm not a fan. Let me explain, a fabric kennel will only contain a dog that is okay with being contained. Zippers are easily popped, the mesh and fabric will only fascinate a chewer as they buzz saw their way through like a hot knife through softened butter. As far as using a fabric 'kennel' for travel to protect and contain your dog while traveling, they will most likely offer even less in the way of restraint and protection during hard braking or worst case, a crash than a wire kennel.
This is the reason I use Ruff Tough kennels, now called Ruff Land, kennels. I use their intermediate size, which is a bit small for our larger boys, and about right for the girls and they are strapped down to the “Hell for Stout” Carty Vault with 2,500# cargo straps. These days you can buy even tougher double walled rotomolded kennels, and you can spend as money on these as your budget will allow! I’ve never had a problem or heard of a problem with a “Ruff Tough” – they are tough as wood pecker lips. The smaller size I use isn’t the best for long road trips but does keep the dogs from being tossed around in the back country. Everything is a compromise, and I went a bit towards safety over comfort.
Old Dogs Rule
Paxson will soon be thirteen years old. He is surprisingly healthy, but his rear-end just isn't really with the program so much. So we took Paxson Double Barrel Ranch so he could get some action, and Booker was brought along for back up - as we were pretty much counting on the fact Paxson couldn't make the whole hunt. Also, we brought young Robert, my four and a half year old son, for his first pheasant hunt. All in all, a good time was had.
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I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Forty some years later this is what you get.