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When I was originally looking for crating options for my two dogs in the car I had quite a bit of issue finding anything for small cars. The advice was "get a larger car"...since this wasn't an option I thought I'd share my set-up for those who don't have the option of getting a "dog friendly" car.


I have a 2005 Hyundai elantra GT. It's a "half-assed hatchback", it does have a hatch but the "sporty" (LOL) curve of the back makes it useless for crates.

It was very important that I had room for both dogs AND luggage as I love to go on road trips and travel often to sell at shows needed to make sure I could bring my dogs, all of the my merchandise with the displays, and clothes. I wanted my dogs in the seat area as I felt it was safer if I was to get in an accident, both of my dogs are my companions and house dogs first.

I have a 55lb (will fill out to around 60lbs but stay lanky) lighter mal, Gambit, and a 55-60lb cattle dog, Ryuk, who's built thicker but is a much "smaller" dog that Gambit is.

PREVIOUS SET UP
I originally had airline crates which was fine for the winter but come summer my dogs would cook during training even with all doors open, sun shade up, fans etc. I could not fit the crate in the car in a way were both dogs could be in the back seat area. My ACD was crammed into a tiny 28 long airline carrier in the back seat while driving and given free access to the car when parked. This presented an issue for my ACD at training as he couldn't stay in the tiny crate but with the windows and doors open I couldn't expect him to stay in the car either. The tiny crate was needed because the way my car is designed if I put anything larger I'd be completely blind out the entire side. My mal was in a 32 long carrier which in addition to being a bit small for him, also placed him in the back crumple zone that would pretty much insured he wouldn't do so well if we got rear ended. It was also a horrible use of space and difficult to keep organized.

Ryuk (cattle dog)'s crate


Both crates in car (from the back, Ryuk's is behind Gambit's)



NEW SET UP

I found this wonderful 3-door crate on craigslist. This is the only type of wire crate I've been able to find with the doors on each short side that isn't strangely narrow. It's a 42 long with a divider and had to be unfolded in the car. It's on the seat (over a cover) as 1) the seat back contains hair and 2)when my seats are folded down it raises the base .5 in which is to short for the crate to unfold nicely. My dogs get along well, so the wire divider is fine, it would be very easy to make a solid divider if needed. I do have some heavy duty zip ties in place on the divider but they're not really needed. The pillows are for longer trips as it gets them to lay down and sleep. At training I leave them out and set up "hampster bottles" for each dog. They've learned to flood the bottom of the crate (which they can do no issue as it has a deep tray) and lay in front of their fans. The bottles are not left in while the car is moving as the motion of the car makes them leak.

ACD's side


Mal's side (someone thinks we're going to training)


From the back.


Drawer contains training stuff and emergency supplies (first aid, peroxide for accidental ingestions, muzzle, etc). Each rear passenger door has an emergency leash and collar tied to it. The two 1 gallon water jugs on the top are probably the best thing I've found in a while for water. They don't leak, I can fill them right in the car, and there is enough water there so that I can refill my own water bottle with no problems. The fabric thing on the left by my emergency gas container is a $24 pop-up crate from walmart that can actually hold my mal in a pinch, provided he's supervised and you tie it to something. Bag on the left is an evacuation bag/sleeping in car bag and basically a weekend bag for myself and the dogs with the blankets and supplies I need to sleep in the car in the dead of winter, there's a little foldable hand truck in there for people who forget them at the sales I attend, and a $10 cigarette lighter powered vaccum cleaner that does work very well for quick "de-furring" jobs when the rare passenger is wearing black. With only a little bit of rearranging I can fit my large toolbox and a suitcase back there for shows and everything is accessible.

The crate fits very snug in the car. I actually didn't have to do much to tie it down as there is no where it can really go. I was rear ended (super mild accident) a few days ago (no dogs in the car at the time)....it didn't even move. It is zip tied in some areas where I was concerned about collapsing.


I have combination locks for each dogs' door on the crate. It's so tightly fit that I can leave the windows all the way open if I have to stop quickly at a rest stop on the road and not worry with the locks on the crates. Even if you open the back doors you can't get really get into the front to unlock the front doors easily or quickly plug between the car alarm and angry dogs I make a quick stop at a rest stop to run in for take-out without much worry. I can see through the crates so it doesn't create any blind spots which is nice and my dogs get the headroom they should. I do have permanent "Beware of Dog" stickers on each back window with a little "Questions? Concerns?" note and my phone number. I find this has greatly decreased the number of times I've come back to my car with someone ready to put a brick through my window in the dead middle of winter claiming my dog was going to die of heatstroke...It was also very useful when I had the airline crates in the summer as you couldn't see the dogs in them and I had a few panicked calls seconds before someone was going to put bricks through my windows when my dogs weren't even in the car....which would have been very frustrating...
 

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Cool set-up.

Before I got my van, it was always a juggling act of crates and dogs - third dog in a station wagon took a bit of creativity to make it work. (set up third crate at club hanging out open hatch, take down crate and let dog ride in front seat to go home) Even with two dogs in the van, I still need to figure things out based on what other stuff I have in there and what crates I have available.

I like the idea of splitting a large crate for two dogs, though I don't think I've seen any with doors on both ends. What brand is your crate? I'll have to keep my eyes open for one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cool set-up.

Before I got my van, it was always a juggling act of crates and dogs - third dog in a station wagon took a bit of creativity to make it work. (set up third crate at club hanging out open hatch, take down crate and let dog ride in front seat to go home) Even with two dogs in the van, I still need to figure things out based on what other stuff I have in there and what crates I have available.

I like the idea of splitting a large crate for two dogs, though I don't think I've seen any with doors on both ends. What brand is your crate? I'll have to keep my eyes open for one.
It's a Precision brand crate, though Midwest makes one too and there's another company that markets them as "bathroom crates" for small apartment dogs but I'm not sure the quality, this one is made of very thick wire and seems quite durable.

They aren't carried in the big box pet stores so they're not as common but if you keep an eye on craiglist they turn up, usually with the "pet parent" types ....They're really popular as play pens for small purse dogs that aren't traditionally housebroken. The divider, if folded, can make a "potty area" and the multi doors make them easy to clean. I found mine on craigslist for $50 brand new, it even still had the "how to crate train your dog" DVD attached to it and came with a brochure and "starter kit" to train my "furry angel" to use her "private bathroom".
 

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