I just got a new puppy and was wondering if I should start out crate training him with a big crate to use for his entire life or get a smaller crate just for the beginning.
From the Editors of The Dog Daily
One reason why crate training works is because dogs instinctually avoid soiling the places where they sleep. If your crate is too large, your puppy could just go in a corner and then move to another spot in the crate. Also, the crate is meant to be a rest area and not a house of play. Large crates promote the latter, again ruining the training process.
A good rule of thumb is that the crate should be large enough for your dog to turn around in comfortably. It should be sturdy, so look for crates with metal bars, or a high-impact plastic body and metal grate. Your puppy may belong to a medium or large breed that will require you to invest in another, bigger crate later, but some dogs can use the same crate throughout their lifetime.
Before placing your puppy in its new crate, encourage it to go to the bathroom. Next, place a soft blanket and a few toys in the crate, creating a welcoming environment for your new pet. Initially, only put your puppy in the crate for short periods, rewarding with a treat snack. Your pup will need to get used to the sense of confinement while also associating it with pleasant things.