Your Poodle's Crate
One of the best investments you can make for your new poodle is to get him a crate (also called a cage or a kennel). Once he becomes accustomed to it, it'll be his own safe haven, a place he can go whenever he's stressed or wants to get away from it all. If you travel with it, he'll always feel at home.
Unless you want to buy more than one crate, buy one that will be large enough for your poodle when he's full grown. While your pup is small, use a concrete block or something similar to make the crate small enough to be effective as a housetraining tool.
Types of Crates
There are several types of crates from which you can choose. Plastic or fiberglass crates — the ones airlines accept for shipping a dog in the cargo hold — are preferred by dogs that enjoy a more den-like atmosphere. (One of the reasons dogs love crates so much is that they're descended from wolves, and wolves make dens.) These crates are especially sturdy, if not ultra-attractive. They come apart in the middle (the top and bottom halves are screwed together), and the two parts can nest for somewhat easier storage.
The wire crate has a more open feel to it. A poodle that is crated in a wire crate feels more a part of what's going on in the room around him. Many wire crates have the advantage of folding flat, making them easier to transport and store. They're typically quite sturdy.
A third type of crate is the travel crate or carrier. For Standard and Miniature Poodles, the Cabana Crate or a similar crate works well. They're made of mesh and nylon and fold quite flat. They're lightweight and perfect for travel. But they're not escape-proof. A determined dog can chew his way out or open the zipper. Nor are they crush-proof — they don't provide as much protection in the car as plastic or wire crates.
Toy Poodles can be carried in a Sherpa Bag or a SturdiBag, which are great for air travel if you carry your pet on the plane (but unsuitable if your dog and crate are checked as luggage). These bags, which can resemble duffle bags, are also lightweight and easily carried — even with a small dog in them.
If you're looking for a crate for confining your poodle for short periods of time when you're not at home, this third category is least appropriate. But once your dog is comfortable and reliable in his crate, travel crates are invaluable when you travel together.
Improper Crate Use
Crates are wonderful things. But you can't confine your puppy in one all day. If you leave him in his crate so long that he's forced to soil it, you lose the crate as a housetraining tool. And it's just not a nice thing to do to your poodle — dogs instinctively do not want to lie in their own waste (which is what makes crates so handy for housetraining). To keep your pup's crate from becoming a prison, you'll need to leave him in a safe area for long-term confinement.