Should I get a puppy playpen or a crate?
Puppy playpen is a portable fence that can work equally well in your living room or back yard, giving your dog a safe place to sleep and play. There is usually enough room to accommodate food, water, dog’s bed and possibly potty pads, along with some space to romp around in. Puppy playpen has no flooring of its own and most don’t have a cover, so the sides need to be tall enough to prevent escape.
Dog playpen is great for teaching your pup which objects are his toys (and therefore he’s allowed to chew) and which objects are yours. While he’s in his pen he gets to play with his toys a lot and doesn’t have access to anything that he shouldn’t chew. If you only let him out of the playpen under your supervision for the first 8 months or so, he will come to understand the difference.
If you buy a crate it will usually be smaller than a puppy playpen (unless you have a small breed and you buy a large crate), but it will contain flooring (and sometimes a removable tray for easier cleaning) and will have a closed top. Properly sized crate will only have enough room for your pup to turn around in and lie down comfortably.
Choose crate if:
- You will only need short-term confinement for the puppy (up to four hours per day)
- You don’t need an exercise pen for pup to play in because you either:
- Have a room in which there is nothing to chew on and your pup will spend majority of his time in there.
- You will supervise the pup every time he is not in the crate, so he won’t be able to learn to chew shoes and furniture
- Your primary concern is housetraining. Not having a puppy playpen will require you to spend more time closely supervising the pup which means you will be able to show him appropriate place to potty when he needs to go.
Choose playpen if:
- Your dog would spend in his crate more than 4 hours per day. You will feel better if you leave him in puppy playpen, knowing that he cannot get into trouble, but still has enough room to romp and play.
- Your dog is already house trained OR you will train him to use indoor potty area which you will put in his playpen OR you intend to supervise the pup until he understands where to potty.
- You already have a crate, but you want a safe place for your dog to play in while you’re otherwise occupied. You can take playpen with you to the kitchen or backyard so that he can be in your company without requiring your attention.
- Have small children (put dog in exercise pen every time you cannot closely supervise their interaction).
Personally I think that puppy playpens are indispensible. I particularly like big sturdy ones like North States Superyard 3 in 1, because puppies grow much faster than their brains mature and if a 7-month old adolescent pup can escape from his pen, well, then we didn’t accomplish anything, did we? You can learn more about this playpen by clicking here – it gets great reviews from others, too!
However, if you have a small breed you will want something that has less space between bars. Midwest E-coated Black Exercise Pen has been getting some really good reviews, but since it can’t be attached to a wall like North States Superyard it is somewhat less effective against dogs or pups of bigger breeds who might be able to move it. Unlike North Superyard, this pen can be climbed by a determined puppy, so make sure the size you buy is at least two to three times taller than an adult dog to discourage climbing somewhat. CLICK HERE to find more about this exercise pen.
Also, check my article about training your pup to love his play pen, so you can deter puppy from climbing.
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