are playpens good for puppies

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One of the biggest challenges for new puppy parents is trying to figure out how to keep their little pups safe and contained while they are busy or away.

You are probably thinking about the various puppy confinement options and dog playpens might have crossed your mind.

But, are playpens good for puppies? In this post, we will dive deep and explore both the advantages and disadvantages of playpens for puppies.

Keep reading to find out more on how to properly use playpens for confining and training your puppy.

6 Advantages of Using Playpens for Puppies

1. Generous playing spaces

A playpen provides your puppy with a larger free area to roam, play, eat, and sleep compared to a dog cage.

Dog pens come in an assortment of sizes and designs. If you have a hyperactive puppy, then you can choose the one with a roomy interior to give them the freedom they need.

If you need a minimally designed one, then you’ll find exactly what you are looking for to make your puppy happy.

2. Keeps your puppy secure

Nothing beats the peace of mind of knowing that your little pup is safely sheltered in a protected space when you are away or busy doing your house chores.

Puppy pens provide a humble and secure space for your puppy to spend their time and play. They also prevent them from running into all sorts of things around your house, especially in the kitchen and bathroom areas.

3. Reduces stress and anxiety

Most playpens are made with meshes that allow the puppy to see what’s going on in the house from the interior space.

Pomeranian in a playpen
Photo Credits: Amazon

This helps to escape the stress and anxiety that could have built up if the little pup were to be kept lonely in an enclosed room.

4. Puppy training

Dog pens are a great tool to use for training your puppy as they grow older. You can use them to create a designated potty area for them and this will help them in establishing a clear pattern of what is expected from them.

Learn the importance of training your puppy and how it will impact their future behavior in adulthood.

5. Helps in socialization

You can use a playpen to help introduce your puppy to their new environment, and visitors, or even when bringing a new pet to the family in a controlled environment.

This will help them pump up their confidence and prevent any scuffle from occurring due to their territorial nature.

A new house/apartment can be too overwhelming for a little pup to maneuver and learn their way without guidance.

Setting up a puppy playpen in your new house will help your little pooch adjust to their newfound home in a reserved manner.

6. Highly customizable and versatile

Playpens can be highly customized to help you handle any specific situation with your puppy. You get one with a built-in potty-training tray or another with a removable cover for easier access.

Just think about it, you can use one to restrain your pup during house cleaning, or you could use it to create a designated spot for your puppy to relax in.

The options are simply endless. The key factor is to find a suitable product that can be adjusted and fitted in various areas, to ensure you get the most from them.

Playpens are great accessories for puppy owners to help them out in training and restraining their furry friends when need be.

Make sure to consider the size, materials used, and design of the product when choosing the one that will serve you.

Disadvantages Of Using Playpens for Puppies

1. Boredom

If you don’t set up your puppy’s pen with lots of stimulating items such as toys, then you risk making them bored to tears while inside.

Most puppies are hyperactive and with a lot of energy to burn throughout the day. They need to be physically and mentally stimulated, even in their pens, to keep them healthy and in good shape.

A bored puppy can easily develop destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, biting, and chewing on the playpen’s mesh.

2. Separation anxiety

If your puppy associates the playpen with you leaving the house, then that may cause them to develop separation anxiety.

Your pup will seem to get uneasy every time you pull and set up a playpen for them because they know it’s time to remain lonely in the house.

Dog in a playpen
Photo Credits: Amazon

The best way to help tone down this possibility is by using the playpen in several ways, and not only when you want to step out of the house.

We suggest that you should not depart from the house immediately after putting your pup in the playpen. Place them in and stay back for a minimum of 5 minutes while walking around the area before leaving.

By doing this, your puppy will not associate the playpen with separation.

3. Escape artists could get injured

If you have a puppy who is energetic and full of life, then they might try to break away from the playpen and this might lead to serious injuries.

It is always good to supervise the puppy in their pen and discourage them from climbing out by making the playpen area more attractive.

4. Long confinement

It’s very easy to forget that you had put your puppy in a playpen once you arrived back home. This is especially more likely if you have a laid-back pup who doesn’t like making noises or playing too hard.

Extended confinement might make your pup get fidgety, develop stress/anxiety, or just become a social misfit in your home.

Keeping them edged out for long could also make them disassociate from family members, other pets, and the outside world.

The age of the puppy (in months) should directly match up to the maximum time (in hours) you can keep them in a playpen. For example, a 4-months old puppy can be penned for a maximum of 4 hours a day.

Holding up your 6-months old pup for more than 6 hours a day is certainly not good for their emotional and physical well-being.

How To Properly Use a Playpen for Puppies

A puppy pen is an awesome tool for keeping your lovely pup safe and contained when needed in one area.

But, how do you use a playpen to keep your young dogs happy and comfortable? Here are some of our tips and tricks on how to properly use one:

1. Set it up in a comfortable area

You wouldn’t want to set up your puppy pen in a stuffed area without comfort and ventilation, would you?

Instead, you should choose a leveled & roomy space with enough lighting and airflow to put up your pen.

The area should be free from hazards such as falling objects, electric cords, or near delicate items.

You can also liven up the interior space of the puppy’s pen by placing a comfy bed with a soft blanket for your doggo to rest when tired.

2. Supervise your puppy

Putting your puppy inside a playpen is not a ticket to leaving them alone without watching over them. It’s always recommended to get back and see how your furbabies are doing and what you can do to make them feel much better.

Watch out for signs of distress and seek ways to address them immediately before they take a toll on their emotional and mental health.

3. Furnish the playpen

What better way to make your pup love their playpen other than furnishing it? Don’t let your puppy’s space look boring even for a second.

are playpens good for puppies
Photo Credits: Amazon

I mean, put in some tasty treats, chew sticks, and interactive toys without forgetting some stuffed Kongs for added fun.

Let your young dog know that there is no other place that beats the pen when it comes to fun activities. A furnished pen is more appealing to younger pups and it also helps in fighting boredom.

4. Check on the time spent in the playpen

Don’t leave your puppy in the playpen for extended periods. Follow our guideline above on confinement timing to ensure they do not become fidgety and anxious in the process. 

5. Introduce your puppy gradually to the playpen

It is not uncommon for puppies to resist embracing a playpen for the first time. You should therefore look for creative ways of introducing your puppy to a playpen gradually.

The most important thing is to help your young dog create a positive association with the playpen and the designated area.

By doing this, you will not only help them settle in quickly enough but also mold them into loving their zones and accessories.

You can use the process below to introduce your puppy to their playpen:

1. Take your puppy for a bathroom break. You don’t want any accidents inside the pen area.

2. Open the playpen and place your puppy inside with a gentle touch.

3. Give them their favorite toy, treats, or stuffed Kong to help in positive reinforcement.

4. Close the pen and stay around the area for a few minutes. Your little pup should not be aware that you are planning to let them stay alone. If you take off from the area immediately, then the puppy will become restless about what just happened.

5. Leave the area for a minute or less, then come back and release your puppy from the pen. We recommend that you make the return before your little pup chomps up their treats. This allows them to associate playpens with humans coming and going.

6. Repeat the steps (2 to 5) while progressively increasing the time you let your puppy stay alone in the playpen.

7. Make sure to practice this a few more times every day and gradually take things higher by leaving the house for a few activities in your yard and back. Upsurge the sessions by including short errands (like groceries shopping) in this training and observe how your puppy reacts as you progress.

Note: It is completely normal for your puppy to bark loudly or whine when left alone in the pen. How you handle this will determine how fast they settle in their new accessory.

Do not give them immediate attention when they bark. Doing this will teach Fido that any form of barking will get them the attention they require anytime.

Let them stop the barking and wait for at least 15 seconds before you can go and see what’s going on.

In Summary

Are playpens good for puppies? Yes, they are very valuable for training and keeping your young pup contained while you are away.

But there’s a caveat; it will also depend on how you use them. Playpens map out a comfortable and protected space for your puppy to play and explore.

You should however be careful not to leave your dog in there for too long since they could get bored and develop anxiety.

It’s also important not to fully rely on dog pens as a substitute for regular exercises, playtime, and bonding sessions with your puppy.

Written By

Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.

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