It’s always a super exciting decision to add a puppy to your family. They are endless sources of love and laughter.
They truly are man’s best friend. However, as we all know, dogs aren’t for Christmas’, or birthdays, or just a spur of the moment decision.
It’s a big responsibility – they’re for life. And for as much joy as they are bound to bring to your life, they’ll bring just as much chaos and disruption. It’s a good job we love them.
This is why crate or pen training a puppy is absolutely vital. But which one is best for your four-legged friend? It can be a hard decision to make.
You’ll have some people that will swear by playpens and others that are categorically cage-biassed. But honestly, the best-case scenario is to have your little pup well-accustomed and used to both cages and playpens.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both options to see which one seems best for you.
Playpens vs Crates
When you first bring that little bundle of energy and cuteness into your home, the last thing you’ll want to do is confine them to either a crate or a playpen.
But it’s important to understand that we do so in order to protect them and it’s really important that you get them used to being in a confined area comfortably.
Think of it this way, your home is filled with hundreds of items that your little pupper is going to want to bite, chew, swallow, sniff, lick…you name it.
They’re inquisitive little things. But a lot of the items they can get their hands (or nose and mouth) on, are actually really harmful to them.
Placing them in a playpen or crate stops this from happening and is especially important when you’re at work or out running errands. It’ll also save you a whole lot of mess and stop several accidents.
I’d always say that a cage is a much better option come bedtime so that they don’t have the space to keep themselves awake and preoccupied.
However, during the day, a playpen gives them a little more freedom and comfort to stretch those little legs of theirs.
Advantages Of Pen Training
Pen-training. It should really be called pen placing since there really isn’t all that much training involved. All you have to do is pop your puppy in their pen along with plenty of toys and chews to keep them preoccupied, and voila.
In most cases, though not all, your puppy is probably already used to a playpen. You’ll find that most breeders will keep their litter safe and together inside a playpen. So, in most cases, your pet will already have the hang of a pen.
Playpens are great because they have the perfect balance of space. They are big enough that they can easily have a good run around their pen. They can stretch those legs and get those muscles working.
They have enough space to be on their backs, their bellies, and any other weird and wonderful position they please. You can add toys they can fight with and food they can nibble on. So it’s safe to say there is definitely enough space.
With that being said, though, they are also not so big that they will encourage your puppy to go toilet while inside it.
Discouraging our little pups from peeing in these pens is essential, so where possible try to refrain from placing pee-pads in the pen (see also ‘5 Reasons Why Your Dog Pees in Their Crate Overnight‘).
Instead, try to keep scheduling in toilet breaks and reinforce the idea that they should not be going to the toilet in the home.
Advantages Of Crate Training
While having all that space to run around and play in the pen is great during the day, when it comes to bedtime…not so much.
You want to try and get your puppy into somewhat of a sleep schedule, and that will never happen in a playpen. There’s just too much fun to be had.
So if you want to be able to fall asleep without the sound of a puppy running around with the zoomies, you’ll want to pop them in a crate come nighttime.
This is because they’ll realize pretty quickly that there’s not much else to do in the crate but snooze. Crate training is proven to help puppies sleep better through the night and even stops night-time accidents.
Getting your pup used to a crate at a young age is also kind. This is because there are instances in their life where they may have to spend the night in a crate, such as the dreaded overnight stay at the vets.
And if you’ve got a superstar performer in your midst, then they’ll need to be caged during competitions while waiting their turn. Not only this, but cages are also by far the safest method for travel when it comes to your four-legged friend.
When it comes to your puppy, the best way to make the house feel like a home is to give them a little more access.
However, in those early stages of their life, they just don’t have the immune system or ability to be running around your entire home – there are too many dangers.
Luckily, the space provided by a playpen is more than enough. Playpens are a much better option during the day than a crate as they allow your puppy the much-needed freedom he deserves.
However, as the night draws near, you’ll be wanting to fall asleep, and that will be increasingly hard with a young excitable puppy running laps around their pen.
This is when the crate becomes a much better option. Because there is a fair amount less space, your puppy will easily and effortlessly fall asleep – and in most cases, sleep through the night too.
So when it comes to the age-old question of whether you should get a playpen or a crate the answer is both! Utilize the benefits of both and allow for a happy dog during the day and a sleepy boy or girl come bedtime.