If you are a dog lover and intend on getting a new puppy, you’re probably curious about the training process. Raising a puppy needs a high level of commitment and time, and patience. Being a dog parent necessitates making significant decisions about your dog’s well-being. One of these decisions also entails the dog-parent choosing between a pen or a crate?
This brings us to the dilemma of deciding whether to invest in a puppy pen or a crate!
Puppy training can be a challenge, but it is a crucial part of ensuring that you share a healthy, long, and fulfilling relationship with your pup. It can also turn out to be an enriching and rewarding experience if done right. It is essential to start training your puppy as soon as possible and be consistent with your commands and rewards. It is also helpful to find good tips and tricks to help yourself establish a good foundation for your puppy’s training.
Pups can be trained in many ways, including the employment of positive reinforcement, which uses rewards such as treats, petting, and verbal praise to encourage desired behaviors.
What Do You Need To Know About Getting A Puppy?
When getting a puppy, you will need to have a lot of patience. It will take time for the puppy to get used to its new home and for you to train it. You will also need to have a lot of supplies, including food, water, a bed, and a collar and leash.
Most dog-parents are working and, for other reasons, required to stay away from their homes. In such cases, it is crucial to bring up the puppies in a disciplined fashion so that you are carefree and your pup’s safety is guaranteed. Among these things, you would need to decide whether to get a pen or a crate for their pups.
Also Read:- 6 Best Dog Houses for Large Dogs in 2023
Why Does One Need A Puppy Pen or A Crate?
A puppy needs a pen or a crate to have a safe place to stay when its owners are not home. A puppy pen is an enclosed space dedicated to helping your pet learn to function independently.
A pen is a way to keep your puppy safe and contained when you cannot supervise them. Pens can be purchased at most pet stores and can be easily set up in a designated area in your home.
Crates are also an excellent way to keep your puppy safe and can be very beneficial in housebreaking your pet. Crate training can be started when your puppy is very young and will help teach them to have bladder and bowel control.
Give your pup their secure haven to grow and flourish.
Which One is Better?
To say which one is better or worse is a difficult question to answer. It ultimately depends on your dog’s requirements. However, a puppy pen is a great alternative to a crate for some puppies. It allows them to have more space to move around and can be used for both training and confinement.
Nonetheless, it is essential to know about their respective qualities and the advantages and disadvantages of two.
Pup pens ensure that your dog is safe and contained while you’re away. To begin with, these can be used to train your dog’s basic commands and behaviors. These are typically wire or plastic and can be easily assembled or disassembled.
These become the best refuge for your pups in places with extreme weather conditions. Depending on the situation, you can use it indoors or outdoors, and an amazing way to offer your dog some more space. It also helps to keep your dog cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Also, many dog parents like to customize their dog’s pen to fit their dog’s size. The shape of the pen and the style of the fence can be adjusted to meet the needs of the home where the pen will be maintained.
Your dog needs their own place, and any space that isn’t pleasant enough to stay is pointless. These are a great way to keep your dog safe and healthy and can help to prevent them from getting into trouble.
The most significant advantage of having a pup pen for your pet is to ensure their safety when you are unavailable to take care of them. Pups, especially the hyperactive ones, tend to create mischief around the house.
As mentioned before, it is a safe haven for your puppy, and the private space grows on them. Once they make this space their own, they are to be found taking refuge in this place. Be it taking naps after a day of being extremely active or on days when they are down with the flu. It is crucial to allow them to be on their own in such a scenario, or else they turn into rebellious ones that are aggressive and prone to attacking unfamiliar people.
One of the numerous benefits is that when your puppy outgrows the use of the pen, it can be folded up and stored easily. They may become bored and restless if they are confined to a pup pen for long periods of time. It is important to expose them to free and open spaces.
Puppy pens are meant to provide a safe space, but it is important to understand that pups need not be restricted or confined to pens meant to give them independence. Of course, if they are not taken out regularly to relieve themselves, then the pen may end up getting soiled too soon. It is important to clean your puppy’s pen frequently and maintain the cleanliness for their well-being. For many busy parents, cleaning a pen could turn out to be an added tedious task. Nonetheless, it is a necessity.
Another disadvantage is that it tends to heat up rather quickly in extremely hot weather conditions. This could be a cause of your discomfort for your pup, and they may not like the idea of staying in there, eventually.
Space crunch is always an issue with such enclosed areas. You need to ensure that there is enough space available where you can let your pup’s pen remain undisturbed for as long as possible.
In addition to pens, you also have the option of a crate to raise and train your puppy. Crates are also made up of metals, plastics, and other fabrics. They are mostly rectangular in shape. The major difference between a pen and a crate is in their purpose. While a pen is used for a longer duration of time and is an internal part of your puppy’s training, a crate is used for a short time.
Crates are comparatively smaller in size, and you can use a crate to confine your puppy or dog for a short time span. For instance, dogs or puppies may feel dizzy when traveling. Therefore, if you wish to travel with your pup, you can always use a crate to carry your pup.
Just like pens, many dog owners prefer crates to train their puppies. Crates are also useful during house training of your pups, as crates assist them in learning their boundaries. Keeping a puppy in its crate helps ensure that they are aware of their limits and help them be obedient.
To begin with, pups require a sense of security, and an enclosed crate ensures just that. Be it while traveling or in an outdoor setting that is unfamiliar to pups can lead to discomfort and a feeling of insecurity. Crates can come in really handy while traveling.
Secondly, crates provide a sense of order and predictability, which is especially beneficial to puppies who are still learning about their environment and the people and animals in it. Lastly, crates can be a valuable tool for housebreaking puppies.
You would not want your pup to unintentionally ruin your furniture or curtains or any other items in your home. It is important to let them stay in a crate till they become manageable and house-trained. They help you keep your pet under supervision.
Like a pen, a crate has its own disadvantages, and some of these are quite similar to that of a pen. To begin with, it can be a costly affair, and dig a hole in your pocket. Also, you’ll have to space out a substantial area to keep it, not only when in use but also when you need to store it.
Keeping it clean and tidy requires effort, and it will need to be properly sanitized after a trip.
It can make some puppies feel claustrophobic and restricted, but once they find comfort in crates, there is nothing better. It’s vital to limit the amount of time that pups use it if they don’t like it initially, as it may get highly uncomfortable at times.
What is The Difference Between A Puppy Pen and a Puppy Crate?
The primary aim of a pen is to limit your puppy to a specific area. It is specifically beneficial during the training stage as it allows puppies to move around and yet stops them from reaching out to some places. This enables them to memorize the do’s and don’ts to be followed in the house. The majority of people use these techniques during the early years of pups to inculcate potty habits and designate a potty area for the puppy.
The primary aim of a crate is to ensure that your puppy is safe and in its own comfort zone during long hours of traveling. If you are in an unfamiliar setting, then a crate can help ease the stress and apprehensions of your fur baby and allow them to stay comfortable in their familiar space – their own crate.
When to Use a Dog Crate?
As an owner, you should always let the crate remain open, so your pet feels like spending his time there as per his wish. Together with young kids, this is especially crucial because it gives your dog a peaceful, private space wherein he won’t be interrupted.
Also, staying in the crate may help your puppy feel more at ease. If you keep them alone for brief times instead of letting them freely explore an ample space or the entire building alone.
1. Ensure your puppy’s safety if You Can’t Watch Over It
Putting your puppy in a crate for quite a long duration may eliminate the possibility that they may be in problems, like biting power lines or eating dangerous, poisonous, or unappetizing materials in your home.
2. Safeguard Your Possessions If You Are Unable To Monitor Them
Every puppy at a young age tends to bite the things that remain in his vicinity. They love to put their teeth on everything in every corner and chew things they should not. As a result, important documents, money, and everything come under the radar.
3. When You Have To Be Attentive Toward Your Children
In case you have a toddler or baby in your house, you generally have to be very attentive toward them. However, puppies and dogs tend to be very lovable toward kids. But at times, they can cause some problems for the kids.
They can accidentally injure the kids while playing with them. At these points, keeping them in crates for safety is a better option.
3. While Giving House Training
A puppy’s natural desire to maintain its bed spotless may be utilized to your benefit to hasten the house-training procedure.
Typically, it would be best if you kept a close tab on your puppy. Watching for signals that it needs to relieve itself and acting swiftly to transfer it to the appropriate location outdoors.
However, there is a reasonable risk you’ll misinterpret the indications when you can’t keep a close eye on your dog, and your puppy can have disasters within the house. And every small mishap you’ve skipped is an occasion to guide them in your desired direction.
They will keep it till they are able if you put them in the box while you can’t observe them. Then, while you accompany them outdoors, they will be required to relieve themselves, and you can compliment them for taking the correct path.
They will understand what you require them to carry out more quickly. And the housebreaking procedure will move faster when you compliment them for urinating in the proper place.
4. Keep The Crate As A Paused Device
You may put your puppy inside the crate until they are peaceful and have gained the upper hand if they’re really agitated, become a little bit snappy, or when this happens frequently.
Don’t use this as a punishment for your dog; instead, maintain composure and use encouraging language.
5. For An Eventless Travel
It maintains their composure, provides safety in a collision, and shields the person from being distracted by a loose dog within the vehicle.
It’s also incredibly helpful while you are on vacation with your dog and need to prevent them from being in trouble by having them confined to a spot they are used to and feel at ease in.
When to Use a Dog Pen?
Though crates are preferable for dogs, sometimes dog pens are a good option. This brings us to the question of when a pen should be preferred. Let us have a quick look at the probable scenarios.
1. Over Four Hours Of Reclusion
Dogs must be capable of changing positions frequently, like people, to maintain their biological well-being and relaxation. Use a dog pen instead of a dog crate when you have to restrict your dog for several hours so your pup may turn about and stand up properly.
2. Putting A Stop In The Residence
Instead of “puppy-proofing,” you might erect a dog corral. This makes it possible for you and your dog to be separated, not requiring extensive ahead planning. It moreover allays the anxiety of overseeing it while you do other activities, like cooking, bath, or other chores.
3. Putting Limits on Exposure While not Being in the home
When you are in the house and visiting some other place, be it a neighboring house or traveling for a long distance, a dog pen is the best option.
In the dog pen, a dog can shift according to his own will, which helps in a long journey. Otherwise, a pup will not only feel bored but will also feel suffocated.
Crate Training vs. Pen Training
Giving a little dog free reign of your home is unsafe. When you own a puppy, particularly one relatively small, he must develop a sense of security in a small area. He may gnaw on any object in addition to having mishaps. In addition, many puppies suffer from severe illnesses due to their guardians giving them too much liberty too young.
How to Crate Train Your Puppy?
A crate is where a dog often loves to have his me time. You need to follow the below-mentioned steps to crate train them.
- The sitting room is a common family function spot in your home, so arrange the crate there. Inside the crate, place a cozy duvet or mattress.
Allow the dog to examine the box at their own pace by removing the lid or leaving it unlocked. Most dogs would be naturally curious and immediately begin to rest in the box.
- Start feeding your dog its usual food close to the crate after establishing them to it. It will make the crate seem nicer in your mind.
You can shut the door when your dog is munching while resting securely in its crate.
Let them complete their lunch the first time you do this, and then release the door. Then, with each subsequent meal, keep the door shut a little bit longer until they spend around 10 to 15 minutes in the crate after dining.
- You can restrict your dog somewhere for a short time when you’re around. And ensure that they have consumed their average amount of food there without showing any agitation.
- You can begin keeping your furry friend in the crate for a short time when you go away from your house for a short while. Ensure they can stay there for around half an hour without being confused or scared.
- Take your dog to the crate using your standard instruction and a goodie. When you own a puppy, placing the crate in your bedroom or close by in a corridor would be a smart option.
- Puppies frequently require a trip outdoors at midnight to relieve themselves, so it’s essential to be able to hear them whenever they cry out to be taken outdoors.
How to Pen Train Your Puppy?
The allocated area should be presented to your puppy analogous to how you used their crate to ensure they form a favorable connection.
Follow the steps written below to pen-train your puppy.
- Introduce your puppy for a stroll or a toilet break.
- Provide your puppy a plush Kong and or premium dog toy and place them in their playpen.
- Let your puppy be by itself with their tasty gift for a couple of moments. Create no great issue out of letting them alone there.
Your dog is more likely to experience separation anxiety the further you stress about departing. You can complete this phase while staying at home or only leaving briefly.
- Allow your dog to leave their area shortly after they’ve finished emptying their kong. You need your dog to realize that people arriving and departing are nothing to be alarmed about, so maintain your comeback quiet.
- Repetition of the earlier steps will allow you to progressively extend the time your puppy is left unattended. Repeat this several times daily. Once your puppy gets more comfortable in solitude, you can begin by being out of the house for brief periods.
Throw out the garbage or read your mail. Take baby steps and progressively advance to conducting quick activities or getting them out of school if you’ve got kids. At the same time, your dog relaxes in his bubble.
It entirely depends on the time you are considering. Crates typically function effectively at nighttime. When you want your puppy to relax, not play, keeping it in a tiny area increases the likelihood that he will call you up to use the restroom.
Nevertheless, a puppy pen is a better choice during the day.
Of course, they can but specifically if you want to put it somewhere for a longer time.
To maintain their natural well-being, dogs, like humans, must be able to switch positions frequently.
A dog pen that expands can be helpful.
You can rest assured that your pet is located at all times, what they’ve been enjoying, and that they are given enough space to enjoy securely. It is a dog’s safe haven where he sometimes prefers to be.
You shouldn’t stress about having a puppy playpen as a regular fixture in your house; your puppy won’t have to have one eternally. Since sleeping is crucial for growth, your puppy will probably want multiple short naps regularly. You can utilize the playpen as a secure location for them to do so.
He can easily roam around the house when he is nearly a year old.
By this time, the puppy mostly gets adequately educated and will learn not to cause damage. In addition, your dog will be greater likely to maintain proper biting and toileting practices if they have been housebroken.
If a puppy is young and little, it is best to keep your dog out of the playpen for up to two hours. Puppies struggle with solitude and even have a poor motor function, especially after recently leaving their mommy and many other pups within a group.
A crate is the more favorable sleeping place for a pup.
Typically puppies adapt better in a crate lined with a cozy bed or other furnishings. As you take little rest, crates protect your young one contained and safe from distractions and hazards.
A puppy pen is the most useful one during the daytime.
It will teach it when it’s vital to be by itself. Additionally, there must be a location for the puppy to go when you can’t watch since it is too difficult to anticipate what he’ll get into when you take a quick break.
Both of these have distinct features, advantages, and disadvantages. But every dog is unique in its ways. So please bear in mind that not all puppies are comfortable with these methods.
Even before you decide on whether to go for a pen or a crate for your puppy, it is required to have a clear understanding of both of these. Pens are mostly made up of metals and have a number of panels which can be arranged into different shapes. Puppies do not understand much about commands and instructions regarding space. Rather, they keep wandering over the whole house, which can create problems for others. Hence, a pen or a crate is used to keep them away from any danger in the home premises.
Hi, I’m Walter,
I live in Oklahoma City, USA, and have extensive dog caring and grooming expertise. In addition, I provide dog training tips and tricks through my blogs in Canine Weekly. I have a Dog Behavior and Training diploma and have previously worked as a Dog Trainer at ROC Animal Training and Behavior and Tip Top K9 of OKC Dog Training.
Apart from writing on Canine Weekly, I share my views on Twitter and Linkedin.