Setting Up a Puppy Play Pen / Preparing for the Puppy (Before you bring it home)

Puppy Play Pen

So you have picked out a breeder or puppy to rescue from a shelter or rescue group (NEVER FROM A DOG STORE – That supports puppy mills which are EVIL!).

Doing a little prep work before you bring your new furry friend home will go a long way towards helping you and the dog. Trust me when I say puppies take a lot of observation so having a safe area to leave your puppy in when you have to do something is very helpful.

Many people start immediately kennel training their puppy, but a pup can only hold its bladder for one hour for each month in age. So unless you want to get up a few times a night or need to be able to get away to do things, connecting a play pen to your dog’s kennel with room for a puppy pad is a fantastic way to go.

This also allows your puppy to have some room to move around a bit. This helps when the puppy wakes up and wants to play in a way that they can’t in the kennel.

Not only does this provide you with a safe place to stash the pup, if you set it up in a guest room, you can close the door and help the dog practice being alone. One of the more common problems Im called in to fix as a dog behaviorist is Separation Anxiety. By setting up a puppy play room like this, and feeding your pup and having it sleep there, you can help it practice being alone which should stave off any potential separation anxiety problems.

Its also a great way to kennel train your pup. As you can see in the pic and video above, the only soft place to lay down is in the kennel who’s door is always open. After a month or two of this, your pup has practiced being completely calm in the kennel. When you get to closing the door, most dogs don’t blink an eye.

While one play pen (pen of 8 panel sections) is fine for a young puppy (under 10 weeks), puppies grow fast. I have a spare bedroom I don’t use so I decided to order a second play pen off Groupon and connect them together so that as Quest grows, he has more room to romp around.

Having this larger play pen can also give you a nice training area to work in with your dog. So if you have the room, Id strongly recommend getting two play pens and connecting them together and to the kennel.

I picked up the play pen seen here from Groupon but it ended up being to small / unstable for a medium to large breed dog so I upgraded to a heavier duty 40 inch tall version once Quest got a little bigger. Here are links to both on Amazon:

Pet Trex Playpen for smaller breed dogs

Pet Trex 32-40 Inch Black Playpen.

I prefer wire kennels as they fold down into a smaller profile. The plastic ones are pretty flimsy so unless you have a small breed puppy, Id stick with the wire version.

The wire versions also allow you to observe the dog inside more easily which can be beneficial for some kennel training exercises. Make sure it has a door and you bring the pup in and out through the door otherwise you teach them to go up and over to get out and you don’t want that.

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