On the Fence About Crates? Opt for a Puppy Pen

6 puppy pens recommended by positive-reinforcement dog trainer Aislynn Ross. Because we all need boundaries!

by Cory and Jane Turner
October 13, 2021
Puppy sitting in a white puppy pen
Kira_Yan / Adobe Stock

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Speak with any Certified Positive Reinforcement Trainer for a few minutes and you’ll likely hear the phrase “set your puppy up for success.” That’s because pets, like humans, respond well to positive affirmations, and laying the groundwork for your new relationship early on can make all the difference. But how do I create this foundation, you might be asking? It’s all about getting ahead of the curve and eliminating possible negative distractions so you can spend your time rewarding all the good things your pup does.

Why give your puppy all the options in the world when they couldn’t possibly know the difference between a Jimmy Chew toy and your very expensive and very real Jimmy Choos? Instead, help your pup make good choices by setting boundaries, both literal and figurative.

One go-to tool that trainers count on is a puppy pen, otherwise known as an exercise or play pen, which separates your pup from any possible troublesome temptations. As the name implies, your puppy will begin to recognize this as a space where only good things happen — play, exercise, enrichment toys, learning, and rewards. Never for punishment, isolation, or a time out.

“Puppy pens are a life saver for new puppy owners,” says Aislynn Ross, Certified Dog Obedience Trainer. “Puppy pens help so much with housebreaking, teaching them independence, and keeping your pup safe.” It can also be used to thoughtfully manage interactions with children, new people, or other dogs, keeping your puppy and other members of the household feeling safe and secure.

From soft-sided portable pens to convertible room dividers to aesthetic-friendly wooden versions, there’s a range of options to suit you and your puppy’s needs. We’ve pulled together six puppy-friendly pens that will set both you and your new dog up for success.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

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cory and jane turner

Cory and Jane Turner

Cory and Jane are daughter-mother partners in just about everything including co-founding Dogly, a platform for pets and their people to live well together. They’re parents to a family full of magical rescue dogs and a bossy street cat from Shanghai who are their resident muses, testers of all things, and advisors on the meaning of life.