Dog PenMost owners know that using a dog pen is necessary sometimes. And that there are different styles of dog pens suitable for different purposes and at different times in your dog’s life.

By following a few simple rules, owners can choose the right style pen for their dog’s needs and to ensure their health and well-being.

Indoor Dog Crates

These typically are wire-framed with a removable base tray. They are primarily used indoors but can be used for some basic transportation such as to or from the Vets. Other good uses for dog crates are as:

  1. An open den area where the dog feels safe and secure in a happy space.
  2. A training aid particularly for toilet training or when puppies need to be left safely alone.
  3. An area of short-term containment when no adult supervision is possible for the pet.
  4. A space advised by a Vet to aid recovery of the pet following ill-health or surgery.

A dog crate should never be used as a sin bin or punishment area. It is a nice safe place to go not a jail. So add soft bedding; include safe chew toys; provide water in a non-tipping bowl; and site away from direct sunlight and draughts.

When selecting a dog crate always think of the ultimate size of the pet to get the most use. With cross-breeds this more difficult and you may need to replace if it becomes too small. Any crate needs sufficient air flow through it and to be of dog safe materials.

The RSPCA has an excellent downloadable leaflet on how to train your pet to see a crate as a safe place.

Exercise Pens

When the sun flitted back into life over the weekend, it brought a reminder of the summer to come and the fun that dogs can have in exercise pens in the garden and elsewhere.

The first thing to consider with exercise pens is whether you wish to transport it. This is about its weight, ability to load in the car and how small/simple a package it is when folded outside of its original wrapper. If it is only for your own garden then consider its size so that it fits to allow all the other uses of a garden. Its position should enable a mix of light and shade as the sun moves round. Other size trade-offs include the height of the sides to prevent jumping out and overall weight and rigidity to reduce movement of the pen by the pet.

Exercise pens come in 3 materials, plastic, metal and mesh. Plastic offers a reasonable durability for its cost, but is typically lightweight and ‘chewable’. Metal is higher quality and makes it harder for the dog to push it around or to lift up. It is also good for outdoor use if it is well-designed and made from rustproof materials to avoid sharp edges. Mesh typically offers a more welcoming and comfortable environment and through design and choice of materials reduces chewability. When used with pegs, mesh pens can be secured to one position at home or elsewhere.

What is key to remember with exercise dog pens is that they are no substitute for your daily walk for you and your pet.