Dog Crate vs Dog Pen: Which Is Better?

It’s an exciting experience when you bring home a puppy for the first time, but what happens when you have to go to work? You can’t really allow a small puppy to run free in your house, not only will the puppy have accidents, but it might eat toxic plants, swallow and chew on everything you don’t want it to touch (such as walls, shoes, furniture, etc.). This could lead to the puppy getting seriously ill or injured.

In order to keep your puppy safe when you cannot supervise it, your puppy must be contained in an enclosure so it does not get into trouble. This is where dog enclosures, usually known as a dog crates and dog pens, come into the picture.

Dog crates and dog pens are great tools for providing comfort and safety for puppies as well as for preventing problems such as housetraining accidents and inappropriate chewing. Both have benefits, so how do you know which is best for your puppy?

Each option has its pros and cons, so you should carefully consider what’s best suited for you, your puppy, and your lifestyle.

The Difference Between Crate vs Pen

Dog Crates

Dog crates come in a variety of sizes and materials. While dog crates are generally designed for indoor use, you can use them outdoors under supervision. Think of the dog crate as your puppy’s safe place, where it can rest and relax.

In addition, dog crates are ideal for trips by car or plane. Even the best-behaved dog will require a dog crate from time to time, so it’s a good idea to introduce dog crate-training as a puppy. Because of their small size, dog crates are perfect for potty training as the majority of dogs naturally won’t do their business where they sleep.

Dog Pens

Dog pens, on the other hand, are portable fences that can be used both indoors and outdoors. Unlike dog crates which have limited space, there is plenty of room for your puppy to stretch out, eat, drink, and play, as well as space for a pee pad during the potty training process. Metal, plastic, or heavy-duty cloth are the most common materials used in dog pens. Many dog pens feature individual panels that can be added or removed based on the size of your puppy. As most dog pens don’t include a top, you’ll need to make sure it’s tall enough to prevent your pet from jumping out.

Pros And Cons Of A Dog Crate

Crate training a dog is beneficial for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is housetraining. Puppies rarely, if ever, litter their bed or space. If the dog crate is set up as a resting area, the puppy will hold off on doing its business until it leaves the crate. This gives you control over where and when your puppy defecates.

Dog crates are useful for travel, boarding, trips to the vet, and during emergencies. Providing a crate for a new puppy who is afraid of you or its new surroundings can help it feel more secure as it adjusts.

A dog who has been properly crate trained will be less likely to develop separation anxiety later in life. Crate training teaches them how to self-comfort, so that as long as their crate is available, they have a safe place to go even when separated from you.

Pros Of A Dog Crate
  • Potty training in a small, comfy space helps the process.
  • Many puppies learn to think of their crate as their personal space where they can rest and relax when they’re tired, anxious or overwhelmed.
  • Excellent use for travel purposes. Crate training in advance will ensure that your doggy feels safe and comfortable in his crate for short and long trips, whether you’re visiting the vet or driving across the country.
Cons Of A Dog Crate
  • Some puppies might dislike the crate at first, which can be frustrating for pet owners.
  • Puppies need a toilet break about every one hour per month of age. So they can only be in the dog crate for short periods of time. If you confine a puppy in a crate for too long, it will have no choice but to urinate in the crate, and it can be very difficult for you to train it not to do this in the future.

Pros And Cons Of A Dog Pen

When you need to keep your puppy confined for more than an hour or two, a dog pen is the best option. Dog pens are spacious enough for your puppy to move around comfortably, and you can even add a puppy pad to provide it with a place to relieve itself while you’re not around. A dog pen also allows you to move it from one place to another without needing to puppy proof an entire room.

Pros Of Using A Dog Pen
  • You can easily assemble it.
  • You can adjust the size to fit your puppy as it grows.
  • Enough room for a bed, food and water bowls, and toys to keep your pet busy.
  • The dog pen gives you a peace of mind knowing that your puppy is safe and secure, while you can focus on other tasks.
  • When you need to be away for an extended period of time, such as while working, dog pens are the better choice because it provides puppies with ample space to move around and have a puppy pad.
Cons Of Using A Dog Pen
  • Ineffective for toilet training because of too much space.
  • Puppies that are energetic, active, or large may learn to climb or jump out.

Conclusion

Dog crates and dog pens serve different purposes, so neither one is better than the other. Dog crates serve as a designated space for your dog, it should never be used as a punishment. Dog pens, on the other hand, let your puppy roam about safely in a smaller area of your home. Whether you need to keep your dog off the floor during repairs or when you need it out of the way for a few minutes, these dog enclosures are perfect for a variety of situations.

In most cases, combining dog crate and dog pen training yields the best results, because your puppy will get exposed to different forms of containment at home.

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