Many people confuse crates and playpens and how to use each one and what is it used for, and almost every dog owner is asking if a playpen is better than a crate.
The name itself of the playpen and the crate makes it clear that there is a big difference between the two. In fact, the playpen is complementary to the crate. You can use both the crate and playpen for your dog or you can use one depending on how you plan to train your dog.
The crate is considered a den substitute for the dog; a place that provides safety and intimacy where the dog can go when he needs to relax and feel safe.
The playpen, on the other hand, is as its name suggests a safe place for the dog to play. The playpen can also be used for many other activities and purposes.
However, you can’t really compare a playpen vs crate and say the playpen is better than a crate.
This article will be more about the playpen and not so much about the crate since I have already given plenty of details about crate training and the benefits of it. You can read this article or explore the crate training directory.
Nonetheless, we will be seeing how a crate is used briefly and will move on to the playpen. How you can use it and if it works for your puppy.
Some dog owners will be more interested in using the playpen as an alternative to the crate. So I will go on the details about if you can use the playpen to replace the crate and if it works the same way.
Are puppy playpens a good idea?
The puppy playpen is always a good idea, the dog is better off having a personal and confined space. Dogs will do much better if they have a personal space where they can relax which why we recommend crate training. but personal space is also great for playing and great for teaching the dog that some places are off-limits.
However, the use of a playpen is not as necessary as the crate. It will depend on your needs and your personal schedule.
Working dog owners have different needs and also those who have many pets or dogs in the same house.
The puppy playpen is especially a great idea if you already have dogs in the house and you bring in a new puppy.
You can have a new puppy walking around the house bothering older dogs; It could be dangerous if you are not around and they could never get along.
It is always better to confine the new puppy to a private playing area; where he could be safe and at the same time watch the older dogs and how they react within the house to learn.
The playpen is great if you are working full-time and don’t want to leave your dog loose in the house. It does provide a safe spâce where the puppy can play and walk around and at the same time, you can be sure nothing wrong will happen.
The playpen helps with teaching the dog that he can’t play or go wherever he wants in the house. It could be great as a training tool and also as a confinement area.
Playpen vs crate
The playpen is great when it comes to the extra space it gives compared to the crate. Although the use of a playpen is completely different than the crate. But still, it is a better place to hang out for an already crate trained dog.
I say already crate trained since while crate training you need the dog to be in his crate even during the day to create that bond with it.
Playpens don’t do a great job when you bring a new puppy home and you try to potty train them.
The extra space will certainly be used as a potting area and pads are the only solution.
Dogs are clean animals and would rather not eliminate where they sleep but if they have extra space they sure won’t make the effort to hold it. This is where the crate is a better option for new puppies.
When the puppy is capable of controlling his bladder and already potty trained you can use the playpen without incidents or pads.
The puppy is less likely to be crying or whining when a playpen which is very common when you start using a crate.
The playpen offers more space for your dog to play and move around when he feels like it.
You can have toys in the playpen and that will calm your puppy more and help him adjust.
The crate, on the other hand, is a more controllable environment than the playpen.
You can have two dogs in one playpen but not two dogs in one crate. But mostly it is better to use a playpen for one dog so he can feel intimacy.
Playpen instead of a crate
The playpen is very different from the crate and it is not just a larger crate. So using the playpen instead of a crate is not really possible as it doesn’t serve the same goals.
The main goal of the crate is to provide a safe and intimate environment that feels like a den. The playpen could never be a den since it’s too big and not intimate enough.
If you replace the crate with a playpen the puppy will make a den within the playpen and use the other parts to play or eliminate.
Some dog owners feel like crate training is cruel and if you feel that way check this article.
This is totally wrong and some dog owners feel like it’s more human to keep the dog in the playpen. This is not what playpens are for and no matter how big the space that you give your dog he will be denning up in the playpen.
The only time the playpen can be used instead of a crate is if you are crate training while working. Puppies can’t stay in the crate for more than a couple hours so the playpen is a solution if you have to leave the dog alone.
And even then it is better to have a crate that attaches to a playpen to give the puppy the opportunity to get in his crate if he wants.
The playpens that attach to crates are just great and make it really complementary to the crate.
I personally recommend this playpen(check the current price on Amazon) and this is the crate(click here to check the current price on Amazon) that attaches to it.
So a playpen is an exercise and play area that can not replace the crate.
How long can you leave a puppy alone in a playpen?
Unlike the crate, you can leave your puppy for longer hours in the playpen. The puppy has more space and can move around and enjoy playing with toys.
The puppy can also eliminate without having to hold it in the crate; However, this does not help with potty training.
A playpen is a great option if you have to work or leave the house or leave the house for a few hours and your puppy is still too young to stay in a crate.
What is good about playpens is that they provide a safe puppy-proof environment; where the dog can still walk around but be safe from anything that could be dangerous around the house.
The playpen could be as large as you have space in your home and that’s why you can actually leave your puppy in it for very long hours.
If you have other pets or dogs at home, a puppy should spend most of his time in the playpen observing other dogs and how they react in the house.
Puppies don’t yet have boundaries and don’t assess the danger properly; so you want them in the playpen especially when other dogs are around.
So basically the playpen could be a home for your dog where he will spend most of his time if you can’t be supervising all the time.
You only need to take him out to eliminate if you are there to get that potty training going and to walk out and exercise in the outdoor a bit and when you are available for some interactive play sessions.
Bottom line you can leave your puppy alone for long hours in the playpen with no worries.
What size exercise pen should I get for my dog
The size of the playpen you should get your dog will depend on many factors.
The size of your house or space where the dog will spend his time is a key factor. Since you can buy a playpen bigger than your living area.
If the playpen is going to be installed in multiple rooms during the day then you can get one as big as your largest room and then break it down a bit when you install it in a smaller room.
The great thing with playpens is that the size can be reduced and changed as you like. most playpens offer that option anyway.
The size of your dog is also a factor sure puppies a few weeks old are not that big but boy do they grow fast. Choose something that you don’t have to change in a couple of months.
I would suggest you get the largest you can fit in your house and then reduce the size according to your dog’s growth.
Besides, playpens don’t have a perfect size like crates where it should not be too big. Just give your dog some space where he can move around play take a nap and still has a place to eliminate if left alone.
Living in an apartment or a house is also a factor, it is great to have the dogs outdoor in a playpen; if you have a backyard or a garden you can get one big enough to let your puppy jump around and enjoy the outdoors while at the same time in a controlled environment.
There is also the number of puppies you will have in the playpen; if more than one then you sure need more space.
Should puppy sleep in a playpen?
When it comes to sleep the playpen is not actually made for that; it will entirely depend on how you train your dog and if you are using a crate or not.
A playpen is a place of activities and games not sleep, that does not mean the puppy can’t sleep in it.
Mostly they will take naps in there since puppies spend most of their day sleeping; However, at night, it’s not really the purpose of the playpen.
If you are not using a crate; then the playpen would be a far better option than just letting the dog loose in the house or a room.
It will provide a safe environment for the puppy to sleep and you can be sure nothing wrong could happen.
letting a puppy sleep throughout the night in an open room is not a great idea.
Should puppy sleep in a crate or a playpen?
This is a no brainer the crate is your first option, its what it’s for and a much intimate place.
The crate does a great job providing intimacy and can be covered to reduce outside distractions. The playpen is too open of a space to be considered intimate or a den.
If you let your dog sleep in a playpen he just will find a corner and den in it.
If you are crate training your dog the crate is the number one option. It also helps with potty training and speeds up the process.
The crate is much more work though since you will probably have to wake up and let the puppy out to eliminate during the night. The puppy shows more resistance to the crate especially at first so you’ll be dealing with puppy crying in the crate at night. You can read this article about how to deal with that.
If you can’t deal with all the whining and constant waking up you can use the playpen. But using the crate pays off good after just a few weeks. However, if you opt for the playpen you’ll be dealing with potty incidents for much longer.
The puppy will not sleep easily in the playpen since they have a lot of space to move around.
I am more of a crate guy when it’s time for sleep but still, you can go for a playpen if you see there is greater value in it.
I would suggest you funnel it down by reducing the size of the playpen at night gradually until its a crate if it makes it easier for you.
All in all, the crate is better and the puppy should sleep in a crate.
- The playpen is not really a substitute for the crate since each one has a different role.
- The playpen is best at controlling the puppy’s environment while at the same time giving him space.
- The crate is much better for sleep and potty training.
- The playpen is better if you have to leave your dog for long hours.
- The size of the playpen is not very important as long as its enough to walk around and play. Just make sure it’s not too low the puppy could jump over it.