- This post contains affiliate links. Read more here.
If you’re preparing your home for a new puppy, you’ve probably considered purchasing a playpen to help introduce your new family member to his new home or yard. Determining which playpen will work best for your situation depends on a couple of different factors:
- whether you plan to use the pen indoors, outdoors, or on-the-go
- what (if any) training goals the pen might help promote
- how many puppies (and what size!) will be using the pen
- whether you plan to use the pen after your puppy is grown
With all of these aspects to consider, we’ve outlined some of the more common considerations and selected a few of our favorite pens to help you with the selection process.
Indoor and Outdoor Pens
Consider the layout of your home or the features of your outdoor space when deciding which type of pen will best work for your puppy. If you want to confine him to a smaller section of the house during training and your home doesn’t have a space that is easily cordoned off, an indoor puppy playpen may be just what you need to provide your new family member with appropriate boundaries.
For some puppy-owners, the ideal fenced-in yard far from any hazards (traffic) or temptations (the neighborhood cat) just isn’t an option, so an outdoor pen can serve as both a training aid and a safe zone for getting used to the great outdoors.
Puppy Playpens as Training Aids
Like a crate, playpens can be used to help your dog better understand the rules of his new home. Some owners use playpens to help introduce their new puppies to other pets and some use them to help a puppy get through their chewing phase without having to replace the dining room chairs.
One word of caution—pens are not an ideal potty-training aid as they provide enough space to potty and play, but they can be used effectively with a crate to teach puppies the potty do’s and don’t’s. They can also be highly effective in teaching puppy owners about an individual puppy’s tell-tale behavior when he’s ready to potty (sniffing, back-and-forth walking patterns, etc.).
Pens for all Puppy Shapes, Sizes, and Energy Levels
Whether you’ve brought home a toy Chihuahua, a German shepherd, or the offspring of two zoomie champions, there are lots of pen options for different dog sizes and energy levels. Keep in mind that if you intend to use your pen throughout your dog’s life, you’ll want to consider growth and changes in your dog’s space needs.
While it may seem obvious, if you plan to keep multiple puppies in one pen, you need to plan not only for space but also for increased wear and tear. A pen that’s stable for one puppy might not be suitable for multiple energetic puppies romping into those walls day after day.
Our Top Puppy Playpens for 2019
With so much to consider, we’ve done some research and selected some of our favorite puppy playpens that meet multiple budgets and individual owner needs.
Affordable, portable, and washable, this pen has top user ratings among small dog owners and those who like to travel. It collapses to fit into its own bag and can be easily packed in the car for your next adventure with your puppy.
Most helpful review: “Big enough for a dog bed, toys, food & water dish and room to move round in. Highly recommended for puppies.”
A solid structure with a lockable pet door, this pen is rated for indoor and outdoor use. Multiple panels offer flexible configurations and can accommodate larger dogs.
Most helpful review: “We really like this fence—it’s so versatile—it breaks down into its component parts easily to use as gates to block areas—as well as a “pen”. We are using the various parts to block: stairs, spindles for railings, hallways, doorways, dinner table, etc.”
A more expensive option, but this well-made pen provides indoor or outdoor space for multiple dogs and can accommodate larger breeds. It comes with 16 panels that allow for many sturdy configurations. This pen might be a good match for owners who need to corral a litter of puppies or cordon off sections of their home.
Most helpful review: “This was by far one of the best purchases we made when we had our nine puppies. It works fantastic. Extremely versatile, well worth the money. I would give it 10 Stars if I could. Definitely a must-have!”
If you are a small-dog owner and space is at a premium, this small but durable pen has some great reviews. It’s not well-suited for larger or energetic puppies and has multiple reports of dogs engineering escapes, but has some added features that could make it ideal for small or toy breeds. As an added bonus, this indoor pen is easy to assemble and has rubber feet to protect flooring.
Most helpful review: “We picked up our Havanese puppy three days ago and so far, this product has been perfect for our needs. We purchased it mainly to keep the two-pound puppy contained and away from our older dog while they got used to each other. They were able to interact through the sides without actually getting to each other. It made the introduction much easier.”
We hope this list helps you find the perfect pen for keeping your puppy safe and teaching them the rules of your household. You can also check out our top picks for best dog crates for puppies.