We’ve just welcomed an exciting new addition to our family, Frankie the Golden Retriever pup! So much excitement all around, from my two boys and my husband but especially from me. She’s absolutely adorable and already we can’t imagine life without her!
Like many pet parents though, we’re busy balancing jobs, kids and life. This means there’ll be an adjustment to slotting the pup in there too. Luckily there are tools and resources we can fall back on to help us do this in the best way for our new pooch.
One of these tools is a puppy pen. We’ve been using this for Frankie and I can’t recommend it enough. Today I want to share some tips to create a puppy pen that’s a safe and comfortable sanctuary for your newest family member. Let’s start!
What is a Puppy Pen?
It’s a containment area for your pooch, a designated long-term puppy zone where they feel safe and comfortable. Dogs have a ‘denning’ instinct, and the pen becomes their den where they feel secure and can escape for some solitude.
If you work all day and don’t want to leave the pup running wild in an empty house, a puppy pen is the answer. Or maybe you just need a bit of space to take a Zoom conference without getting your foot chewed off… pop them in the pen!
It helps with your pup’s temperament too. They learn they can’t be high energy and mischief all the time. They learn how to retreat and practice calm behaviour. It’s important in creating boundaries and also trains them to be comfortable in a cage or crate. Inevitably they’ll be put in a confined area for a flight, a vet visit or at a boarding kennel. Crate or pen training from the day they get home takes the stress out of these future experiences.
The pen has a fence around it and can vary in size depending on what breed of dog you have. For Frankie we got two baby pens from Target and joined them together. Baby pens are perfect for her because she can see through the gaps, but they’re not big enough for her to get out. There are a few pen options out there, from collapsible fabric ones to ones with metal or plastic fences.
I’d definitely recommend looking for one with a gate! Saves you lifting the pup over the fence a few times a day, which can be tiring for your back.
What to Put in the Puppy Pen
There are a few essential ingredients to make sure your pup settles in fast to her new space. The pen itself needs to be large enough that they have a bit of space to roam around. It should also contain these:
– A soft and comfortable bed;
– A non-spill silicone water bowl. You can also use a heavy casserole dish that won’t tip over easily. If poochy spills their water as you walk out the door to work it’s gonna be a thirsty day for them;
– Soft toys for them to play with;
– A doggy potty, either made with artificial grass or with puppy toilet pads, easily available from pet shops or supermarkets;
– Vinyl flooring can protect your underlying floor from accidents. This is optional though, depending on the nature of your floors.
Tips for Your Pup Pen
– Dogs are social creatures and want to be with their pack. Have the pen in a part of your home where your family spends most of their time. We have Frankie’s pen in the living room, close to the TV and where we sit down to eat or socialise.
– Have the pen set up before you get your pup, so you can introduce them straight into it.
– It’s important to be positive when making the introduction. Have a handful; of their usual food to treat them with, and make sure they associate the pen with happy vibes.
– Only have them in their pen when you can’t supervise them properly. Spend as much time as possible with your pup outside the pen, even if it means altering your own schedule. This will help with your bond and help them feel settled. They’ll start getting anxious and sad if they don’t get enough exercise or socialisation.
– Rub a few soft toys on their litter mates when you collect them from the breeder or the shelter. This’ll give them a feeling of comfort and familiarity as they settle into their new home.
There you have it, I hope that helps with your pup journey! One last bit of info: if your pups whining at night, don’t be tempted to take them out of their puppy pen and put them into your bed. Let them settle themselves and go back to sleep, otherwise they’ll make a habit of waking you up every night.
Have a great day, and come say hi to me in my Facebook Group!