Guide to Selecting a Pet Pop-Up Playpen!
We are minimalists and have chosen to live in a moderate space to avoid accumulating more “stuff” than we need. Because the square footage is reduced every single item that comes into our home has to serve a purpose. In fact multi-functionality is preferred.
But even in a small space, everyone should have a spot that is his or her own. Somewhere others may have access to but everyone knows and respects as yours. A space of that nature makes anyone feel safe, special and unique, including canines.
“Dad” has his painter’s studio and “Mom” has her special chair. I have my pop-up-play pen that is also referred to as my den. It has been my “room” since I was a puppy and it is my sanctuary. I will admit to you however, that I rarely use it at home anymore – having grown into a responsible adult, I have the run of the house and prefer my day bed and the top of the couch that offers me a view of my kingdom (a.k.a. the park). So why keep it? Besides being the storage space for my toy collection and a place I go to at night to sleep if I am feeling independent, it really is still a hugely useful item.
Guide to Selecting a Pet Pop-Up Playpen
The Den – When I was a Puppy
When I was a just a pup, there was a good reason for the playpen. It was a matter of piece of mind for the bipeds. It is common for a puppy to chew on things during the teething phase, and some puppies do not take well to being left alone especially when given too much space to “protect” too soon. In addition although I was indoor potty trained, my bipeds wanted to “set me up for success” and avoid possible accidents.
At home, the door was always open if the bipeds were there. As you may know, puppies sleep a LOT and at that time I would go there if I wanted a “do not disturb me” nap. If my bipeds were away for just an hour or two they often would just leave it open and I still chose to wait in there regardless – where I felt safe until their return. On a day-to-day basis you could usually find: My day bed, my toys, my antler chew, and extra snuggle blanket.
My parents do not like the crate training approach (we know however, that it works for many); small, dark and confined spaces for 8 or more hours a day was not an appealing option to them. They wanted me to be able to use my indoor potty, have a little “wrestle” with a toy and move around somewhat freely so that I would learn to be responsible and in time have access to our entire home.
The pen allowed us the flexibility of giving me access to more space … slowly and gradually. First I was given access only to the playpen itself (3-5 months); then the pen and bathroom (6-9 months), then the pen, bathroom and hallway (9-11 months) … etc. After a year I had the run of the place and knew that our entire home was one very large den.
Note: When looking at a playpen for a puppy there are some things you need to consider:
- Make sure it is durable enough for your breed. I was always a quiet puppy; I did not scratch things or even take to shredding. So a mesh enclosure worked. But if you have a larger or more active pup – you may want something sturdier. Pens come in metal as well.
- Make sure you buy the right size pen for your dog. Your canine companion should be able to lie down, stand and turn around comfortably at minimum (also true for crates and carriers). Knowing the approximate size and height of your dog as an adult will be important when choosing the right size pen and always err on the side of larger.
The Den Now
The pop-up-play pen we chose is one of the most versatile because it can be used both indoors and out and is 100% portable. We did not, as minimalists, want to purchase or own more than one pen.
It is great for play, exercise and house training as mentioned above, but its real value to us is when outside of our home environment. This “exercise pen” folds flat in seconds and comes with a matching storage bag for traveling! This quick and easy soft-sided playpen just twists and pops open. Installation takes seconds!
In a new environment such as a hotel room or rental apartment; when I am left alone (for the first time especially); I am zipped up in there, with my bed (the sleepy pod base), water, some food and my indoor potty. It’s all there and I can’t damage something before I know what my boundaries are in the new space.
The removable, washable liner (placed on the floor as a barrier) is invaluable since almost all hotels have wall-to-wall carpeting and most apartments feature at least one tantalizing area rug. This base keeps food, “accidents” and possibly spilled water off he carpet. I also can’t rip up or chew the corner of a rug. Because this is my den at home since puppyhood and so familiar to me, I remain calm and tend to not bark allowing my bipeds to actually leave me alone for a few hours while they go to places I am not welcome (ex: museums, romantic dinner for two etc.) without disturbing neighbours.
This also solves the problem for hotel housekeeping staff that may be afraid to enter if I am loose in the room, although the bipeds always put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. As we mentioned in our article on Hotel Canine Etiquette, many hotels insist that your pet be crated when in the room. The pen is an accepted substitute to the crate and easier to transport.
As you can see it is truly a multifunctional item and is likely one of the best investments we have made. New uses for the den seem to keep “popping” up the more we travel and move around. We would highly recommend it for anyone lucky enough to bring his or her pet to work for example.
Do you have a pen? What is it like and why do you like it?
(UPDATE: We have since used the pen at the beach! It works wonderfully since it has a cover and thus creates shade. It comes with pegs that help the pen stay put in the sand, if windy. We have also used it when attending gatherings or events where some quiet time or a safe haven is needed. The pen is NO LONGER out at home and only used for travel and outings now. – April 10th 2014)