Best Dog Crates & Dog Playpens

best dog crates

Choosing the best dog crate or dog playpen for your pup?

Dog crate vs dog playpen – confused?  We have researched the pros and cons of both of these to make it easier for you to choose what is right for your furkid.

Training puppies can be a daunting task.  They are all adorable and so much fun but not so cute when they pee or poop on your carpet or chew your best shoes or destroy parts of your furniture.

Choosing the best dog playpen for your dog

Pups and young dogs need a way to release their energy whilst staying safe from the potential hazards that can come with playtime.  They need a structured environment in which to play.  Fortunately, a good quality dog playpen can provide that.  They have a lot more room than a crate which means your pup will be able to move around, lie down and also have space to play in it.

Best dog crate

Soft dog playpen

Dog playpens are a great way to contain your canines in one area when you can’t supervise what they’re up to,  And, as playpens are easily moved, they can be used both indoors and outdoors.  They are essentially dog crates which allow your pup to move around and play with their toys without being able to wreak havoc upon your house.

Your pup will still be able to see everything that is going on nearby which will keep her contented but she won’t be in a position to get up to any mischief.

Some well-trained or sedate pups can be left on their own for a short.  However, some pups just can’t help themselves and will always find some mischief to get up to.  Does your pup get into mischief the minute your back is turned?  Are your favourite shoes, plants and household possessions in danger of being chewed, dug or ripped?  Then a dog playpen is a great way to keep your pup in an enclosed and safe area while you’re tending to other things.  There are two types of playpen available – soft or metal.

Best dog crate

Metal dog playpen

The other benefit of a dog playpen is keeping your pup in a confined space for sleeping at night.  Playpens are also great for when visiting friends or family so that their possessions can be kept safe.  They are also very handy when travelling with your pup.  They are easy to assemble and light to carry.

What size dog playpen should you choose?

When choosing a dog playpen make sure you consider the size of your pup now as well as how big he’ll be in a few months’ time.  Ensure that he has plenty of room to play and be active.  It should also be large enough so that you can include his dog bed for when he’s worn himself out.

With a playpen you should leave some water and a few toys available for your pup.  Ideal toys are ones that you can fill with treats like a Kong.  You may also want to include some dog food, depending on how long you are going to leave him alone.

One of the downsides of the playpen is that, if you’re toilet-training your pup, there is enough space to do his ‘business’ so it can take longer to complete the toilet-training process.

Puppy playpens are a great idea and work well in many ways however pups still need to get out to pee frequently.  If you will be working away from home for most of the day then it is a good idea to hire a pet sitter for the first six to nine months of your pup’s life.  This will give her the opportunity to get out and do her business which, in turn, will reinforce her toilet training.

Choosing the best dog crate for your dog

While playpens are great as a safe place for your pup to play, dog crates are more suitable for bedtime and travel as they usually don’t allow enough room for your dog to move about very much.  You have a choice of metal crates or soft crates.  Read on to choose the best dog crate for your dog.

Best dog crate

Metal dog crate

A crate can be like your pup’s safe place where he can sleep and relax.  It may seem small but is meant to be small enough to prevent your pup from using it for his ‘other businesses’.  Crates can be a fantastic tool for toilet-training and behaviour training.  The best dog crate can really reduce the toilet-training learning curve as the crate is the place where your pup sleeps and, except for emergencies, dogs will not soil where they sleep.

Best dog crate

Soft dog crate

You can make it more comfy for your dog by lining it with a soft cushion or a water resistant mat, water bowl that won’t spill and plenty of toys so that your dog will feel happy and comfortable at all times

Crates often become your pup’s safe place as they grow up.  Make sure you buy one large enough to cater for her at full size.  This will provide her with a place where she can retire when she needs her own space or feels overwhelmed or uncomfortable.

Over the years, when you travel with your dog, a crate can also be used to transport him as it is somewhere that feels very familiar for him.

Getting your pup used to going into the crate

You can buy the best dog crate however, getting a pup used to her crate can sometimes be a long, frustrating process.  Here are some steps to help her feel comfortable with her crate:

  1. Leave the door of the crate open wide so that she can go in and out.
  2. Place some treats inside to encourage her to go into the crate.
  3. If she is still hesitant to enter the crate, play with her beside it.
  4. Show her a treat and then place it just inside the crate.
  5. Continue to do this but throw the treat a bit further each time until she happily enters the crate each time.

Getting your pup used to staying in the crate

Now that your pup is used to going inside the crate you need to get him used to being inside with the door closed.

  1. Fill a hollow toy with some treats
  2. Let your pup sniff it and then place it at the back of the crate.
  3. Now encourage your pup to go in and find the toy.
  4. Once he is happily attempting to get the treats out of the toy close the door but remain nearby and open it before he finishes his treats or starts looking around for you.

It is important for the crate to be a positive experience reinforced with rewards and lots of praise.  Once this has been achieved, and you may need to be very patient, your pup will eventually happily sleep in the crate with the door closed.


  • Remove your pup’s collar before putting her in a dog playpen or crate so that there is no chance of the collar becoming caught up on any of the parts.
  • Ensure that your dog always has access to water that can’t be tipped over or spilt.
  • Don’t leave your dog for too long in his playpen or crate as he will have ‘nature calls’ to attend to.

If you don’t have a puppy yet but are considering getting one you might like to read the 101s of getting your own furbaby.


Disclosure: Some links in this blog are affiliate links. You don’t pay more for the product but, if you buy from the link, we’ll get a small commission. We only recommend products and online retailers we trust.


Recommended Posts

Leave a Reply