The 10 Best Dog Pens

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This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in July of 2015. When it comes to caring for a pet, ensuring its safety is of the utmost importance. One of these handy dog pens can offer a place in which your furry friend can feel secure, calm, and comfortable. They provide a temporary enclosure for keeping animals away from guests or certain areas of the house, and they also work well for crate training or setting up a contained play yard. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Advantek Pet Gazebo 23200

2. Ruff 'n Ruffus Portable

3. Lucky Dog Uptown Kennel

Editor's Notes

March 23, 2020:

The best dog pen for your needs will depend largely on your furry companion's habits, energy levels, and stage of life, so we made sure to include a variety of models that should be up to whatever challenge Fido wants to present them with.

If you need a way to protect your pooch from the elements when outdoors, the Advantek Pet Gazebo 23200 and the Lucky Dog Uptown Kennel, both of which have weather-resistant covers, are good choices as they fend off rain and harsh sun rays. Just make sure to always keep Spot's water bowl filled, even when shaded.

When particularly rowdy pooches need to stay put, the all-metal BestPet Exercise Fence and the double-latched Iris USA Exercise should be up to the challenge.

Should your primary purpose for a pen be to give your canine its own safe space when you go camping or traveling, the Zampa Foldable and the Ruff 'n Ruffus Portable are useful, as they both pack down quite small for transport. Both were made with a four-legged friend's hydration in mind, too, as the Zampa Foldable has a hole for dispensing water, and the Ruff 'n Ruffus Portable includes a pop-up bowl.

Some pet owners don't know how or in what capacity they'll need to secure their furry buddies, so we included the Pet Trex Eight-Panel, the Carlson Convertible 2200 DS, and the Cardinal Gates Perfect Fit, all of which can be adjusted and oriented into a number of shapes.

Special Honors

Clearly Loved Pets Lucidium Dog Pen If you want to be able to keep an eye on your pooch at all times and you want it to be able to see you, this is a good choice because, instead of traditional bars or wire mesh, it has clear acrylic panels. The frame is available in three colors to help the pen match your decor, and it comes in three sizes. Expansion kits are available for those who'd like to add sections to their pen, making it a smart option for those with multiple pets. However, it does not have a budget-friendly price tag.

Pupperton Medium Brown-Finished Maple Pet Pen This pen has a snap-on, waterproof floor mat that is machine washable and doubles as the item's carrying case when it's folded up. It's easy to set up; doesn't require tools for assembly; and, at just 16 pounds, is quite portable when collapsed. The door swings both ways, so you can effortlessly pop in and out for visits to Spot, and its attractive maple finish should complement most spaces nicely.

4. Iris USA Exercise

5. Cardinal Gates Perfect Fit

6. North States MyPet Petyard

7. Pet Trex Eight-Panel

8. Carlson Convertible 2200 DS

9. Zampa Foldable

10. BestPet Exercise Fence

Benefits Of Dog Pens

Not only will using dog pens save hundreds if not thousands of dollars in installation, but they are also portable.

To understand the benefit a dog pen provides, it is important to understand that they are training tools, not babysitting devices. A dog pen should never be used to replace proper training in a canine companion, but rather to supplement and enhance a training regimen.

As dogs familiarize themselves with a dog pen, the area within can feel like home. Dogs will regard this area as a safe zone, and areas in their brain responding to safety and comfort will light up whenever they are in it. Just as it is important for humans to have shelter, dogs long for this same feeling as well, and dog pens easily provide for it.

Dog pens are also great options to contain your animal outside in an open area, such as a wilderness preserve or park where a leash may seem inhibiting, yet they need some sort of boundary. The use of a dog pens is also an easy way to allow a dog to get exercise and sunlight. The ideal solution is to take the dog on a walk or exercise at the park, which benefits both dog and owner and strengthens their bond. The reality is that this is not always an option. Allowing a dog to play within a pen provides for their need for recreation while allowing you to take care of things around the house.

Dog pens have distinct advantages over building a permanent fence around your property as well. Not only will using dog pens save hundreds if not thousands of dollars in installation, but they are also portable. A dog pen can be placed anywhere inside or outside the home, at the beach, a public park, or even in a hotel room while traveling.

The versatility of a dog pen is another distinct advantage. Dog pens can be used to contain other small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, and even small farm animals who need isolation while healing.

Are Dog Pens An Effective Training Method?

Training is an essential part of caring for a dog. Training a canine can produce incredible results, from simple obedience training to detecting prostate tumors by sniffing urine. Most owners would simply be happy if the dog did not urinate in the house anymore. Dog pens are an effective training tool for a variety of cases.

Dogs have an innate dislike for urinating or defecating where they sleep, and would rather hold it in until they can relieve themselves elsewhere.

While training a new canine, it may be difficult to keep them focused and alert to you in every situation. A dog pen provides a safe, controlled environment in which to practice training with your dog. Part of training is to create a similar response to verbal and visual commands no matter the external stimuli present. Most dog owners understand this is easier said than done. By taking a familiar dog pen into an area in which the dog feels uncomfortable (e.g. beside a busy road or at a populated park), you can help ease their stress and strengthen your bond through training.

Using a dog pen for potty training will also prove extremely advantageous. Dogs have an innate dislike for urinating or defecating where they sleep, and would rather hold it in until they can relieve themselves elsewhere. In a large room, this is as simple as walking to the other side of the room, relieving themselves, and then walking back to their bed. This creates irritation in the owner, which a pet cannot understand.

No matter how many times they have their nose rubbed in old pee, a dog will never understand why the owner is doing it. To actually make a difference in potty training a dog, consider providing them with a dog pen as a sleeping area. Through simple classical conditioning, this will build familiarity with the pen as a safe space, and decrease the chances of them peeing in the pen.

Positive Reinforcement Vs. Negative Reinforcement: Does It Matter?

Both positive and negative training methods have become popularized over the last century. These methodologies vary in their application. An example of positive training would be placing a treat in the dogs pen to reward them for entering it. An example of negative training would be to scold the dog and send it to the pen for barking. The basic understanding of the two methodologies is that negative reinforcement training offers the dog a negative stimulus like scolding, reduction in toys or treats, or even physical pain for doing an undesired behavior, where positive training rewards a dog's good behaviors by using treats, petting, and positive noises.

Negative reinforcement has been the norm, though this method may be on its way out. According to many studies, aversive training methods may do more harm than good. Some studies find that using negative training techniques, such as shock collars and the alpha roll, can create fearful tendencies in the dogs mind rather than the confidence they need for these behaviors to cease. These fearful tendencies actually create more aggression in the dog rather that treating the root cause of aggression, which is their lack of self confidence. By far, positive reinforcement therapy is the most beneficial method of dog training.

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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