Basic education

How to Build a Playpen for Dogs?

Marta SarasĂșa
By Marta SarasĂșa, Psychologist. Updated: December 14, 2023
How to Build a Playpen for Dogs?

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One of the main advantages of having a dog house or a dog pen in the house or garden is that they are very versatile. Among other things, it can be used to educate your puppy, control its space and protect it from danger. In addition, many of them can be folded and easily transported, making them ideal to provide our dog with a comfortable and pleasant place to relax. You can also consider building an enclosure for a pregnant dog so that she feels safe with her puppies. This is crucial for the health of the puppies and, of course, for the safety of the mother. If you use the enclosure improperly, for example, to punish your dog or to keep them in it while you are away, this can have a negative impact on your dog and affect their quality of life.

Here at AnimalWised, we explain why and how to build a dog playpen as well as its many uses.

You may also be interested in: How to Introduce Your Dog to a New Dog
  1. What is a dog playpen?
  2. How to build a homemade dog playpen
  3. How to use the dog playpen?

What is a dog playpen?

To understand the functions of this tool, we must first define what it is. When we speak of playpens or enclosures for dogs, we do not mean cages or transport boxes, but large spaces delimited by panels or barriers that are usually movable and have no top cover.

An enclosure is usually made up of independent fences that fit inside each other, so we can use less or more fences to adjust the size of the enclosure, depending on our needs. Most of these structures are made of plastic, fabric or metal, but we can also find them made of wood, glass and other aesthetic materials. The choice of material depends not only on our personal preferences, but also on the place where we want to put the enclosure, that is, whether we want to use it only inside the house or also outdoors. In the latter case, the material of the barrier must be strong enough to withstand temperature changes, rain or wind.

When you buy or build a playpen, it is very important to choose the right size. As much space as the cages or transport boxes give the animal to stand up, turn around or take a few steps forward, but the enclosures must be much larger, because the goal is that the puppy or adult dog can play and move freely in them. We also need to take into consideration that we must buy or build fences that are high enough so that when our dogs reach their full size, they can not jump or climb over them or they could escape or hurt themselves.

Uses of the dog playpen

As you can see, the purpose of the kennel is mainly to keep the dog(s) in their enclosure and prevent them from straying into other areas. With this in mind, installing an enclosure or a playpen in your home, patio or backyard can be very helpful in many ways, for example:

Ensure the safety of the dog: It may be necessary to limit the dog's space in certain situations to ensure its safety. For example, if you clean with products that could be toxic, if you have plants, cables or dangerous objects in your house or if you have a garden that is not fenced and there is a risk that your dog could escape.

Puppy training: An enclosure can make it easier for puppies to learn to relieve themselves and to tolerate being alone, for example, by establishing a quiet, comfortable space when they are in the house.

Promote behavior modification: You can use a playpen to treat certain dog behavioral issues, such as in the treatment of separation anxiety. A dog park or pen can be used in conjunction with therapy but not as a substitute. Pens, for example, can encourage a dog's independence, but should be used under the guidance and supervision of a professional dog ethologist or educator who uses compassionate and respectful methods.

Introducing the dog to other animals or dogs: If you are welcoming a new pet into your home and already have a dog at home, introduce the two gradually, slowly and in a structured manner. Physical barriers such as removable doors or a pen can be used to separate the animals while they watch and sniff each other the first few times to keep them both safe. If you want to learn more about how to properly introduce two dogs, keep reading this article on how to introduce your dog to other dogs.

Provide a comfortable place to rest:Another great benefit of a dog pen is that you can create a quiet area where the dog can play, rest or eat without being disturbed by anyone and therefore feel completely safe. This is especially important for dogs that live in houses with a lot of noise (children, other animals, frequent visitors, etc.), as they can sometimes feel stressed. In other words, If you manage to create this quiet zone, your dog will be able to use it as a refuge when they get scared by storms or fireworks, for example, and will be able to relax more easily.

How to Build a Playpen for Dogs? - What is a dog playpen?

How to build a homemade dog playpen

You can find removable playpens in specialized stores, but their prices may vary depending on the size and material of the fence. To save money and not have to transport the enclosure from the store to your home, you can build it yourself at home using simple materials. F

To build the fences, you need to decide how wide and high they should be, depending on the space available and the size of your dog. It is also important to choose a material that is suitable for the enclosure. If you place the enclosure in a garden or on a patio, we recommend wood or metal mesh. If you want to place the enclosure indoors, choose something lighter, such as plastic mesh or fabric.

Let's look at how to build a dog playpen, both outdoors and indoors, at home:

Outdoor dog playpen

If you have a large space or garden, consider building a permanent wooden dog enclosure, as it will be more durable and safer than a removable enclosure in any case. Prepare the area where you will build the enclosure by cleaning it, leveling the ground if necessary and marking where the fences will be placed. Remember to leave enough space for the dog to move freely in the enclosure. Once the chosen area is ready, simply follow these steps:

  1. Insert vertical wooden posts about 60 centimetres (23.622 in) deep in the corners and on the sides of the fence. The posts should be higher or lower depending on the size of the dog. If you are building an enclosure for large dogs, make sure it is high enough so the dog can not jump out.

  2. Pour the hole with concrete (which is mostly cement and water) and let it dry for a few days.

  3. Once the posts are attached, place wooden boards, pallets or metal mesh between each post to build the fence. You can use nails to attach the wood to the posts, or you can use cable ties to attach the metal mesh.

  4. Do not forget the door! Attach hinges to one of the posts and install a deadbolt that your dog can not open. Do not forget to cover part of the enclosure with fabric so that the dog has shade, or install a doghouse if the animal will spend a lot of time in it.

  5. If you have a patio with a cement floor instead of a garden with soil and you can not bury the posts, you will have to weigh them down with weights or buy special posts with a lead foot.

Collapsible dog playpen

Usually we have little space in the house for the playpen. Since the fence must be easily disassembled and stored when not in use, it is a good idea to choose materials that are lightweight and malleable. The use of wire mesh or plastic panels is very inexpensive. If you would like to make an inexpensive play pen for your dog, then follow this step-by-step guide:

  1. Prepare several squares or rectangles of wire mesh or fabric in the size you want, keeping in mind that each of them will be a part of the fence.

  2. Attach the wire mesh or fabric to each metal or plastic post at the ends of a square or rectangle. The mesh can be attached with cable ties, while the fabric can be glued or sewn to the posts.

  3. The posts should have a heavy base made of lead or other heavy material so that they are as sturdy as possible and will not fall over if the dog bumps into them.

  4. When you have built all the individual fences, attach the round screws and hooks to the sides so that you can quickly and securely attach some fences to others.

  5. The homemade dog enclosure is now easy to disassemble and move to another location.

How to use the dog playpen?

As we have seen, the dog pen can be useful for many things, but we must know how to use it properly. Otherwise, we risk it becoming an unpleasant and uncomfortable place for the dog. The first thing to remember is that the dog should always associate the dog pen with pleasant and positive experiences, no matter how it is used. Making this association should be the first thing you do once is built.

You can do this by placing the enclosure in a quiet place in the house or yard, away from noisy rooms or passageways (like the hallway or kitchen), and placing the dog's bed, food and/or watering hole, and favorite toys or snacks there. Do not scold or disturb the dog while it is in the enclosure. The enclosure should only be a place for the dog to rest, entertain, pet and relax.

Mistakes to avoid when using the dog pen

If your dog does not want to enter the enclosure or is restless or fearful in it, even though you have followed the above instructions, it is very likely that you are making (or have made in the past) one of the following mistakes:

The dog should never be forced into the pen. No one likes to be forced to do something they do not want to do or are not ready to do. Once you have prepared the pen, the dog should always take the initiative to go in and explore. If you want the dog to go in, scatter food inside or play with the dog, but do not force or pick the dog up. You should also not ask the dog to go in a serious and threatening tone, because this could cause the dog to become afraid and reject the enclosure.

Do not leave the dog alone too soon. If you intend to leave the dog in the enclosure for a short time (for example, while you go shopping or take a shower), you should gradually teach the dog to stay in the enclosure. Regardless of how many toys and entertainment you leave in the enclosure, you cannot expect the puppy or adult dog to suddenly accept being alone in it. Unless you get the dog used to it, the dog will probably be stressed every time you leave and will feel like is confined and can not come along.

The kennel, like cages or carrier boxes, should not be used to confine a dog for long periods of time, but only for short periods of time. If your dog is kept in a confined space for an extended period of time, the dog may become bored, frustrated or stressed, and develop behavioral problems such as separation anxiety or stereotypies. The best way to keep your dog home alone for several hours while you work is to provide the dog with enough environmental stimuli and remove anything that could be dangerous from the dog's reach. As we have seen, the enclosure must be a comfortable retreat where the dog can rest whenever they want. Do not disturb the dog in the enclosure when is resting.

Each member of the family must agree to respect these moments and not disturb or punish the animal when it uses its enclosure.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Build a Playpen for Dogs?, we recommend you visit our Basic education category.

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How to Build a Playpen for Dogs?