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Enclosures and Bedding for Your Puppy

When shopping for your puppy's initial supplies, you should consider what type of enclosures and bedding your puppy will need. To make your puppy’s transition into your home as smooth as possible, you want to make the right choices about bedding, crates, gates, and playpens.

Puppy crates

Especially useful during the early stages of training, a crate helps your puppy feel safe when you’re away. Crating a pup also encourages bladder control because puppies don’t like to potty where they sleep. Because your puppy will use her crate to sleep in, put it in a quiet room with little traffic. Ideally, your puppy should sleep near someone at night, so your bedroom is a good location.

Giving your pup her own special place to play and rest is synonymous to giving a child his own bed and tucking him in when it’s time to rest. You wouldn’t make a child sleep on the floor in the middle of a large room, would you? Your puppy will appreciate having her own safe place.

When you shop for a crate, you’ll find different sizes, materials, and colors. Here’s the scoop:

  • Plastic crates are standard for travel and can also be used as everyday crates. If you plan to travel with your pup, buy this type.

  • Wire crates allow for better airflow and can be covered with a blanket at night to create a more denlike experience. Dividers are also available to size the crate according to your puppy.

  • A wicker crate is less of an eyesore. However, you have to pray that after you pay top dollar, the puppy won’t decide to chew her way out!

Gates for puppies

If the idea of a crate turns your stomach, you have other options. To contain your puppy when you’re not home (necessary for housetraining and to teach your puppy to rest when you’re not home), you can use a playpen or very small, gated room instead. A gate can be used to blockade a door and prevent your puppy’s passage from room to room or on a stairway.

Some people feel less guilty when leaving their puppies in large gated areas rather than in small rooms or crates. Big mistake. Big rooms make a puppy feel displaced and lonely, so she may potty or chew out of sheer anxiety. Dogs are den animals who feel safest in small, manageable spaces.

If your goal is peaceful separations, enclose your puppy in a crate or small enclosure when you leave for more than a few minutes. If you’re leaving for more than six hours, consider the playpen as a happy medium and hire a dog walker to break up her day.

Puppy playpens

A puppy playpen, which is a movable enclosure, is quite the multifunctional little purchase. It can be used for the following purposes:

  • Acclimating the puppy to other pets by keeping them apart until they’re familiar with one another

  • Containing your puppy when you can’t watch her

  • Keeping your puppy out of wide thoroughfares

  • Paper training her

  • Temporarily containing her outside

A folding playpen can be tucked away or transported easily.

A playpen is a safe and portable place for your puppy to stay. [Credit: Illustration by Barbara Fra
Credit: Illustration by Barbara Frake
A playpen is a safe and portable place for your puppy to stay.

Bedding for your puppy

Even though you’ll find some adorable and comfy dog beds on the market, resist the urge to buy a collection until your puppy is housebroken and past her chewing phase. Instead, you can fold up an old quilt or purchase flat mats that can be spread out to help your puppy identify with a place in her room. Toys can be contained to her mat, and her food and water dishes can be placed nearby.

If the puppy has a strong chewing tendency, skip the bedding. Ingested blankets and towels can cause serious intestinal problems in puppies.

Take your pup’s mat with you wherever you go. It helps your puppy feel safe whether you’re going to the vet, for a stay at the kennel, or on a family trip. It’s like having a security blanket!

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