Advice on an exercise pen


Before we got Loki, we prepared a few items for his arrival. One of these items was an exercise pen. I ordered it from www.digitpet.com along with his wire crate and a top for the exercise pen. Shibas are notorious escape artists.

Loki usually isn't, but just the other day, we were puzzled as to how he managed to open our back door and let himself inside our home when we clearly put him in the backyard and closed the door. Well, I guess that's not exactly escaping out, but rather escaping in. Anyways, I digress.

I suggest that if you want to use an exercise pen, buy one that is at least 48" high or buy a top. I opted for the latter. Loki's pen is actually only 24" high. Pretty short. But we used the top to ensure that he couldn't climb out. There are 8 sides to it, so I typically made it into a square of 4 ft. by 4 ft. But it's possible to shape it into an octagon, like in the picture. (If you get the pen top, then you have to shape it like a square in order to fit the top.)

We used the exercise pen during his puppy days for potty training and also as a place for time outs. In terms of discipline, it was just a place for him to calm down and be ignored. As for potty training, in the early days, I put down a sheet of plastic and then a piece of carpet. The plastic I got from a local fabric store. It was near the section with vinyl table cloths. And the carpet I got was indoor-outdoor carpet from Home Depot. This was all to protect our carpet from accidents. I suppose that it helped, but in retrospect, I think I was overly protective of our carpet. It's really not a big deal if your carpet gets soiled. You just clean it up.

We used the exercise pen for potty training in the same manner that you would use a crate for crate training. Many experts don't suggest this, because the area is too large, so a puppy will soil one corner and then retreat to the other end for sleeping and eating. In my one experience with potty training Loki, using the exercise pen for potty training wasn't a problem.

I used an exercise pen, because I felt that it was more humane to confine him in an exercise pen rather than a crate. I know some would say that a crate is perfectly fine, and I'm not going to debate that. I'm not a dog expert. Loki is my first dog. So maybe a crate is fine. But in any case, I mostly used his exercise pen for confinement in the way you might use a crate.

6 comments:

aimee said...

Thanks for such a great post! My shiba pup is 3 1/2 months and he's got the potty training down pretty well! Even though he has failed miserably with the puppy pad, he's done great when it comes to going outside and telling us when he needs to go outside, I am quite impressed with him. :) I wanted to teach him how to use the pads in case of bad weather or if i move to a smaller living area like an apartment (I currently live in a house). Thanks for the advice for the pen, that's really helpful, I'll just have to do some measuring before I make my final purchase. Thanks again!

Monkey said...

I am one of the best escape artists! I didn't have a crate or a pin. My parents covered the carpet in the living room with the potty pads (they were so fun to chew on) and I claim the whole kitchen as my sleeping quarters (they gate it) but if I do want to get out I somehow manage! I also train my human parents to open a door for me to/from the patio. If I scratch on the door I want in or out. Sometimes I just scratch to see if they got the command OK and as soon as they get me in, I scratch again to get out. They are not too fond of this game, but I enjoy it so much!

Hana said...

I actually never bothered to crate train my shiba when she was a puppy but then I was 8 at the time and I thought anything that looked like a cage was cruel. So, needless to say CC turned out fine (13 and still perky as a puppy!) and she never has accidents, unless she's incredibly sick and needs to go to the vet

Cheree said...

I just have to say...Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!! I just bought a 4 month old Shiba Inu and this blog has been very helpful in knowing what to expect. I was warned that this breed can be very stubborn and independent and took my chances anyways! I has been totally worth it! Reading your blogs makes me laugh cause my Shiba does alot of the same things! Like when they run around the house crazy Or sleep in all diffrent kinds of funny positions. For the most part, he has been a very well trained dog. Just a little skitish around fast moving objects like other dogs, kids, and cars. Thanks for being so detailed in your posts. It helps knowing there are other Shiba owners out there! We all need to STICK TOGETHER! :-) I also started a blog, not as great as yours, but if you want to check it out it is at www.puppyadventures.wordpress.com :-)

Alexander said...

We've got a similar ex-pen for kitsu, but ours is 36" with a top as well. It serves as his home while we're at work, as well as an area for us to leave him if we cant watch him. Its better than a crate because he can walk around and lounge, doesn't feel too confined you know. he does sleep in his small crate though. Hope your loki is doing well!

James Gandy said...

I am planning to buy this type of pen its really spacious and dog runs more freely.

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