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.