Dog ownership brings with it stress related to the care of the dog. Many owners consider their dog to be a member of their human family; therefore, worrying about their health and well being can be emotionally frustrating. One way of relieving stress, when the dog must be left unattended, is to invest in a dog play pen, a dog exercise pen, or a kennel.
Picture this stressfully emotional scene. You over sleep and do not have time for a lengthy walk with the dog. A short walk will have to do, and you hurry off to work. You arrive home, after a typically hard Monday, tired. You open the door to your dwelling to find the trash from yesterday's barbeque strung all over the house. What has happened? Have I been robbed? Panic sets in. Oh no the dog. He is such a good boy he always returns to his crate
after his routine morning walk, but I do not remember shutting and latching the door. You call out his name to no avail and being to search for him. As you approach his crate you notice the door is open and he is inside looking up at you with wide eyes and one paw on a knawel rib bone. Oh great how many bones has he ingested? With further observation, you see some strange cotton looking stuff mixed in with the shredded paper plates and broken plastic ware. You yell noooooooo and turn around to find your fine leather sofa is not fine anymore. One of the bottom cushions has exposed springs. Sniff; sniff what is that smell you ask yourself? You follow your nose to 2 large plate size piles of stomach churning mess. Can Monday get any worse?
You want to strangle him, but realize it is not his fault. A dog will be a dog no matter how well trained he is if his routine is jeopardized. Yes we live in a rush, rush world, but the dog does not understand this madness. When left unsecured with an interrupted routine, the dog will revert back to his instinctive behaviors such as searching for food, making a den, exploring, handling his boredom, and making the territory his. We deem this as misbehavior when it affects us. The point is to make sure, no matter how busy you are, that the dog is secured safely when unattended.
A crate is a very useful tool for securing an unattended dog, but there are other options that can be used in conjunction with a crate such as a dog play pen. A dog play pen is larger than a crate, but smaller than an exercise pen or kennel. It allows the dog freedom to play, but yet has the coziness of a den. Add a comfy bed and toys making a mixture for a happy puppy. A play pen is portable allowing the owner to move it from room to room. A pop up play pen has a floor to protect carpeting or hardwood floors from potty accidents or scratch marks. With easy set up and a storage case, the play pen is great for traveling to motels, visits to relatives' homes, a trip to the beach or camping with the four legged friend.
A dog exercise pen is larger than a play pen, but smaller than a kennel. It consists of 8 hinged panels allowing the owner to configure the pen to the shape desired. Constructed out of galvanized zinc or epoxy coated wire the exercise pen is great for indoor or outdoor use. By adding a crate for indoor use or a dog house for outdoor use, the furry friend will have a secure place to call his own. Be sure to anchor the pen down when using outdoors. The soft-side exercise pen also has 8 panels constructed of nylon woven mesh. An optional cover and floor can be purchase to fit this pen. However, this would not be a good choice for chewers. Both styles have the same advantages as the play pen in that they are portable, collapsible and are easy to set up. Either of these exercise pens would be great when traveling with more than one dog, but before purchasing consider the room required for setting one up.
Finally, the kennel, used mostly outdoors, is the largest secured area for a dog outside of a fenced in yard. Made out of chain link fencing a kennel would be the perfect temporary solution for the pet owner who is rushing for time and can not devote it to the dog. They can put the dog in it go about their business returning a short time later to a joyfully relieved dog. For temporary occasional, use the kennel can be set up in grass. If a kennel is used for permanent or long term confinement, special consideration has to be given to flooring, location, shelter and water. Many dog owners place a kennel on a concrete slab. This does serve the purpose of keeping the dog up off of the ground, but concrete exposed to direct sunlight gets very hot. Not only does the hot concrete transfer heat energy to the surface air which could cause heat related problems for the dog, but the hot concrete can burn the pads of the dog's paws. Some sort of shaded has to cover at least half of the concrete during the hottest time of the day. Whether a person uses a tarp tied to the top of the kennel or places the kennel and slab under a tree, shade is a must for the health of the dog. With a cozy dog house, toys, food, and an automatic watering system the dog will be perfectly content.
Dog ownership does not have to be stressful if an unattended dog is secured in a crate, dog play pen, exercise pen or kennel, but these tools should not replace human companionship. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility and obligation to set aside daily quality time to play, walk and cuddle with your dog for the happiest, healthiest canine around.
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