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Floor surface for a Puppy Pen?

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There will be times when we'll have to leave the new BC puppy at home for five or six hours, so I'm going to use a four by four exercise pen in the family room for occasional long-term confinement. (I follow Ian Dunbar religiously.) He'll have his open crate for sleeping, a water bowl, lots of kibble-filled toys, and a doggie toilet (consisting of a square of grass turf).

 

Here's the question: What would you use to protect the floor underneath the pen? I don't want anything too much like the surfaces (grass, dirt, snow) he'll usually be peeing and pooping on, but I'm afraid a smooth surface might let any accidents run off onto the carpet. On the other hand, I want to be able to clean up any accidents well enough to eliminate the scent. Would a carpet sample (ideally of indoor/outdoor carpet) work best?

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Linoleum would be your best bet. Carpet would be a bad idea because if he does have accidents, then he'll think peeing on the carpet is fine. Plus it will stink.

 

RDM

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Linoleum would be your best bet. Carpet would be a bad idea because if he does have accidents, then he'll think peeing on the carpet is fine. Plus it will stink.

 

RDM

 

Good point. Really good point. What would you think instead of a piece of camping tarp? (Probably folded over several times to make it small enough.)

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Good point. Really good point. What would you think instead of a piece of camping tarp? (Probably folded over several times to make it small enough.)

 

Tarp retains smell, in my experience. I would go with a sheet of lino if at all possible. Even better, put the pen in the kitchen.

 

RDM

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Guest TheRuffMuttGang

For pups I get a piece of precut 6x8 linoleum and trim it if it's too large for the area I am putting it in. Generally the curls won't ever flatten out and will create a sort of 'lip' around the outside edge of the pen not allowing accidents to run off of it.

 

How old is your puppy?

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Fed and water no closer than 2 hours before, then walked well, a puppy over the age of 10 weeks should be able to hold it that long. A crate that properly sized will actually inhibit him from dancing about and stimulating his bladder. A pup in an xpen moves much more, and has to go much more.

 

Younger than 10 weeks I'd use a tarp or potty proof floor, with a designated potty area (a puppy litter pan with wood shavings or well secured potty pads). His breeder or the rescue group should have already taught him what substances are ok to go on. Warning though, the potty area is a really source of fun for pups that are unsupervised for long. Think wood shavings flying to all corners, or potty pad snitzle. As quickly as you can he needs to get used to being confined and *no* going...not playing in his own poop area, or learning that fun = humans gone and a house for a play pen. And remember if you teach him to use an area other than grass, it just slows him down learning to use the grass only later.

 

The best way to do that is a strict schedule of walking, play and food times, and a crate otherwise.

 

I like Ian Dunbar well enough, but I don't think he has a real understanding of the BC. Otherwise he'd realize that his idea of a puppy proof play area is a complete fun zone for these guys, and will result in hours of clean up for the human. the "potty area" in his book? My pups could take that apart and strew the remains 20 feet beyond the pen in 30 minutes. They'd love the crate in the pen too - 10 minutes until it's on it's end and used for an escape ramp.

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They'd love the crate in the pen too - 10 minutes until it's on it's end and used for an escape ramp.

 

Oh yes, have I ever been there.

 

This time I am bungee cording them down flat.

 

RDM

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Guest TheRuffMuttGang

I was totally unprepared for having a litter of puppies but here is how I did the crate/expen setup for my pups.

 

866af07.jpg

 

This was right when I got them and shortly after I had a sheet of linoleum underneath as well as under-the-bed rubbermaid tubs for the potty pads. That setup worked well and since the crate was attached rather than loose inside they couldn't use it as an escape mechanism but were still able to distinguish their bed from the 'other' area.

 

For slightly older pups I get rid of the crate:

 

85au51y.jpg

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oh, another trick is to use a lamp or position the pen so the potty area is in the lighted end of enclosure. Genetically any normal canid is programed to go from the den (dark) to the sun (light) to do it's business.

 

For pups over 4-5 weeks, we use a plastic irrigation tank (the big square ones) with the top and one side partially cut out as a "den" and a plastic pool for potty - an xpen surrounding all. Before 4 weeks the plastic pool full of shavings is attached to the whelping box.

 

I use aspen shavings. The smell of pine or cedar is too overwhelming for me at 5 feet, much less for pups.

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The puppy will be just over eight weeks when we bring him home this weekend. He was with his litter until seven weeks old (the mother lost interest a few days earlier) and is now spending five days in a friend's house with a littermate. We think it's probably a good transition period for both of them. My friend isn't quite as much a dog nerd as I am, but she does a good job.

 

I think I'll use the tarp and hope that he won't be able to demolish the pen until he's ten or eleven weeks old. Then I'll switch over to the closed crate (which I'll be using anyway for short-term breaks and naps when we're home. Pity to use a pen for such a short period, but maybe I can donate it when we're done.

 

Those escape artist BC puppies--how old were they? I've got a wire crate I could probably attach to the pen, but for an 8-11 week puppy I'd prefer to set a plastic crate inside the pen and reduce the already large footprint on our living space.

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Those escape artist BC puppies--how old were they? I've got a wire crate I could probably attach to the pen, but for an 8-11 week puppy I'd prefer to set a plastic crate inside the pen and reduce the already large footprint on our living space.

 

You'll still need the pen later, it's just too big to use for long periods if you want him to learn to hold it. Once he's learned, it will be a nice place to have him playing, but semi supervised, while you are home.

 

How old were the escape artists? Depends on the pup. some of mine needed an xpen around the _whelping box_ :D by 5 weeks, and at 8 weeks if it didn't have a top they could climb out of it as fast as a monkey. :rolleyes: Others never questioned it. There were more of the former :D

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OK, quick question (not to hijack the thread but it's a related question): what are your opinions about puppy in x-pen as described above, or puppy baby-gated into small kitchen as described above?

 

I live in a studio apartment with a very small semi-separate kitchen (total floor space is probably 4x8 or thereabouts) and can baby gate the entryway, but I fear I have underestimated the destructive nature of a Border Collie puppy and that if I do this the cabinets will not be safe. I am not particularly attached to the cabinets, but I'm sure my landlord is.

 

It probably won't be that often that I'm gone so long that the pup can't be crated, but in case I am...

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Just a warning - I had a piece of lino under the xpen for my puppy and it extended far enough out to catch the pee if he missed his potty box. Ryan managed to push the xpen all the way off the lino and eat a large portion of the carpet. I switched to a crate the next day :rolleyes:

 

ETA - he was only 10 weeks or so when he did it, and it was a very tall, heavy xpen! Beware the BC puppy!

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OK, quick question (not to hijack the thread but it's a related question): what are your opinions about puppy in x-pen as described above, or puppy baby-gated into small kitchen as described above?

 

I live in a studio apartment with a very small semi-separate kitchen (total floor space is probably 4x8 or thereabouts) and can baby gate the entryway, but I fear I have underestimated the destructive nature of a Border Collie puppy and that if I do this the cabinets will not be safe. I am not particularly attached to the cabinets, but I'm sure my landlord is.

 

It probably won't be that often that I'm gone so long that the pup can't be crated, but in case I am...

 

I find many of mine have been particularily fond of cabinet knobs and varnish, and have a skill to pull up flouring very similar to a raccoon. Also, they can, as pointed out, also quickly learn to "walk" the pen where they want to go.

 

There is a reason that shepherds shut them in horse stalls at this age, and crates are the next best thing.

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My setup for pups (a litter after they are too old and active for the whelping box) looks much like your picture--several Xpens hooked together (in the middle of my living room, which, unfortunately, is carpet), with tarps underneath, and several layers of old blankets spread out. I have a potty box--a 2' X 4' box, 4" tall, that I fill with shredded newspapers. They pretty quickly learn to use it, at least most of the time, but they also get lots of outdoor time on grass, sand, etc. so they learn to go on different surfaces. I just do laundry often for the blankets. They do like to occasionally play in the potty box, but I take them out when I see them just playing in there,

A

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Guest TheRuffMuttGang

I will admit that the pieces of linoleum DO eventually get torn up if the expen is pushed around. Both of mine were demolished eventually and I don't have a need for one now as Stella just goes into a large crate if I can't watch her. I actually hate the idea of expens for puppies but Tank's litter was way too young (5wks) to even begin to crate train. At about 10wks they went into their own crates. But trust me, my expens are still put to good use all of the time so don't assume you'll never use it after your puppy is done using it as a playground.

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When we got Zoey at 10 weeks, we started with a plastic crate immediatly, we never did use an xpen. That was the smartest thing we ever did. She was reliably house trained within a month and destruction of property was very minimal while she was growing up. We needed to be very diligent about her routine, with lots of breaks, but it really payed off just after a few weeks.

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I used an X-pen (actually two or three hooked together and the ends attached to baby gates in two doorways--the house design made this possible) with a tarp covered in newspapers for the litter I had once they were out of the whelping box. They actually went from whelping box to kiddie pool for all of a day or so because they learned to get out of that pretty fast and then to the X-pen(s). Once most of the litter had gone to their various homes, the two I kept learned to stay in crates or in a set of X-pens hooked together outside in the shade (it was summer). I actually took them to work with me, and they were crated then as well. When I could watch them, they had run of whatever part of the house I was in, with baby gates making sure they stayed in the same room with me (I own lots of baby gates!).

 

I agree with others who have said you may find alternate uses for your X-pen. I used mine at trials so the pups could be out and not be crated. I've used them as gates to keep dogs on the porch (for example when it's raining and you want the dogs to be able to shake and drip dry a bit before bringing them in and toweling them off). I've even used them to surround a raised herb bed to keep the dogs from running through it, and I've also used them to contain bottle lambs in the yard (with a tarp-covered wire dog crate for a house). They make handy drying racks for wet towels (see rain comment above) too. You can find all sorts of wonderful uses for an X-pen, limited only by your imagination!

 

Melanie,

I'd be afraid a pup would destroy the kitchen or any other part of the house that might be gated off. If you can anchor the ends of an X-pen to the baby gate as I did, then the pup won't be able to shift it, you'll get the advantage of the (presumably) linoleum floor, and the pup won't be able to destroy the kitchen.

 

J.

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I used an x-pen, with linoleum (check out a local flooring store for scraps/leftovers - but the higher quality stuff will last longer, and not curl as much) with great success. I had a plastic box with shredded newspaper for awhile, then used paper outside briefly to "transfer" that idea. Worked great. Later on, when I had to be gone too long at a time, I used the "potty pads" with a plastic frame - worked for awhile, but then, did become play toy material. At that point, pup was basically housetrained, and could be left x-penned up to four hours. I second the notion that x-pens come in handy later on too (in addition to uses mentioned above: keeping dogs out of area where 42"deep swimming pool was set up in summer, so they didn't get in on their own - worked great, cable-tied to a fence and a table).

 

One idea for keeping the x-pen stable: get a cross PVC connector (picture an X shape); cut four piece of PVC (I used 3/4" cuz that's what I had), length from the center to just over the x-pen; insert one piece into each side of the connector. At this point, you have a very large X of PVC. Then use a saw to slice into the bottom, about 1/4 to 1/3 of the diameter, of each long end; slide these over the top edge of the x-pen. I wouldn't guarantee that it couldn't be moved, but it stabilizes the whole thing, and even withstood pup standing up and pushing on it. As he got cleverer, I used ball/bungees to hold the PVC in place. It also keeps it from collapsing on said pup!

 

diane

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Damn, should have added an x-pen to my last KV order.

 

I have never had a use for one before. I don't have a yard and can't leave Solo in one at events, so...

 

I might be able to get away without one because I think it'll be rare that I need to be gone long enough to justify it. But those are probably famous last words.

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If you are going to put in another order, you might want to see if they have a lid like this:

Accessories-Exercise-Pen-Top-Panel.gif

 

I have a lid that I use if we have to set up the pen indoors (can't stake it) as all three of mine are in the same pen, and if they were so inclined, they could knock it over. Specifically, one large split-faced male border collie can tip it over if he hears one small slick-coated border collie screaming around an agility course.

 

The lid clips to the sides, adding quite a bit of stability.

 

Thank goodness that, at most of our trials, we can crate in the car. I really hate hauling the ex-pen around.

 

Er, do you have an ETA on perhaps the arrival of something cute and tiny???

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I was thinking about digging up the receipt and heading back to the store with the xpen but I'm nearly convinced by the idea of alternate uses for it. (Especially the laundry rack--I think I could flat-dry several sweaters at once!)

 

And I do like the idea of using the xpen occasionally at home while I'm working. I crate-trained Zia, but I do remember long periods of her puppyhood where I despaired of getting any work of my own done. As a puppy she was either 1) in the crate or 2) watched like a hawk, and it did get awfully tiring.

 

So I think I'll keep the xpen, but see if I can manage my schedule so I don't have to be away from home for five or six hours until he can be crated that long.

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And my friend reports that she had to crate Zeph and his sister for five hours yesterday. (Not an ideal practice for not quite eight week old puppies, but anyway.) They both held it until she got back. His sister "peed all over the place" before my friend could get them outside, but Zephyr "took things in stride."

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