Betty's dog blog

Puppy pen ideas

December 18, 2019

Preparation guide - Part 3Comments


Here is part 3 of our puppy preparation guide. We’ll look at how to set up a pen or confinement area for your puppy.

You’ll want to house your new puppy in a well used vibrant area of the house. We decided the kitchen was the best place but it was a bit big to give Betty full rein over. That’s when we decided to set up a pen area.

You need a safe confined area where you can put your puppy when you can’t give them your undivided attention. Say if you’re cooking or cleaning or otherwise disposed of.

We also set up a similar but smaller pen outside as well to limit her in the garden. This is especially useful for those night time wee sessions! You want it to be as simple as go outside, wee, back in and back to bed! You don’t want to be chasing them around the garden at 2 am!

Indoor playpen

So, the indoor playpen is larger than the crate but more confined than the whole room, here’s how we constructed ours.

We bought two identical 8-panel heavy-duty playpens. We used one to fence in a small outside area for toilet training and used the other for an indoor playpen. I used some of the unused outdoor panels to make the indoor pen even bigger. Our indoor pen went through some iterations until it was just right.

We put the pen in our kitchen with a solid floor so we didn’t need to think about any flooring. If you’re putting your pen onto your carpet you might want to think about buying some protective flooring to put under the pen.

The playpen will contain a food bowl, water bowl, and crate or sleeping area. All of the remaining floor space should be covered with puppy pads if you’re using them for housebreaking - more on this later. It will contain their toys to keep them distracted while you are not around.

We found bowls that clamp to the fence of the pen worked best. It avoided any spillages in the pen from playfulness.

Here’s the first iteration of Betty’s playpen…

The pen


Yes, that is a camera! I went to the extent of setting up a Nest camera so we could spy on her. That has been the most reassuring thing to have when we’re out. Being able to quickly see how she is doing was well worth the money! Also, as the Nest camera stores 30 days of footage, we caught and saved some funny moments we would have otherwise missed. It is also useful for monitoring your puppy for separation anxiety. We’ll go over this in a later post.

Redesigning the pen

Betty soon outgrew this pen and we had to rethink the design. One issue was she could move the pen if she pushed against it. Another issue was she used her crate as a staging ground to launch herself over the fence.

So a hasty redesign was needed. We have a lot of wooden furniture that the pen was supposed to protect when we were not around so plan B was to take my beautifully constructed pen and repurpose it as a divider across the kitchen. The desperation for a solution meant I was willing to drill into walls, floors all to make her happy! She’s worth it, though. I drilled small holes into the floor so the playpen’s pins could sit in them nice and secure and I screwed the ends into the wall.

And so we had a kitchen divided…

Kitchen divided

That’s the way the kitchen stayed up until a few weeks ago. If you were cooking on one side of the kitchen and needed access to the fridge or bin on the other you had to navigate “the fence”. It is strange not having it up these days. I still go to walk towards a gate that isn’t there.

Anyway, that worked except Betty soon knew which side the fridge was on and how she could make her stupid humans open the fridge and take out food just to get her on the other puppy-proof side of the kitchen.

Puppy 1, humans nill.

Betty with a ball in her mouth


The crate is one of the most important things to get right so I’ll cover that in another post. Don’t confuse the playpen with the crate. The crate is a small space they can sleep in and feel safe in. The playpen is for times you need to divert your attention and know they’ll not be getting up to mischief!


Get the pen set up ready for your new arrival. There are many out there to choose from. If you’re awaiting the arrival of a medium to large dog you might have to look at a more heavy-duty solution as we did. Otherwise, there are lots of cheap puppy playpens on Amazon.

While we’re on the subject of things you might need to buy before your new arrival, next up is a full shopping list of things you might need!

Up Next

Up next is part 3.5 of our Preparation guide series - Just some puppy pictures