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Pens-and-Gates

Chihuahua Pens and Gates

The Alternative to Crating & The Best Method of Confining

Overview

Quite a long time ago, crating a dog was relatively commonplace. And because this used to be something that many owners did, the term of 'crate training' is still being used, even though the actual practice of this is not recommended by many veterinarians and dog trainers. 

If you are wondering what is the best crate to use when training, the real question is, how do you keep your Chihuahua in one small area so that he does not pee and poo all over the house? So, in other words, what method will you use to confine him when you can't keep an eye on him.

Now, since crates are still being sold, there are some people who use that old method and of course, large kennels and backyard breeders may crate their dogs. However, in regard to properly caring for your little canine family member, you'll want to steer clear of these. Why? There are 4 main reasons to take note of:
  • Crates are terribly claustrophobic and being in such a tiny, enclosed area can cause quite a bit of stress for a dog that lasts much longer than just his time spent in the crate. He may show signs of being rattled for hours afterward.
  • Keeping a dog in such a tiny area is not an effective method of housebreaking. The important element is that the Chihuahua is not allowed free reign of the house and is segregated to a certain area; however, there is no need at all to put him into such a tiny space. If a dog needs to urinate or have a bowel movement, this will happen regardless of the square footage that he is placed into. 
  • The inside surface is detrimental in a couple of ways; the hard bottom or wired bottom is terrible for the coat and is not a supportive surface for the body. Dogs that are kept in crates for long periods will have sores on their elbows with possible thinning fur and have stiff joints. 
  • Unless you use one intended for large breeds, there will not be enough room for the things that a Chihuahua needs when home alone: some great toys (chewing, boredom, companion),  water and food, pee pads and a quality dog bed
The Best Method to Keep a Chihuahua in One Spot

There are two great options to keep your Chihuahua confined to one area when you are not home or if you are there but cannot keep an eye on him:

Canine Playpens and Gated Pens - A canine pen is a structured area that is essentially a manufactured 'room within a room'. There are full playpens, which are similar to a baby playpen, there is a bottom and sides, with an open top. These are often made with water resistant nylon panels that are sturdy yet easy to clean; there will be mesh panels as well to allow a dog to see and not feel so isolated. 

There are also gated pens made of metal or molded plastic, which offer the walls (square or octagon) but not a floor, as it sits on the flooring of the house (for these, we recommend placing this over a hardwood, tile or linoleum floor and not carpeting). 

Pros: These are portable, some even fold up and come with a carrying case, so that it can be moved from one room to another or are even great if you bring your Chihuahua with you to visit another house or to bring outside if you'll be spending time in the yard but cannot supervise your dog. 

There is plenty of room in these for a dog to feel secure but not overly confined. 

These are good options for puppies, since you can feel safe knowing that everything within that space has been puppy-proofed. No matter how hyper or riled up a Chihuahua gets, this keeps him in one spot and is a really good alternative to crates. 

Cons: These do take up some real estate in the house, so you may need to clear away an area. 

Recommended playpens and gated pens for Chihuahuas:
Gates - These are used to confine a dog to one room of the house. The upside is that a Chihuahua can have access to an entire room, but this is a downside as well. If the room is fully puppy-proofed and the flooring is safe to withstand accidents, this can be a viable option. 

One of the tricky things about gates is that many have openings that are too large for this tiny toy breed, and the Chihuahua can get his head or even half his body stuck between the railings. So, if you are thinking about using the gate method, do be sure to obtain one with tiny holes or slots or with poles that are spaced close together.

Pros: These are a good choice if you want a method to keep a Chihuahua in one spot but want a quick way to put it up and take it down.  These are also a good method to keep all pets in or out of a room.

Cons: You'll have to puppy-proof the gated off room on a regular basis (though this is recommended at any rate). With some models, unless you have really long legs, you'll have to take the gate down to pass through, as opposed to the canine pen which can remain in place at all times. Though, some do have 'quick release' buttons or latches. 
Recommended doorway gates for Chihuahuas:
Summary- Taking the time to choose the right method of confining your Chihuahua both keeps him safe and helps him be comfortable when home alone or when unsupervised. No matter which method you use, do be sure that your puppy or dog has access to fresh water at all times, a quality bed to rest on and plenty of toys to keep him occupied. 
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