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Best Shih Tzu Pens and Gates

Best Pens and Gates for a Shih Tzu

The 4 Top Benefits of Using a Playpen or Gate

There are huge benefits to having a canine playpen for your Shih Tzu. Alternatively to that, the use of gates may offer many of these pluses as well. 

1) For housebreaking - The thought of house training a Shih Tzu puppy without the use of a pen is almost insurmountable.  This is keeping in mind that a crate should not be used. Placing a puppy or dog inside a small crate is severely confining, can cause a dog to become both physically and emotionally stressed and does not prevent a dog from going to the bathroom. 

While other methods must be involved as well, such as choosing a designated area, taking your Shih Tzu there at all appropriate times, and immediately giving praise and reward, a huge part of this is properly confining your pup to one spot when you cannot keep an eye on him. 

Most owners that are frustrated about their pup urinating and eliminating all over the house are not using a playpen method. If a pup is allowed to be everywhere in the house, surely he will pee everywhere.

2) For when home alone - The issue of separation anxiety is a common one. Yet, there are things you can do to help your Shih Tzu cope better.  This includes having the right stay busy toys, treat release toys, a quality bed for feeling safe, offering a companion toy, playing certain calming music for canines, experimenting with a window vs non-window view, taking practices runs and so forth. And having the right playpen is a vital piece of this as well. 

Dogs that struggle with feelings of isolation should not have free reign of the house, this can really exasperate things. 

When set up properly, a canine play pen does 2 things:
  • It keeps a Shih Tzu supplies all in one spot. Everything that you have for your Shih Tzu (as listed above) is right there within reach and cannot be scattered over the whole room (or entire house) thereby not being of any value. 
  • It helps to create a 'den' for security. When a puppy or dog is in what they perceive to be a den (large enough to move around but not so small as to feel claustrophobic) this offers a sense of comfort. Having a nice, quality bed within a playpen enclosure (or gated area) offers a place to nest and feel safe.
And of course, this also limits where they can go to the bathroom. 

Tip: Think of the playpen as having 4 sections: 1) bed 2) toys area 3) food and water and 4) pee pads.

Since a dog will rarely soil his own belongings, this only leaves the pee pads as the place that a Shih Tzu will go to the bathroom when in his pen. 
3) For a safe place to be when not supervised - Hopefully you take time to puppy-proof the house on a regular basis no matter how old your Shih Tzu is. However, even so, there are always going to be things that a dog can get into. And there's always going to be things a dog can chew at.

While you will want to have your Shih Tzu by your side as often as possible, if your Shih Tzu tends to mouth things, chew things, scratch things, etc. placing him in his playpen will keep him safe and unable to do any damage. 

4) As an optional retreat - Do you even just want to be alone and away from other people, noise or commotion sometimes? Dogs do too. All dogs should have their own area where they can retreat to as they wish. This may be to get some time away from other pets, from children, from a house full of visitors, etc. 

Pens Vs Gates

The two options are to have a canine playpen or to use gates to block off a room. Let's look at the pros and cons:

Pens: An appropriately sized canine playpen is often the best choice.  The pros are that this fits the bill in regard to offering the right amount of room. These are also great because they are portable and can easily be moved from room to room (or even brought along when visiting another house) as needed. 

With these, you have the option of an open pen (it rests on your flooring) or a closed bottomed pen (which offers a sealed bottom to protect your floors). 

Gates: Depending on the layout of your home, and the size of the room that you are thinking of blocking off, this may work for you. If you choose to use a gate to keep your Shih Tzu within one room, that room will need to be thoroughly puppy-proofed. 

Gates are a good option to use if you want to block off steps or access to certain rooms (if a Shih Tzu keeps trying to mark in one area or if a room contains too many dangers, etc.)

The Best Type of PlayPens

Sizing and sturdiest are two of the most important qualities to consider. As mentioned above, you want the pen to be able to hold all of your Shih Tzu's necessary supplies, but not be so small that it could be conceived as too confining. 

Look for an open air styled pen (no roof). Both canvas walls with windows and open-slat gate pens are good options. 

Think about the type of flooring that you have in your house, to decide if you want an open or closed bottomed pen. 

Keeping this all in mind, these are fantastic options for pens for Shih Tzu puppies and dogs:

The Best Type of Gates

If you are looking for a gate to block off a room or to use as a safety feature to block off a stairway (it is common for this to be done for senior dogs with waning vision), the 3 elements to look for are: durability, ease of use and sizing of holes (many baby gates have slat width that would allow a little puppy to wiggle through.

Here are are favorite gates that work well for Shih Tzu puppies and dogs:
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