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.
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.