The number one, hyperactive, knucklehead puppy.
May 12, 2014 10:11 AM   Subscribe

I have a ten month old, 17 pound, hyperactive puppy. I also live in a city apartment. I am considering getting an indoor exercise pen to supplement the crate. Can anyone offer experience or advice?

Puppy loves to chew, and when she is not occupied chewing toys or bones, she loves to chew on the furniture. This makes near-constant supervision necessary. When I can't supervise, whether because I need a break, I'm sleeping, or I'm away at work, the dog has to be in her crate.

While puppy is adequately crate trained in general, she has a nearly unlimited supply of energy. She goes to daycare once a week, dog parks on weekends, and walks during the week. Still, she has a lot of energy.

So, I'm wondering if an x-pen could help, either when I need some a break from our "puppy, no! stop destroying the couch!" time, or when I am away during the day. This would let her have more freedom of movement; if not the same as running around and wrestling at the dog park, at least it would offer more than a crate.

I am concerned that she might be able to hop it (puppy is a strong jumper), that she might be able to knock it over, or that it would not function well inside an apartment.

Can anyone recommend a particular x-pen? Can anyone describe their experience with these kinds of things? Is there anything I'm overlooking?
posted by J. Wilson to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Been there. This is how puppies are -- FULL OF BEANS, and needing LOTS OF EXERCISE. A crate is all you need -- exercise pen isn't going to allow enough space for her anyway to burn off the beans. But she needs a lot more walkies and play, that is clear. If you can't do it due to work, I'd strongly recommend a doggy day care where she can run all day, daily, not weekly.
posted by bearwife at 10:49 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't leave her in the x-pen while you're gone, but it might be a good thing to have her in while you're at home and can't be watching her every second. It's not going to let her really get any exercise but at least she will get more stimulation/interaction than the crate. Crate while you're gone.

Also if you don't have baby gates, they're really helpful.
posted by radioamy at 11:06 AM on May 12, 2014

I have a four-month-old puppy. I have had a trainer for about a month -that makes a big difference. My behaviour is better, so is my dog's. Even when we are just hanging out, there is a different dynamic. You may want to read up on, and talk to people about some training, if you can't pay for training sessions. Too many people think that there dog is too small to warrant a trainer. This is not true at all, small dogs need trainers, too.

Second -rule of thumb is that your dog needs five minutes of play, twice per day, for every month of its age, as a puppy. Are you doing walks beyond just potty breaks? Walking your dog for 30-40m will really help a lot.

Good luck! I'll try to remember to post puppy picks if you do!
posted by kellyblah at 11:08 AM on May 12, 2014

I used an x-pen and a crate when my dog was a puppy. It gave him time out his crate while I was home but had other things to do than watch his every move. Your dog is small and will be able to hop around, do play bows and flips, and roll about in a x-pen. I also took it with me when visiting others with yards. I just plopped it out in the yard and put him in it.

I found it very useful for the first two years of his life. He had a chewing love affair with my computer wires.
posted by cairnoflore at 11:40 AM on May 12, 2014

Nthing the more/longer walks: We had a puppy like this, looked into something similar, and asked our vet. We were sure that because our dog got some (5-10) minute walks in the day and went to the dog park almost daily for about an hour she was getting enough exercise.

Then our vet gave us the best piece of dog advice I've ever gotten: exercise is not the same as play, and dogs need both. So unless our dog was in doggy day care, she needed long walks and play like the dog park.

We gave our dog a 30 minute walk in the morning, a 30-40 minute walk in the evening, and while we cut down the dog park time to weekends due to time, still made sure she got at least 15 minutes of play a day, usually in 5 minute increments. The change was immediate and we got an entirely new dog! Your dog being smaller might not need as much time, but you can experiment.

With some behavior, you question is the dog doing it for attention, or out of boredom? This way, she got plenty of attention from us and was mentally stimulated. Bonus: training efforts also improved. We had a lot better luck teaching her she could chew on her chew toys and not our shoes, for example.

We also improved her play time. For example, she's a type bred to find small animals, so she loves playing hide and seek with her favorite treats and toys, which is the kind of thing you can do while you make dinner. Once she got the knack of it, we made it as hard as possible. (Since she's really good at staying, we also play hide and seek where she has to find us.) She also adores stimulation toys, and can play by herself all she wants.

If we can't give our dog that much walk time at once, we will give it to her in increments. (Plus a 10 minute walk after dinner is good for us, too.) At first it was a pain in the ass - we don't have time for this, we whined, and we had to get up at least 30 minutes earlier - but after seeing what a difference it made in our pup it was so, so worth it.

Warning: it wasn't until our dog turned about 4 when she stopped needed that much walking. Now about two 15-20 minute walks a day are enough.

Also for mental stimulation/wearing them out: puppies love to learn, and this is a great time to teach them tricks beyond regular training. A 3-5 minute trick/training session with our dog really tires her out.

Good luck! I know it's a lot of hard work and very frustrating at times.
posted by barchan at 12:13 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

My dog Truman is two. I used an x-pen with him for the first probably 10 months of his life. It worked great for us.

Some caveats:
-Truman can be high-energy when he's playing, but is overall a pretty chill dog.
-He's litter box trained, so the primary purpose of the x-pen was so he'd be able to mosey over and go to the bathroom whenever he wanted.
-He can't jump for shit.

I found that he was much happier with the x-pen setup than with the crate because he could move around and chew on different things (and pee in his box) without being crowded. Coupled with plenty of playtime when I got home, the system worked well for us.
posted by phunniemee at 12:17 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

So it sounds like an xpen would only be good when we are home to supervise, but it is good for allowing more stimulation during the day than the crate at times when I need a bit of a break from chasing puppy around?

I understand it won't be an exercise substitute for long walks and playtime, but that is certainly an important point some of you have raised. We already do that, although it seems that puppy's shiba energy is superior to our human energy.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:41 AM on May 14, 2014

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