X-Pens and I have a sordid love affair.
I wrote this post on facebook ages ago (Around christmas in fact) and it deserves to be re-stated here.
X-pens! The best friend you didn’t know you needed.
If you are one of many who got an adorable fluffy little puppy this Christmas than you might be at the point of pulling your hair out. That cute little pup has become a demon spawn so quickly. It’s razor teeth have left battle scars on your hands and feet, your furniture is beginning to look like chow, and don’t get me started on your carpet.
But I have for you the solution to your troubles. The magical device. It is called the X-pen. The stay at home nanny you don’t pay hourly.
All jokes aside folks this really is a tool I can’t live without when I raise a puppy. It’s nearly as sacred to me as the crate. See there’s this weird limbo time where my puppys really been in the crate a lot that day but I have to get stuff done, you know eating dinner, sitting in the bathroom without chasing a puppy around, maybe even getting some tv time. (Yes overly stressed moms and dads out there. You can take a break and not feel guilty about the puppy)
So for limbo time I give you the x-pen. Now because I know my puppies still a young learning little bundle of fur I prepare for the chance of accidents. House training is all about preventive action, meaning learn your puppies schedule and frequent trips to the potty spot, but in the case of an accident I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning carpet. My solution? Go to your nearest home improvement store and check out their clearance/sale linoleum. Get yourself a nice cheap roll of the stuff and place it over your carpet, then x-pen on top. Voila! Easy clean up.
Why is the x-pen so great? Because you can take your eyes off your puppy. We advocate eyes on puppy ALL THE TIME when it’s not in the crate or x-pen. Why? Because they are tiny little drunken toddlers that explore the world with their mouth! The receptical which is attached to their stomach. (Dont get me started on the things vets pull out of puppys tummys) We also think its a darned good practice to influence your puppies choices early in the game rather than having to correct bad habits later.
So we just toss our puppy in the x-pen and walk away? NO! It’s not fool proof. Puppies can learn to climb, jump, so forth. Try to be in the same room or checking in walking by frequently. But for the most part think of it like daycare. Your puppy can’t harm itself in there by chewing or swallowing the wrong thing and it cant run behind the couch and potty for you to find by smell later.
What do I like to put in the x-pen with my puppy? Toys! I keep a bucket of toys that I rotate in and out of the pen so there’s always something new to explore the next day. Puppies are like children. Take it away for a few days and suddenly its a new toy again. I also throw in cardboard boxes, crinkled newspaper balled up with treats inside, water bottles with caps and labels removed, etc. You’re only limited by your imagination and the safety of your puppy.
Don’t forget to work on polite etiquette when coming out of their pen. Approach the door and stand still. When your puppy sits and makes eye contact then you can open the door. If they try to race out close the door and wait for the sit/eye contact again. When they offer it release them with your verbal command. We use okay.