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Metrowest, MA
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It really depends on your preference and space. The Midwest pens have shorter sections, so the fit differently than the tubular steel ones. I think the tubular steel ones LOOk much nicer, and they certainly can’t be knocked around as easily as the Midwest style. You can also easily just add or subtract sections. With the Midwest style, you can fold up sections you don’t want to use, but they are still attached. Not a huge deal, but they are there, and you need to be careful or they can pinch toes.

I like the tubular steal type for my puppy’s “semi-permanent” pen. We have used the Midwest pens for moveable pens for outdoors. But I have used both over the years, so neither is a “bad” choice. Here are photos of both set up for our puppies:

I would NOT recommend this type of sail cloth under the pen. Kodi was able to get his teeth into it and pull it up, collapsing the pen on himself!
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Later I got this piece of vinyl, and this has suvived four puppies and counting! It is again rolled up in the basement awaiting the next time it needs to be pressed into service! This is the tubular steel pen. dave cut off ends of the pins, so that they don’t scratch our floors, but if you can’t do that, you can use zip ties to attach the sections together rather than the pins. You can attach a crate to either style pen with zip ties.

We no longer attach a crate to day time pens for puppies, because the dogs sleep in crates in our bedroom. So they don’t really need a crate in (or attached to) their pen for during the day. When we had Kodi as a puppy, Dave was still a “dog hater”, and dogs were not allowed in the bedroom. ;)
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There is another type of pen that a fellow breeder has introduced me to that I like a LOT. I need another pen like I need a hole in the head, but I actually think I’m going to buy one of these, because they are VERY light weight, but at the same time sturdy:


I just think this will be very handy for traveling and shows. I also think it would be great for people with puppies as an extra “travel pen”.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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32,246 Posts
I love the look of the tubular style steel pen more than the MidWest wire pen. Our kitchen and living room are L shaped and they meet where a kitchen table would go, if that makes sense. We don't have a kitchen table, so it's a perfect spot for an ex-pen and crate. I wish there was a tubular style crate to match the pen. I suppose I could skip the crate in the kitchen and just put a dog bed (or fleece blankets) in the ex-pen like you had set up for Ducky in your office. If I should stick with a crate in that space though, I could learn to live with the non matching look. 😂

Ohhh! I really like the ex-pens from Seabreeze as a pen to keep at my parents' house when they puppy sit! I'll have to see which size fits best at their house, either the 24×18 or 24×36.

We'll put another crate in our room upstairs where the puppy will sleep at night, and maybe one in my husband's office, also upstairs.
I like your thinking! Some people like to “make do” with one pen and one crate and move them around. I always wanted to just have to move the puppy, and have the right “containment equipment” in each place the puppy would be!
 

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Metrowest, MA
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I can vouch for MidWest, I believe I got the 24" size and Enzo, pretty much fully grown, still isn't tall enough to jump out.
It is rarely a case of a puppy jumping out of an ex-pen, (though it CAN happen) ALMOST always, it is a case of them climbing up and jumping off the top. Which means that the height is really immaterial. Once they learn to climb, they can climb any height, and just get hurt worse from a taller pen. The only answer in those cases is either a pen with just vertical bars (there are a few) or a cover for the pen. (There are a number of options on Amazon)

Midwest (and similar, Amazon Basics is even cheaper!) is definitely the least expensive and totally serviceable. If you are short, or buy taller than 24”, get one eith a gate that you can step through. They are only a few dollars more.

Also, it really isn’t all about the height of the dog whether they will jump out or not. Kodi has been able to stand with his front feet on the top of a 24” pen and his head and shoulders are WAY over it. He has (mistakenly, but EASILY) jumped 24” jumps in the agility and obedience ring when he was younger. ALL my dogs (except Kodi now that he is older) easily jump onto my bed which is well over 24” high, so there is no doubt in my mind that they COULD jump a 24” pen. But they respect it, because they have been used to it since they were little puppies, and feel comfortable and safe there. I’ve seen Great Danes who respect 24” ex-pens. (Which is actually pretty funny, ;))

I don't like the fabric ones because puppies tend to teeth on them and can ingest the fabric. Plastic is probably fine too but less durable.
Cloth pens, like cloth crates, should NEVER be used for puppies without close supervision, for the reasons you mentioned and more. Only when a dog is mature and fully trained to crates and pens should they ever be left unattended in a soft-sided crate or pen, and even then, only after you’ve tride them in it supervised a number of times.

Plastic pens, at least Iris pens, are VERY durable. I would actually say, owning both, that they are MORE durable than Midwest pens. They can be left outdoors, long term, without rusting or breaking down. They are easily washed, and there is no paint to peel off. The PROBLEMS are that they don’t fold down into a nice, easy to store foot-print, and IMO, worst, is they have this STUPID gate that a human can’t walk through! I have one, and I use it in pieces in outdoor applications. Two sections block the steps off our porch and deck, and the rest of it blocks the tractor gate out of our back yard, where there is a low spot that the dogs could get under. I don’t love them, but not because they aren’t durable.

Since I am working with a pretty tight budget, I just bought a tarp from Lowe's instead of vinyl for the floor, and it works fine. Enzo never bothered to chew on it but I would watch just in case with a new puppy. I like it because it's easy to clean, and not like any surface texture we have in the home. He has inadvertently learned that tarp is OK to pee on, even though he will also use pee pads. I would just keep that in mind if it matters to you for whatever reason.

Enzo still mostly goes potty outside and learned that quickly with consistency and effort, though the other day in our agility class there was a tarp set out for the dogs to interact with and while on it, Enzo took the opportunity to relieve himself XD. He also dislikes going potty in the rain, and if I don't watch him closely enough, he may try to finish his business inside on the tarp, but we are working on it. Otherwise it hasn't caused any issues for us.
Does Enzo have a potty tray in his pen? And has he been trained to use it? My guess is that if he had, he would not have starteted thinking of the tarp as an appropriate place to potty.
 
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Metrowest, MA
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I see several crates in our future! My Amazon cart is overflowing. It makes more sense to me to move the puppy or dog, not the crate. This, coming from someone who 1) had a family dog who never really used a crate or an ex-pen and 2) doesn't even have a puppy yet! 😂

Karen, I'd love to know how the Seabreeze holds up if you do purchase one.
I don’t have one yet, but I have a breeder friend who has used them for years, so I know they hold up well.
 
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Metrowest, MA
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He had a pee pad, and used it consistently, but since we've mostly transitioned to going outside to potty he started generalizing in his brain that playpen tarp floor is OK to pee on. lol. It's not a big deal to me, I know I can retrain him to the pad and he will still use it when available but I prefer him going outside and he prefers going outside too now. This is especially true because he started having issues where to him, the carpet/rug texture was close enough to pee pad in his mind to pee on...🥲 He's mostly stopped that behavior and I'd say 99% of the time goes to the door to potty (hes in his teen regression era right now though). I tried using a litter tray/box when he was small but he just used it as a bed 🤦 I removed it eventually and stuck to pee pads/outside potty.
Read my other post about switching to pellets for your "next" puppy. ;) Personally, if he were MY puppy, I would care VERY much that he was peeing on the tarp inside the pen. I would decrease the size of the pen so it was small enough that the only option was the potty and his bed inside the pen. This is NOT a generalization I would want my dog to make. VERY few dogs cannot learn to differentiate between paper pads and rugs. Were you using cloth pads? Those can DEFINITELY be a problem. (which is why I strongly discourage their use... even more than paper pads)

We want dog to learn that there are ONLY two acceptable places to potty... Outdoors or on the potty. PERIOD. Otherwise you get these confusions with rugs, tarps, etc. Probably another reason to use vinyl flooring under the pen. It is CLEARLY a type of flooring, and one that is NOT to be eliminated on. If it IS used that way, the pen gets made smaller so that that is not an option. (photo od Panda in "puppy jail" when her potty training slipped after a UTI! It took very little time to get her back on track with this "reminder" confinement!)
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Also to your first point, I forgot that I actually did have to train Enzo to respect the gate when we started using it. He got rewarded for four on the floor and laying down peacefully inside the pen. He's not tried to climb out because he knows he isn't supposed to.
Most puppies don't need this kind of specific training, but good for you that you did it!
 
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