Here’s a few of our favorite, tried and tested products for managing young puppies.

Throw us a bone? This blog may contain affiliate links. You pay the same, but we get a small amount from the seller. Click the product images to view the seller’s page.

Here is our in depth guide on using management for puppies, ideally read this blog before shopping for your ideal management tools.

Exercise Pens

MidWest’s Exercise Pen with Full Max Lock Door

This X-Pen is sturdy but easy to handle. Most puppies can use a 36″ but you can upgrade to the 48″ if you have large or adventurous puppies. There’s a few features that make this X-Pen stand out. First is the door, which allows a human to walk into the pen easily. Trust us, this is a worthwhile investment. You can also easily attach this to a crate for crate training work. And, if you plan on using this X-Pen a lot, you can purchase a wire or mesh top, to deter climbing.

Petmate Courtyard Exercise Pen

This is a heavy duty X-Pen, suited for very large puppies or adult dogs who push around lighterweight pens. Storage is not this pen’s strong suit, as it doesn’t fold up as one piece. However, if you have a specific size need, the drop pin design allows easy removal/addition of panels. The door requires you to step over it, and you may need to lift puppies into the pen itself, but most larger breed puppies can hop in. You unfortunately cannot easily attach a crate to this pen.


MidWest’s iCrate – Single or Double Door

Now, obviously the size of the crate you buy is determined by the size of your puppy. Style, however, is something we can touch on extensively. Midwest’s iCrate is a great starter crate, being sturdy enough for most dogs and very functional. Wire crates are often easier to use during crate training, as you can securely attach an X-Pen to a wire crate. They’re also easier to store and transport, as they collapse down flat. We prefer the flexibility of a double door crate, as it allows for more flexibility when constructing a play pen.

Petmate Navigator

We have tested a lot of plastic crates over the years, and this one stands out. The Navigator is a great choice for both puppies and adult dogs. It has very good air circulation and visibility, which can be the biggest drawback to plastic crates. The door is one of the best features, as it can open from the left or right, and be easily removed. This is especially nice for use in a Play Pen, or if you leave a crate in your living area. As an added bonus, this door is not easy for dogs to open – this is a great option for dogs who “pop” doors open, or “pull” doors inward on other models. Now, this is not for dogs who chew/destroy crates to escape. The only downside, as with all plastic crates, is storage and transportation. It’s not a heavy crate, but it’s bulkier then wire crates.


Mighty Paw Chew Proof Leash

This leash is a great option for puppies who chew leashes. The padded handle is great for the owner, too. This would make a good leash if you are using a leash during management and discover you’ve got a chewer. It’s a great price, which is a good bonus for a tool you may not use for forever.

Signature K9 Biothane Long Line

Long lines are great, but also kind of a pain. Lightweight ones tangle and burn your hands, some get soggy and absorb dirt, and if you get the wrong size it’s even worst. We find for most beginners, a 15 foot long line is best – not too much to get tangled in, but enough to let your dog range. We also find biothane to be a great first choice in material – leather-like feel, but waterproof and easy to clean. The width you choose depends on your dog – for tiny/small breed dogs, 3/8″ is well tolerated. For bigger puppies, 3/4″ is best – enough to grip easily but not too heavy.

Halti Training Leash

Another good choice for management, this leash has two snaps, one on each end. This allows you to tether the puppy easily to yourself, or something solid. It also can be used as a drag line, without a handle to get caught on stuff. It’s also very soft material, and sturdy. The large size is fine for all sized dogs, except sensitive tiny puppies who could use the small size.

Baby Gates

Evenflo Position and Lock Tall Pressure Mount Gate

This is a simple, inexpensive gate that most puppies won’t immediately jump or climb over. Now, it’s a bit too tall to step over for most people, which is a draw back in some situations. However, it’s easy to put up and down, so if you don’t plan on having a permanent gate in a location, this works well.

Regalo Easy Step Extra Tall Walk Thru Baby Gate

Now, if you know a gate is going to be a permanent management solution for you, this is a great choice. Easy to open for the humans, but tall to deter jumping for most dogs. It also should be pretty hard to climb, as it lacks horizontal bars. This specific one comes with an extension kit, which is handy for larger gateways.

Now, the original blog also lists pacifiers as a management tool. We have another blog for discussing this subject, so I won’t list any recommendations here.

About the Author: Susanne has been training dogs since she was a teenager, first as a competitor then as a professional, for nearly 40 years.   She has been a breeder of German Shepherd Dogs for 30 years under the kennel name Austerlitz where she is proud to be on her sixth generation of homebred dogs.   She shares her life with husband Larry, daughter Rebecca, 4 horses, 2 old cats, numerous chickens, a very needy garden, and a plethora of German Shepherd Dogs.   Her hobbies include pulling weeds, scooping poop, picking up after everyone, and cleaning stuff. 

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}