Portable Dog Runs

by Ragtimelil

I’ve been looking into getting a portable pen for my dogs. Here’s what I’ve found out about them.

I can’t put up a permanent pen for my dogs where I’m living. A nice chain link kennel would be my first choice for the safety and comfort of my dogs but I'll have to look at portable runs instead.
I’ve used portable pens before but my dogs were generally quiet and used to staying put. Right now I have a young Border collie puppy who is anxious to explore and creative in his attempts at freedom. I need something safe for him even if can’t leave him alone in it for long. I would like to be able to have them outside for longer than just our two walks a day without tying them.
Here’s what I’ve learned about some of these pens.


I’ve used a metal exercise pen in the past and Midwest is a well known brand. They make a zinc coated one that has a door. The black ones do not. if your dog likes to dig, that can be a problem with these pens. I've seen them set up on an outdoor carpet to prevent that.

These pens come up to 48 inches tall and are 4 by 4 feet when configured in a square. They have 8 panels, 2 feet wide each. There are also wire covers that are made to go on these pens that are pretty secure.

They can be attached to a wire dog crate, but unless you have a crate with two doors, it would be awkward to get the dog in and out.

Exercise Play Pen Soft Crate L

by BestPet

This soft-sided pen had a good rating from one review. The price is reasonable and although it’s less than two feet tall, it has a cover which would prevent jumping. My only concerns are chewing, and the floor. I would think my young dog would be out of there in short order. 

 Some of the floors are only attached with Velcro strips and might leave gaps that an energetic dog could wiggle through. They do come with stakes and it might be possible to secure it, but I’m a little hesitant about these models. They would have worked well for some of my more polite dogs that I’ve had in the past. I would have loved it when I had Shetland Sheepdogs.The pen folds up and fits into a carry bag.

Heavy Duty Dog Exercise Pen

by BestPet

These are the best looking pens with their tubular frames. I’d love to try it out except for a few issues. One is the price. The other is they don’t come in sizes that could prevent jumping. At 40" my younger dog would be right over.  I haven’t seen anyone selling a cover for these. A shade cover might work if you could find a way to keep its secure.

Precision Pet Courtyard Kennel, Silver Crackle

This is another metal pen that looks nice and has good ratings. It also is lacking in a floor or cover, but does have optional extra panels available. You can’t just buy one, however. They come in a set of two, still that is better than another make who only offers extra panels in sets of four.

Petsafe-Dog Kennel

This chain link kennel looks like a good deal, but has some real issues. While it got some good reviews, several people complained that the web was too loose and flimsy and their dogs chewed right through it. Another said her dog managed to get his head caught under the door and strangled. I think I would stay away from this one unless you are prepared to do some serious modifications.



These are some nice looking kennels, but they are pretty expensive for only 4 by 4 feet of room. They are tall and do come with covers. The PetSafe kennel has extra panels available but they only come in sets of four. The cover is plastic and one reviewer said her dog chewed it and climbed out. It looks nice but it is a bit pricey.

I've discovered over the years that it is extremely difficult to contain a really determined dog. Even easy dogs sometimes have annoying habits like digging. None of the lightweight pens will guarantee that the dog will stay in them. I would always start with training the dog to stay in while I'm there to supervise. Gradually, I'd leave them alone as they grow accustomed to staying in the pen. I would never use the lightweight pens as an outdoor kennel while I am away. 

Updated: 12/02/2012, Ragtimelil
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Pen Your Comments

Ragtimelil on 02/10/2013

Some with covers would work for indoor cats too. And most work for bunnies.

AngelaJohnson on 02/10/2013

I don't have a dog, but these are a great idea.

Ragtimelil on 12/09/2012

Oh absolutely. You really have to pay attention to how active or "creative" your dog is - lol

2uesday on 12/09/2012

This is a good review as it helps people to choose the pen that best suits their dog. It must be easier to find a dog run that is suitable for a small quiet dog than for an energetic larger type.

Ragtimelil on 10/06/2012

Those work pretty well, actually. I don't have the room for one here. Some people use the cheaper portable dog pens to fence in their gardens, trees and ponds, rather than the dogs.

Sheri_Oz on 10/06/2012

We had a line put across the yard and tied our dog to a leash that slipped along the line so he could run, but I always felt it must drive him crazy to only be able to go back and forth within a narrow path. Couldn't let him free in the garden, though, or there'd be no garden. This seems like a good solution.

Ragtimelil on 10/05/2012

Thanks. I really am thinking of getting one or two for my dogs.

katiem2 on 10/05/2012

Dog tools just keep getting better. The portable dog run is a great idea. Sure dog owners everywhere will love this. :)K

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