Dog Houses andKennels
When we think about dogs, we typically think to the usual things, such as dog bones, playing fetch, and the big happy smiles on their faces. But then there’s the other aspect that’s started to lose a lot of traction in more recent years: The dog house. We can all picture the classic version of a dog house as the cartoons have shown us for years, but how regularly do you see a dog house anymore? Well, they’re still around, and there are a few things you should consider before either making one yourself or heading out and purchasing the best money has to offer.
The first thing to consider when thinking about a dog house is whether you actually need a dog house or not. If you have a very small yard or hardly ever let your dog wander around unchecked, there’s not a pressing reason to have a specific dog house set up anywhere. The main purpose of a good dog house is to provide shelter for a dog that spends the majority of its time outside and in the elements. If you don’t have a large fenced-in backyard, then chances are you won’t be letting your dog roam freely anyway and can avoid the cost.
Still, those with the means and the situation that allows your dog to be outside by itself for long periods of time should absolutely invest in something to keep your dog happy and safe, but there are quite a few options to choose from. Do you want to simply go with the classic wooden dog house with a pitched roof? Or are you thinking perhaps that a plastic igloo would be best? Of the four materials, those being wood, plastic, metal, and fiberglass, you’ll find that plastics are the easiest to clean whereas wooden ones are the best for providing shade from the sun without overheating your dog.
A very common misunderstanding is that dog houses need to be as big as possible, and that’s just not true. Oddly enough, an oversized dog house will actually stay colder in freezing temperatures and get hotter when the sun’s beating down, thus making them ineffective for much of the purpose of a dog shelter. The best size is just large enough for a dog to be able to comfortably walk in, turn around, and walk out. Anything much larger than that is just excessive.
While the classic design is simple enough with a vaulted roof and one door, you can make them with removable roofs in case you need to get inside for any reason (such as cleaning), or you can have a doggie door put on the front to provide more protection from the rain and the cold. Much of the time a good addition is just a simple pad or pillow bed inside, though something like that will inevitably become dirty much quicker than anywhere else. That’s actually why something incredibly simple like a yoga mat works best as a pillow can become infested with fleas or insects very easily, or become soaked and then utterly rank.
The goal with any new dog house is to make it an inviting location rather than a jail cell. As with an indoor crate, you want your dog to feel safe and comfortable so that it’s a place he’ll just naturally gravitate toward instead of associating it with punishment or something similar. Reward him for sleeping in his house and make sure it really does feel like his house by bringing out some of his favorite toys and such. Allow him to enjoy his own space but give it time as it could take a while for it to feel normal, especially if your dog has always been an indoor dog up till this point.
The cool thing about dog houses is that they can really liven up a backyard and give a sense of personality to the décor. But remember, despite wanting to make it look cool, it needs to be functional and it needs to be about your dog’s needs over your own. Look into the best option for him, then work around that later.
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