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Outdoor kennel - ideas

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Sometime this year I hope to build one or two outdoor kennels. I would love to hear your advice re: size, ground cover (gravel, wood chips, grass, rubber mats?), pen materials, housing, etc. Anything you can think of.

 

Basically, what worked for you and what didn't work - or if a friend had good or bad experiences with a particular attribute of an outdoor kennel.

 

I am not sure if I will place it/them in a sunny or shaded place. Here in SW VA, I worry more about the summer heat/humidity/sun so if they were not shaded, I would be using a tarp over the top for summer protection.

 

OK, go!

 

Thanks in advance.

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I found gravel to be a PITA when cleaning up poop. I guess if you use a poop bag it would be all right, but using a shovel or a pooper scooper I ended up getting a bunch of gravel that then got thrown away (in my case into the woods) and eventually had to add a little more gravel.

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I have a couple of 6'x6'x6' aluminum kennels. A dog house in one corner and 8"x10" pavers for the floor. No dig outs, easy to clean. They're in natural shade 100% of the time May-Oct and have worked perfect for my dogs. The cost was about $225-$250 each for kennel/paver set up about 6 years ago. I use them like large outdoor crates when I work all day. Gives them a bit more space and if they *have* to pee/poop they can (though it's rare that they do)

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My ideal kennel (money is not a problem):

 

Nothing on the floor the dogs can eat, so no gravel or wood chips. Ideally you want concrete flooring (easy to clean and disinfect). Rubber mats are ok over the concrete, if they don't chew them and they can be removed for cleaning.

 

Drain system for easy clean up.

 

Solid barriers between the runs tall enough that the dogs can't jump up and see each other. Otherwise you can get fence fighting and injuries.

 

Indoor and outdoor sections with the indoor area large enough to accommodate a dog house. Even if they can get inside, a dog house helps hold their body heat better. (At least 5 x 10 ft outdoor section.)

 

Doors that can be secured shut easily with a clip. So many dogs will jump, hit the latch and accidentally open the doors.

 

Wind breaks on the sides and a full roof over the top. The wind breaks can be shade cloth. A roof on top will keep rain off the floor of the runs so it doesn't freeze into dangerous ice in the winter.

 

A source of electricity and water. The electricity is for fans, heated kennel pads, lights, keep the water from freezing. The water is for cleaning, watering and feeding. Fans with misting systems work well in the summer heat to cool things off.

 

Don't skimp on the quality of the materials for the runs! Cheap chain link will rust, bend and fall apart. I really like those welded wire kennels, but they are pricy.

 

Not visible from the road and the ability to lock the kennel to reduce the odds of theft. Security cameras too.

 

ETA: Heck, my dream kennel would have in floor heating/cooling.

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Liz: Fantasy kennel for sure. If I win the lottery, you can be sure that I would build it. :)

 

I should have added that these kennels would be mainly for when I have to be away during the day. Dogs would always be inside at night, and with very inclement weather, they would also remain inside.

 

We are not usually away from the house for more than 4 hours (usually less) when we have to do errands and such, but I think the dogs might appreciate being outside if we are gone more than 3 or 4 hours. I would feel better too about allowing them more freedom vs. being in a crate.

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The kennels here have heavy rubber floor mats (stall mats). I agree with putting them in natural shade and making sure they're lockable for anti-theft reasons. The Priefert kennels here are well made and sturdy.

 

J.

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So, priorities would be:

 

Good quality panels. I've seen too many cheap panels that dogs can escape from and hurt themselves on. Too many also rust and break down really fast. You should be able to secure the doors with clips. Don't skimp here.

 

Solid, well designed dog houses so they can stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. You want a smaller, protected entrance so wind and rain don't get in.

 

I have no idea how much it costs to pour concrete, but I really hate gravel and wood chip flooring (having removed lots from dogs' stomachs). Crushed stone might be better, but it would depend on the size of the pieces. If you can't put down concrete, put a layer of wire on or under the ground so the dogs can't dig out.

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Best kennels I saw had an indoor section with sealed concrete (easy to clean and always looks nice). Each dog had about 6x8ft space (maybe less, I am a bad judge of size). They had doggy doors to their own individual runs, which were probably 6x15ft (once again, probably off, but basic idea is small indoor space, long outdoor space). Then those runs connected to a large fenced outdoor space which connected all the runs (basically a dog park area for the dogs to play together if the owner wasn't out playing with them himself).

 

Liz: Fantasy kennel for sure. If I win the lottery, you can be sure that I would build it. :)

 

I should have added that these kennels would be mainly for when I have to be away during the day. Dogs would always be inside at night, and with very inclement weather, they would also remain inside.

 

We are not usually away from the house for more than 4 hours (usually less) when we have to do errands and such, but I think the dogs might appreciate being outside if we are gone more than 3 or 4 hours. I would feel better too about allowing them more freedom vs. being in a crate.

 

But after this statement I want to ask why the aversion to crates? I feel that sometimes the idea of freedom can be misused with dogs. While a person may find an outdoor kennel more comfortable then a crate, this isn't always true of a dog. You may see the extra space as freedom, this may translate to boredom or anxiety for the dog, which can lead to problem behaviors. When a dog is crate trained they know what they are supposed to do once they enter that crate. I imagine you could do the same with an outdoor kennel (I am not saying outdoor kennels are the problem, lots of people use them, but many that do raised their pups that way). When I think of outdoor kennels that aren't used properly, I imagine all the dogs I saw growing up that bark at anything that moves, run back and forth at the edge of the kennel, and dig if they are able. All of that seems to be due to increased anxiety.

 

Obviously, do what you want to do. To me it just sounds like a crate would be an easier and cheaper option for you, especially since you only need it for 3-4hrs (of course, as long as you go through the crate training). Even all the good outdoor kennels I have seen provide a large space and a small enclosed space. The small enclosed space gives the dog a place to rest and feel secure. I guess that would be my main recommendation for a kennel, make sure you include a smaller enclosed space.

 

Of course, I've never used an outdoor kennel myself, so maybe I am completely wrong and someone on here can correct me.

 

Also, just noticed that you said for more then 4hrs. Not sure how much more is, but an adult dog can be crated for up to 8hrs, but I wouldn't want to due that on a regular basis. I try to make sure my dog is only crated for ~4hrs at any one time.

Edited by Chanse

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I have an outdoor igloo (plastic) for Juno that is light and easy to move to shade, or near the house in winter. I don't leave her alone very much so she has the run of the yard and then the igloo if she needs to sleep.

Bill

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But after this statement I want to ask why the aversion to crates? I feel that sometimes the idea of freedom can be misused with dogs. While a person may find an outdoor kennel more comfortable then a crate, this isn't always true of a dog. You may see the extra space as freedom, this may translate to boredom or anxiety for the dog, which can lead to problem behaviors. When a dog is crate trained they know what they are supposed to do once they enter that crate. I imagine you could do the same with an outdoor kennel (I am not saying outdoor kennels are the problem, lots of people use them, but many that do raised their pups that way). When I think of outdoor kennels that aren't used properly, I imagine all the dogs I saw growing up that bark at anything that moves, run back and forth at the edge of the kennel, and dig if they are able. All of that seems to be due to increased anxiety.

 

Obviously, do what you want to do. To me it just sounds like a crate would be an easier and cheaper option for you, especially since you only need it for 3-4hrs (of course, as long as you go through the crate training). Even all the good outdoor kennels I have seen provide a large space and a small enclosed space. The small enclosed space gives the dog a place to rest and feel secure. I guess that would be my main recommendation for a kennel, make sure you include a smaller enclosed space.

 

Of course, I've never used an outdoor kennel myself, so maybe I am completely wrong and someone on here can correct me.

 

Also, just noticed that you said for more then 4hrs. Not sure how much more is, but an adult dog can be crated for up to 8hrs, but I wouldn't want to due that on a regular basis. I try to make sure my dog is only crated for ~4hrs at any one time.

I have no problem with dogs in crates, and both of my dogs are very comfortable in a crate - whether at home, in a car or at an agility event. They stay in them quietly.

 

Right now, my 7 year old dog is very trustworthy left free in the house. He has been very good since he was ~18 months old, which was the time that I started transitioning him from a crate to house privileges. My young dog (~11 months) is still kept in a crate when I leave the house. It will be interesting to see how it will go when I try to transition him to house privileges since the two of them love to play (but they also spend a lot of time just lying around together).

 

The dogs have not asked for an outdoor kennel. :) It is more my idea that I would feel better about letting the dogs have more room if I have to be gone for 6, 8 or 10 hours. And yes, I know that dogs are fine in a crate for 8+/- hours.

 

I hadn't really thought about the potential for 'fence' running and barking. I live in a rural environment. It is usually very quiet, but the occasional deer or escaped cow can cause a ruckus (barking dogs) when seen from inside the house. I would hope not to see that behavior, but will cross that bridge when I come to it (if I do go the outside kennel route).

 

I agree that buying a couple more crates that are bigger than the ones I have would be cheaper than an outdoor kennel or two and would salve my conscience about some extra space for the dogs when left for extended periods of time.

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Okay, got it. That makes more sense. I kinda just wanted to make sure that you didn't view the crate as a punishment. I've met a few people that felt that way and they can be hard to convince otherwise.

 

But yeah, I think it is definitely good to be prepared for potential issue like fence running and barking. Being outside is always more stimulating for you dogs and they may get frustrated with not being able to interact with everything going on around them (since they are already crated at agility, this may not be an issue for you). But this would be new to them, you may have to work on teaching them to be calm in the kennel, similar to the crate.

 

Like I said, my main recommendation for the outdoor kennel is to include a small enclosed space for them to relax in. Oh, also if the bottom material you choose is diggable, I would do something to make that escape route more difficult. Maybe bury a bit of the fence? Not sure how I would handle that.

 

Good luck with your choice, and if you do decide to build some outdoor kennels good luck with that project!

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I have an outdoor igloo (plastic) for Juno that is light and easy to move to shade, or near the house in winter. I don't leave her alone very much so she has the run of the yard and then the igloo if she needs to sleep.

Bill

 

Two Canadian dudes (Victoria boy here) with dogs named Juno. Imagine that.. :D Male pup here though..works both ways eh!!

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Okay, got it. That makes more sense. I kinda just wanted to make sure that you didn't view the crate as a punishment. I've met a few people that felt that way and they can be hard to convince otherwise.

 

But yeah, I think it is definitely good to be prepared for potential issue like fence running and barking. Being outside is always more stimulating for you dogs and they may get frustrated with not being able to interact with everything going on around them (since they are already crated at agility, this may not be an issue for you). But this would be new to them, you may have to work on teaching them to be calm in the kennel, similar to the crate.

 

Like I said, my main recommendation for the outdoor kennel is to include a small enclosed space for them to relax in. Oh, also if the bottom material you choose is diggable, I would do something to make that escape route more difficult. Maybe bury a bit of the fence? Not sure how I would handle that.

 

Good luck with your choice, and if you do decide to build some outdoor kennels good luck with that project!

 

I would love to have an outside play area as well but being in front of a busy harbor with people coming and going I'd imagine the urge to bark would be overwhelming. Building a caged area would be fun to put together. It would give me a reason to break out the MIG welder.

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Chanse,

Here's an example of why one might want to use a run (kennel) instead of a crate. All of my dogs are crate trained from puppyhood, and I know that when I am gone 10 hours a day, they mostly sleep. Some are crated when I'm gone and others are loose in the house. My oldest dog (coming 15 in April) has become very stressed when crated. This has happened over the past maybe 18 months. She barks, she pants, she drools, she pees and poops, she spins around (as much as she can, given the size of the crate and her physical limitations), making a tremendous mess of herself and the crate. I suspect this is some form of dementia-related anxiety.

 

Anyway, if she is in a run, she is less anxious, rarely poops, and just seems happier. I can't put her out in the cold of winter, so inside she stays in an Xpen with washable whelping/pee pads on the floor. She still stresses and regularly makes a big mess (though not daily), but at least she's warm and less stressed than if crated. Come warm days of spring, she will go back in the kennel when I go to work. I know this is a unique situation, but I also put some of my other dogs in kennels in nice weather as well. They seem to like the fact that there's more to see/do out in a run, so some of them go out in runs and others stay (uncrated) in the house.

 

I will note that the kennels are all under cover (under a huge building) and behind a good fence, plus this is an active farm with residents and friends/helpers who are around regularly, so I really don't have to worry about theft.

 

J.

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Yep, that sounds like the kennel is a good idea for your situation, especially if it helps the dog relax. Also a great idea if you are frequently away for 8+ hour stretches. I am definitely not against using a kennel, they can be great, and I won't be surprised if I find myself one day building kennels and runs (and looking back at this thread for recommendations). I kinda just wanted to point out that size and materials is only part of kennel building. The location and what the dog can see is also important.

 

Sorry, not trying to say "don't build kennels", I'm just in grad school and over the years it's made me a bit pessimistic. So I tend to start by identifying all the problems with an idea and I only move forward with a project once I can't think of any more issues.

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B Point - don't want to hijack the thread but my Juno looks just like your Juno!!

Cheers Bill. We'll have to compare when my guy grows up a bit. Two award winners for sure though..!! :D

 

Chris

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I am in the process of re-building a kennel building that was destroyed in a violent wind storm. My re-build isn't necessarily my dream kennel but needed to fit in my budget (and insurance claim) and my skinny space (8x30 ft) and my mild dry Southern OR climate.

 

The former "kennel" contained two side by side kennels on a cement foundation in a 3 sided shed and an attached "wood shed" on dirt. The entire building was blasted to bits in a strong wild storm…..about 15 minutes after I woke in the early dark morning hours to an immense storm and rescued my dogs. Fifteen minutes later the entire kennel was gone….not just fallen over…blown to bits.

 

In essence, my kennel is a long skinny 3 sided shed with a full roof……2 side by side kennels, a 10x8 shed in the middle, and another 2 side by side kennels. The front is open with chain link gated front.

 

IMG_2655_zps6f1ca342.jpg

 

The kennels will be a set of two on the right, a shed in the middle and a set of two kennels on the left…..all on cement foundation with drainage out the back, overhead lights in kennels, electrical outlet in shed and water spigot. I would have preferred welded kennels but am settling for chain link due to budget and custom size. Each kennel will be 6x6 feet. I have another 3 sided building with some kennels on cement with 5x10 ft welded kennels…I have laid rubber stall mats in those kennels. These kennels will be on cement which I will elaborate below.

 

Pros and Cons and random thoughts for consideration:

-While I like the idea of indoor/outdoor kennels, I don't have the space or budget…..and my climate is reasonably mild. So my kennels are fully outdoor but covered by 3 sides (with double sheathing) and a roof. If extreme weather hits, I can crate dogs indoors.

-I specifically needed to separate certain dogs who fence fight…and surface that I can sanitize due to certain dirty individuals.

-I like 6x6 ft kennels with a dog house inside to limit rambunctious dogs activity and limit "dirty dog" from unrestrained soiling of their kennels.

-I work 9-10 hrs a day….crating is not possible. Since my prior kennels have been destroyed I am crating certain dogs for too long each day. While almost all restrain themselves from soiling their area, I feel it is too long to make them suffer (if they are suffering). Also, I have had dogs get elbow hygroma from too many hours in a crate. Crating is not an option for me (due to my long work hours) except in an emergency situation.

-Sun is intense (sometimes get over 100 deg heat…but usually doesn't last), but climate is dry…..winters are fairly mild but occasional sub freezing temps…or prolonged freezing temps. I classify that as "emergency" and if temps are too extreme I can crate indoors.

-While I prefer dogs on rubber mats, I have had some border collies tear up rubber mats…..literally drag and tear up 100 lb 6x10 ft 3/4 in mats. I don't know how they do it. I keep most of my kennels on rubber mats on top of cement….but I need a few kennels on cement only.

-I have used misters in the past….nice for awhile. However, in my dry climate, the hard well water and rapid evaporation caused every surface to end up coated in hard mineral deposit….and eventually clog the entire mister system.

-I would not want dogs on dirt or gravel. Most of my dogs are very clean and tidy….but eventually there is always a piglet that soils its area and needs cleaning. This type of dog needs rubber mat or cement or pavers. And then there are the diggers…..:-(

-While most dogs don't fence fight, eventually there will be a dog that does. My preference would be to have high solid barriers between each kennel. I usually try to put and active (reactive) dog/youngster next to a very boring sleepy oldster.

-My kennels as constructed don't bare the dogs from seeing my pasture. Some dogs jump and bark and react to sheep (and most especially my llama) in the pasture. Fortunately, I don't usually have stock in this pasture (it's small)….but their view of the pasture can be a problem. The view of something stimulating (like a road, livestock, other stimulating creatures/activity) is worth consideration.

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Living in a hot summer climate myself, I'd say go for a solid roof or well-shaded area. Tarps just don't have the same heat-breaking qualities as a solid roof or good shaded place, and if you get a sudden thunderstorm, wind can rip them up. Plus tarps degrade with UV exposure. Happy building! :)

~ Gloria

 

 

I am not sure if I will place it/them in a sunny or shaded place. Here in SW VA, I worry more about the summer heat/humidity/sun so if they were not shaded, I would be using a tarp over the top for summer protection.

 

OK, go!

 

Thanks in advance.

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I am in the process of re-building a kennel building that was destroyed in a violent wind storm. My re-build isn't necessarily my dream kennel but needed to fit in my budget (and insurance claim) and my skinny space (8x30 ft) and my mild dry Southern OR climate.

 

The former "kennel" contained two side by side kennels on a cement foundation in a 3 sided shed and an attached "wood shed" on dirt. The entire building was blasted to bits in a strong wild storm…..about 15 minutes after I woke in the early dark morning hours to an immense storm and rescued my dogs. Fifteen minutes later the entire kennel was gone….not just fallen over…blown to bits.

 

Holy cow, Elizabeth! Thank heavens you were able to get the dogs out in time! That's just scary. :(

 

~ Gloria

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First, Elizabeth - what a scare that must have been. I am glad you and your dogs are OK. Thank you for the ideas and tips on the kennel build.

 

And Gloria, thank you for reminding me about the short life of most tarps. I have used a couple of the cheaper ones for various jobs, and they do degrade into that stringy mess if left too long outdoors.

Having said that, FarmTek has a couple of other options. There are heavy-duty tarps that are meant to withstand the outdoor climate (hay tarps and such). I would wonder exactly how long they last (not just what the marketing claims).

 

Also, I have had great luck with their shade cloths. You can buy them by the foot and specify the shade factor (i.e. 40% shade, 70% shade, etc.) These are targeted to the greenhouse users. They would not be appropriate for 'roofing' shade if one wanted to protect against rain. About 6 years ago, I bought a 70% shade cloth for the open west side of a barn overhang. The intent was to take it down in the winter, but was just too lazy/didn't have the time - so it has stayed there throughout the seasons for about 6 years. I have noticed no sign of degradation at all.

 


Living in a hot summer climate myself, I'd say go for a solid roof or well-shaded area. Tarps just don't have the same heat-breaking qualities as a solid roof or good shaded place, and if you get a sudden thunderstorm, wind can rip them up. Plus tarps degrade with UV exposure. Happy building! :)

~ Gloria

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