Traditional or Portable Dog Kennel – Which One is Right For Your Dog?
Many dogs can tend to be a little picky when it comes to what people they are comfortable with. When this is the case traveling can become a real problem. Whether you are planning several weeks of vacation or your job requires you to be away for a few days, dog kennels will probably be on your radar as an alternative to leaving your pet in the care of a neighbor or friend.
There are two distinctly different types of dog kennels. First are the traditional facilities where you drop off the dog then pick it up when you return. There are also portable dog kennels. These range in complexity and price and can be a great solution for those who can not afford the traditional dog day care or simply can not bare to be away from their beloved pet for long periods of time.
Traditional pet kennels can be quite expensive, some as much as one hundred dollars a day. These can be quite nice though, providing individual rooms for each dog, excellent meals, walks, play time, and other interesting forms of entertainment and exercise. These traditional kennels are staffed and equipped to care for your dog for up to several weeks at a time. When looking for one of these traditional kennels keep in mind that are not all created equal.
Check the number of staff per number of residents ratio. Physically inspect the facility and be sure they carry some kind of guarantee. One of the risks of housing so many dogs in one building is that sickness can be spread. Kennel cough, which is simply a common cold for dogs, has been known to sweep through kennels at a rapid pace infecting many dogs in a short period of time.
Portable dog kennels have been around for some time. The first versions were simply a length of low cut chain link fence and a few stakes. These seemed convenient however, set up was quite difficult if not impossible. Now there are several types on the market that come in kits. The typical kit would consist of a frame around which you stretch the fencing. This can be quite difficult as well, especially if you are going it alone. Also, don’t be swayed by the term chain link which tends to bring to mind thick rings of steel. The fencing that comes with these kits is quite soft in order to accommodate stretching it around the frame. Bigger dogs and the more aggressive types can either chew right through it or knock it down easily.
The other type of portable dog kennels can be purchased in the form of modules. These modules are very convenient as well as an improvement on the other versions because they come in completed sections. If you need more room you simply attach more modules together. Construction, tear down and moving the modular dog kennel is very easy since all that is required is fastening or unfastening the modules. The modules can be purchased in different strengths as well. Strengths are measured in chain gauges. A small dog will do fine in an eight gauge kennel while eleven gauge kennels are better for bigger dogs. The smaller the gauge the stronger the fencing.
Be sure to check with a community official or law enforcement agency first because there may be restrictions on the type and size of dog kennels allowed on your property. The same goes if you are traveling and need to put your kennel up on someone elses property.
Table of Contents
Dog Houses – A Dogs Home Away From Home
When built properly, dog kennels and dog houses serve a multitude of purposes. They provide shelter from weather as well as a place of solace that dogs can know as their own. A dog house is also an alert to would be trespassers that their is a dog on the property. Whether your dog is an indoor dog or an outdoor dog, having a dog house or some form of dog kennel is a great idea. Here are a few basic guidelines for selecting or building a house for your dog.
Size is very important. You want your dog to actually use the house so it should be comfortable. Dogs obviously don’t care about the name brand of products or even aesthetic details however if there is not enough room for your dog to move around comfortably, it will be undesirable or of no use at all.
- The roof should be 25% to 50% higher than the top of the dogs head.
- The door should be .75% (three quarters) the height of the dogs shoulders.
- The inside should be 25% longer than the dog in all directions.
It doesn’t need to much bigger than that as you want the dog to feel enclosed, private, yet still be comfortable. Depending on the size of your dog and thus the size of its house, you may want to consider air flow. A bigger dog house may need a ventilation window in the rear to allow for a flow of fresh air.
If you are in a place that has extreme weather, cold or hot, you will need to take extra care to be sure there is a clean water supply at all times. You will also need to be sure the water is at a suitable temperature for drinking. For cold weather there are stainless steel water dispensers that will keep the water a good temperature even in the most extreme conditions.
Not all dog houses are for outside use. The benefits of having a place the dog can call his or her own can be just as effective indoors as well. A dog cage or crate with enough room will suffice for an indoor dog house. The indoor dog cage can also act as a “time out” area where you send the dog when its behavior becomes an issue. Training your dog with a dog cage is a great way to avoid violent reprimand.
Dog houses are very useful for both the dog as well as the owner. Whether your dog is an inside or an outside pet, providing a dog house is a great way of letting your dog know you care.
Training Your Dog Using a Dog Cage
We are all familiar with the kid who was bad in class and was sent to the chair in the corner of the room(not fun, I know). So, since pups are like kids, training a dog (preferably a little one) with a cage or a dog kennel can be used in a similar manner.
Two things are common knowledge, dogs love people especially their owners, and dogs can be trained. The success of dog training is closely related to their feelings for the trainer. If it is someone they trust the training process tend to be much more successful and take less time. Something else that is common knowledge is that if a dog is trained using fear and bullying, the result is usually a much meaner, distrusting dog. However if the dog is trained with love and affection the result will be a happier dog who thrives on pleasing its master.
Using a dog kennel or dog cage as a place for a “time out” is a much more more humane method of training when compared to hitting the animal. The time-out method works. The dog is isolated from people and without dog toys or any other distractions in order to ponder on the misbehavior it has committed. Whether a dog has the attention span to actually ponder one of its actions is up to the owner to decide however, if the punishment is done immediately after the crime is committed chances of it working are much better.
When dog kennels, dog crates or dog pens are used for time outs, they should have plenty of water but no dog treats or toys. You do not want the dog to be afraid. You do want the dog to know that he or she is being punished therefore isolating the dog for a little while with some water will let him or her know that even though they are still a loved member of the family, the previous behavior is not acceptable. After a 10 minute period or so the dog is let out and all is well.
I know of several dogs who were trained with this method and it does work. In fact, I saw one of these dogs put himself into the dog cage after knocking a glass of water of a table. The dog knew it did a no-no and proceeded to go ahead and admit its mistake and live up to his punishment. The owner simply said “good dog” in a non-playful tone as affirmation. 10 minutes later he comes back, tail wagging (away from any glasses on the table) and all was well.
Building an Outside Dog Kennel From Scratch
Tired of cleaning dirt and hair brought in by the dog every day? You love your dog but the extra work can be a real bummer and possibly effect your relationship. One solution, if you have the yard for it, is to build an outside dog kennel.
Buying dog kennels can be expensive so if you plan to build one it is a good idea to research just how much they are so that when you plan and purchase the materials and tools you need you are sure that you are indeed saving money. Prebuilt kennels are usually in the $150 to $250 range. More than likely if you build your own you can save at least half that amount.
Your first concern should be the size and purpose of the outdoor kennel. These two aspects are closely related. If you plan to build a simple dog house for sleeping then it doesn’t need to as big. This is fine if the dog has a larger area in which to roam. If you are planning to build a dog ranch then you will need to think a bit bigger as he or she will need much more room.
If you are just building a dog house you can definitely get away with using two by fours for the frame and one by fours or particle board for the walls and roofing. If you intend to keep the dog outside on rainy days the extra care should be given to the roof. Black paper and shingles can be expensive but are very effective.
Dogs love to be outside, there’s no doubt about that. However if you are planning a ranch style dog kennel and your dog doesn’t have enough room it would defeat the purpose. Plus if you make it too small the poor thing will be walking in his or her own mess.
Many of the prebuilt outside dog kennels are basically just fencing with a door. Fencing is expensive and you may need to purchase the proper tools as well. If you buy fencing you will need to secure the posts into the ground with a large trowel or something similar. Outdoor kennels can be built with cheaper materials as well such as wood posts and chicken wire. This type of barrier may or may not be effective depending on the size of the dog.
Your best bet is to go online and search out and take notes on how the prebuilt kennels are built and what materials are used. Then go to a hardware store and price out the materials you would like to use for your dog kennel. Have a well thought out plan and you can’t go wrong.
How Dangerous is Dog Kennel Cough?
Dog kennel cough or canine cough is an infection to your dog’s upper respiratory system. Kennel cough is a non scientific term that applies to both bacterial and viral infections contracted by dogs. Due to its contagious nature it is usually contracted in areas where close proximity to several other dogs is common place such as dog kennels which is how it got its name.
Infectious tracheobronchitis and bordetellosis are two very common forms of kennel cough. These are not deadly, neither are any of the other forms of this condition however, it can make your dog quite miserable. The cough is persistent and can last for several weeks. The infection exposes nerve endings in the windpipe and bronchi which causes the irritation resulting in a rough, dry hacking cough. The cough releases the germ into the air and can easily be transmitted to other dogs that are close by and is therefore not exclusive to kennels.
Most dogs can recover without medication however a vet can give him or her a cough suppressant to relieve the annoying hack and to protect other dogs that may be living with or play with your dog. Antibiotics can be prescribed to speed up the healing process but they are not necessary.
There are other diseases that manifest as a hacking cough and can be mistaken as kennel cough. Some of these diseases are quite serious. If your dog has a cough you should definitely get him or her checked out by a veterinarian to be sure. Also, be sure your dog gets all the proper vaccinations, especially if you’re planning to put him or her in a kennel or in close proximity to many other dogs.
This by no means should be taken as a warning against the sanitary conditions of all kennels in general. On the contrary, pet kennels must adhere to strict guidelines in order to gain and retain their license to do business. However, it is impossible to control how their customers care for their animals previous to being admitted. Nor can they accurately test each dog upon its entrance to the boarding kennel.
Besides proper dog grooming, vaccinations and good dog care, one thing a dog owner can do to help keep his or her animal safe is to be sure that when they return home from the dog kennel, they return to a clean environment. In the event that your dog did catch something you wouldn’t want it to spread to any of your other pets.