The Dog Run
So you have you've brought your puppy home and now you need to decide: "Is he an inside dog or an outside dog? If he's an outdoors dog where does he 'live'?"
Good questions. Puppies are small and cute. (And did you know that most breeds start off looking the same?) Puppies usually do better if they're able to stay in side when they first come home, especially if they've just been separated from their litter mates or mother.
But small, cute puppies grow. Sometimes they grow into big dogs that really shouldn't live their entire lives indoors. It's not healthy for them to do so--big breed dogs need a lot of exercise, They also wreak havok on your furniture, chew your internet cable and poop in the guest bedroom. You'll often find, as the dog gets older, that it's perfectly happy to live outdoors if you have the facilities to house them this way, and they can even be happy doing so!
My Dog, Nike
Over a year ago we bought one of those cute, small, cuddly puppies. She was the cutest little thing. Not only was she cute, but she was smart too and it didn't talk too long to house train her, via the crate training method. (Very effective way to house train a pup, by the way.)
Then she grew. And grew. And grew some more.
She's a Golden Retriever. Big paws. Big floppy tongue. Big heart. She's adorable, but she's big. When she's damp her fur smells and it's not the most pleasant odor. She also traipses huge big dirty paw-prints inside. Not popular. Even my nine-year-old has problems when her favorite 'stuffy' ends up out in the yard with one leg (and solmetimes a head) missing.
Recently we moved house, and decided that Nike was now big enough to live outside. We had the perfect yard for her, a long rectangular block of land at the back of our house, with no access to the street. It was big enough for our dog to run around and play, and had a lot of good sheltered areas where she could rest out of the sun and rain.
Building a Dog Kennel and Run
Nike has the run of the yard during the day. She's Queen.There are times, though, when we need to restrain her.
- We are out and we don't feel comfortable with have her roaming our backyard, veggie patch, and laundry area. Remember, she's a chewer!
- She's on heat (if you don't know what that is, look it up...) She needs to be contained. No, we don't want her to mate with the dachshund and have long, skinny pups with long, floppy ears.
- We're having a barbecue in the yard and she's hassling everyone, trying to snitch their food, or bowling over the visitors two-year-old.
The solution in our case was to build a nice, comfortable, enclosed kennel and run. We chose heavy duty mesh outer walls with a sturdy mesh gate. Inside we cemented the floor of the run then sealed it so that the moisture wouldn't soak into it. We built a wood kennel and put it in the back corner of the run. And we had a lot of fun building a dog run too!
There are many options available when it comes to the right material for your dog kennel, what type of dog kennel flooring to use for the kennel and run, run placement, etc. One of the first decisions to make is whether you're going to make it yourself, or purchase an already made one which also depends on if you know how to build a dog run. Whatever you decide, research carefully and get the best you can for the price you can afford.
Our kennel is not going to be a permanent dwelling for our Retriever. Most of the time she'll be running free but even so we made it sturdy, well protected and made sure she couldn't dig out of her new dog kennel and run.
DIY Kennel or Not?
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