Outdoor Dog Kennels: Advantages and Choosing the One for You
Every dog regardless of size or age could use some fresh air and sunshine whenever they desire, but just letting them off the leash or out into your open garden probably isn’t a great idea, you want to ensure their safety! Perhaps, you want to be able to leave them out in the garden and know they’re safe while you nip to the shops. Fences provide a measure of protection from the outside world by keeping your dog in the garden and that’s fine unless (like me) you have a big athletic dog that thinks that fence would be a fun challenge. As well as the fact that they might just hop over your measly fence, fences are usually situated in mud or dirt and so this leaves the option of digging their way out of the garden too! So what other option do you have?! Well, outdoor kennels are a great solution to these problems. Outdoor kennels now come in a huge range of sizes, made for the biggest dogs you can think of! That’s better than keeping them inside all day or giving them the option of escape, right?
If you’re currently sitting in your seat thinking “My garden’s already 100% dog-proof, so stop preaching to me” then great! That’s not to say an outdoor kennel isn't a great addition to your garden as well, not only is an outdoor kennel a security measure to stop your dog escaping, but if they have no way out of the garden then they now have a den to relax in after that long walk, perhaps shelter from the rain (If you have a dog like mine, then you know that when you shout them in you just get ‘the look’ and no response) or just enjoy the warmth of the sun. An outdoor dog kennel should always be insulated correctly in order to keep your dog warm during the winter and cool during the summer. Many dog kennels now come with optional extras such as heated rooms, lamps etc – Check out the Kingsley Dog Kennel & Storage not only does it offer a huge space but also comes with multiple optional extras and even room for storing your gardening tools!
Types Of Outdoor Kennels
Types Of Outdoor Kennels
Portable kennels are quick temporary uses for your garden or to take abroad/on holiday with you. Portable kennels/pens aren’t supposed to house a dog for a long period of time. Some portable kennels come attached on hinges for easy folding down and setting up, whereas others are simply
Permanent kennels are used to either house your dog or as a place for them to go while outside. Most permanent kennels require actual constructions (get your drill ready!) and are made of better materials, such as heavy duty metal meshing/gates and wood. A lot of kennels are now so big that they come with individual sleeping rooms for your dog. The interior often includes storage areas and one or more rooms/pens. As well as all this, most outdoor permanent kennels come with a roof to keep your dog out of bad weather such as rain and snow, as well as adequate insulation to keep them warm during the colder days. Cleaning permanent kennels can often be harder than temporary ones due to the floor being a better material, usually made of concrete or waterproofed wood. Also available in a huge variety of sizes to accommodate any dog.
Placement of Your Kennel
The placement of your kennel, whether temporary or permanent is important! Temporary kennels without floors should be placed somewhere away from water and on a level surface so that any rainwater doesn’t collect or make the ground in and around the kennel soggy and unstable. Due to temporary kennels not having a roof, it’s important to keep the kennel and your dog out of direct sunlight. The placement of a permanent kennel, however, is important as this (if you decide) will be where your dog sleeps and spend their time when not
Advantages of Outdoor Kennels
So you've has a serious think about getting an outdoor kennel but you’re not sure of the benefits to you? Well, the benefits of an outdoor kennel include:
- Keeps Your Garden Looking Good: A kennel is great because it stops your dog ripping up the garden, they have plenty of space inside their kennel, so they no longer need to re-organise your flowers by chasing their tail!
- Safe From Chewing: If your dog is young or has separation anxiety then they may start to chew up items from around the house when alone or bored; this might include your doors, your new sofa, children’s toys, wires or even the kitchen cupboards. Keeping them outside or even just outside during the day means you can have chew toys lying around for your dog without the risk of you falling over them. This saves your sofa and keeps your dog happy with some great toys.
- Toilet Training: If your dog becomes used to living/being outside then they associate this with the toilet, so, with a little training you shouldn’t have any problems with your dog ruining your favourite rug because they’ll want to be outside to urinate or do their business.
- Using Excess Energy: When your dog is outside they use up all of their expendable energy (the energy they use to keep you up at 11 pm while they decide it’s playtime). The most exhausting exercise for a dog is mental, although a huge 20 miles hike will do a great job of calming and using that energy, the mental stimulation of the environment and taking it all will contribute hugely to this. So outdoor kennels allow this visual stimulation and aid in calming and reducing excess energy.
- Training: You can use a kennel to help train your dog. Using the kennel as a time out space. Using the kennel as a punishment for bad behaviour will not work as you don’t want the dog to hate their kennel but instead, realise it means if they’re placed inside then it means they need to chill out and relax.
- Safety and Security: A kennel acts much like a bedroom for you dog, it’s their own place to stay and becomes their own place. It’s essentially a place where they can go to get away from things (The children mainly!), they can then sleep, play or just rest in private without a commotion. A kennel also provides your dog safety from your belonging and your belonging safety from the dog. If the dog is in his/her kennel then they can’t decide to eat your sofa cushions.
Choosing Your Kennel
The purpose of any kennel regardless of size or whether it’s permanent or temporary is to house a dog for a period of time. This might be a few hours (say 2 hours) or for a work day (say 9am-3/4pm). The size of a kennel should reflect a few things, firstly the size of your dog, if you have a huge Great Dane, a kennel designed for a Chihuahua is not going to be suitable. Also, the size of your kennel should reflect the amount of time the dog will be spending inside the kennel, a small kennel that just allows the dog to move and turn around won’t be adequate if you plan on leaving them more than an hour or two, make sure that if you are leaving your dog in a kennel for a work day they have more than enough space to walk around and a place to urinate etc. Also, since kennels come made from a number of materials, including wood, plastic, and metal. Each has its pro and cons as well as a number of different care tips for looking after and maintaining the kennel. You can find a brief list of the pros and cons of each type of kennel/crate here. You should always ensure your kennel is the correct size for your dog. A rough idea of the size for a temporary kennel/crate is:
- Length = Length of the dog from nose to the tail tip + Height of dog from the ground to the elbow joints
- Width = Width across the shoulders of the dog + 3cm x 2
- Height = Height of dog from tip of the ears or head to the ground + 7cm
If you are getting a permanent kennel that will be used for play, sleep and more, then guidelines aren't 100% necessary and it's more down to ensuring there
- Where do you live? What is the climate like? If the climate is often cool then a wooden, heated kennel is probably the safest bet, but if the climate is already quite warm, then a metal or open kennel is best.
- Think about placement of the kennel, you should ensure there is enough room for the kennel and that it isn't in direct sunlight if you're living in a warm climate
- Is the roof of the kennel hinged or removable or can you easily fit inside the kennel? You're going to have to clean the kennel out and so you should always ensure you are able to clean it correctly without injuring yourself.
Don't forget that when buying a kennel for your dog, whether permanent or temporary, that kennel should
- Used for punishment of a dog, kennels are not meant to be used when your dog is 'bad' and needs 'locking away', they're for housing a dog for a period of time, as a kind of time out zone.
- Kennels are not an excuse to just shut your dog away and forget about them, all dogs regardless of whether or not they have a kennel require social interaction with humans and other animals.
- A place to tease the dog and make them uncomfortable and scared. This will make them fear the kennel and refuse to use it.
- A place for children to play, a kennel is supposed to be a place for the dog to relax and this becomes impossible if children are always crawling inside, as well as this some dogs may become protective over their kennel and might bite children that are crawling in and out.
But your kennel should be:
- The correct size for your dog, allowing him/her room to move, lie down and stand up as well as being able to run when needed.
- Cleaned as often as possible, they should never be left with 'business' inside as this can cause many problems as well as being unsanitary. Here are some cleaning tips.
- A place of protection when outside, the kennel should be correctly insulated and provide protection from the elements when outdoors. It should also keep your dog away from toxic plants and other dangerous garden items.
- Correctly assembled, a kennel is supposed to protect your dog and so should be assembled correctly, if you have to do this yourself, be sure to follow all instructions and use the correct tools in order to prevent injury to your dog or yourself. If the kennel is pre-assembled, check that everything is tight and secure.
- Comfortable and adequately 'furnished', a kennel should have adequate bedding, water, and feeding bowls as well as some toys within. The kennel should be a place of comfort for your dog. The best bedding to use is cedar clippings as they are bug repellant (inc fleas; although they shouldn't be used for puppies or pregnant bitches). You could also get some old blankets and allow your dog to use those.
- Correctly positioned, the kennel should not be placed in direct sunlight, under trees etc where branches can fall and should be kept off the ground a few inches if possible to avoid the floor rotting.