You know the old saying, “Happy wife, happy life.” Well for me, it’s “Happy Dogs, Happy Life.” Your animals are truly part of your family and even like kids. So their happiness means a lot to us. We have our own 3 dogs, and now my mother in laws dog as well. So 16 legs, 8 ears and 4 tails equal 4 very fun loving and deserving dogs! As most people are gone at least 8 hours of the day at work, our “kids” need a safe and fun environment to be in. That’s a pretty long day for a pack of dogs to be alone, especially if you only have one dog. Not only is it very boring for your animal, but it leads to anxiety and abandonment issues. So a helpful way to curb their digging, chewing and completely destroying everything in sight, we have come up with a few tricks for your family pet.
First and foremost, nothing is better than some good ole fashion training! Nothing will work if from the start your best friend doesn’t have the basics down. Sit, NO, Stay, Come & Heal are all words all dogs should know. From day one as a puppy, there should be a basic training of commands. Your dog will soon begin to understand how you and what you are asking of your buddy. Especially at the puppy stage, there will be lots of training with going to the bathroom, teething, eating and interacting with other animals. Our dogs by no means are perfect or even listen 100%, not even 70% of the time, but they know right from wrong and like human kids, they push the envelope every time!
We keep our dogs on a pretty good schedule. Everyday we do the same thing at roughly the same time, so walks, eating time, sleeping time, going to work time, etc. Our dogs know by the time of day, whats going on and trust me on this, just like kids, it works and keeps them inline! We have installed a pretty big kennel, ours is 20x20x10. We installed a gate in the middle, so we can separate out any dog not getting along with another dog at any moment, or leave fully open for all of them. The above picture of our biggest dog enjoying his newly made dog bed. We wanted to have some off the ground beds for the dogs in their kennel, so we came up with this cool idea to make our own. We used outdoor patio furniture material, about $7.00/yard. Then we purchased PVC piping, some PVC connectors and rivets. Cut the PVC into sections for the frame and legs, cut out the fabric, then connected each piece with the connectors and riveted the fabric to the already made base, and there you have it! A dog bed that costs $20.00 instead of buying one at $75.00, we made 4 of them so for $80, instead of $300.00, UM yes please!!! They were easy to make and very durable for larger dogs, super easy to clean, just hose down.
The kennel we found at Costco, it’s not a chain link fence, more of a wrought iron fence. Our dogs like to chew threw chain link It came with sides and a waterproof roof. We use those heavy duty horse troughs for their water. There is no floor for the kennel, so you need to put it either on concrete or grass or just plain dirt, which ever is better for you. I think that dogs love both grass and dirt, they can roll around on the grass and then go to the bathroom on the dirt part. The kennel works great all year round. We do not keep out dogs inside the house when were not home. Been there & done that. Our dogs don’t have thumbs, so they do not use the toilet or make themselves a ham sandwich when their hungry. We have a temporary doggy door, the kind that goes into the space where your screen door is and then the slider shuts closed with the door in place. It works good for when your home, but not something I would do when were not home. I know we don’t have teddy bears for dogs,there DOGS and they do dog stuff, it’s that simple and I’m OK with that.
TOYS, TOYS, TOYS! We fill the kennel with toys galore! Because we have pits, we use Kong brand toys. They are made out of a super durable rubber type material, indestructible, but only get the ones that do not have the rope material on them or that’s just like a 100 yards of unwrapped dental floss everywhere. They have balls, bones, tires, all kinds of shapes and creatures. They are good for the dogs to play with and get some aggression out. Other toys, our dogs just destroy them in minutes and then I’m picking up little jelly pieces of all colors all over the floor and yes, I see those pieces in their poop as well They are a bit more costly, but well worth it, if you keep buying toys every week. They have inexpensive dog beds at Costco as well, they are those round, multicolor, soft cushioned beds. They are usually less than $30 and are perfect for cooler days or to put on top of the outdoor dog bed. These we keep as their inside beds. We’ve got heavy duty 4 foot boat “tug” rope for the dogs to pull each other around with.
When its super hot outside, I take a large mixing bowl, line it with plastic wrap, fill it with either water or low sodium, all natural chicken broth or stock, insert a bungee with its hook at the bottom of the bowl, the hook goes down and then the extra cord hangs outside of the bowl, then add either toys or treats like strawberries, yams,apples, carrots to the water mixture. Freeze overnight, then remove the frozen water bomb by the plastic wrap, remove the wrap and there you should be holding a frozen ball with a bungee cord coming out of it. Perfect, now attach the hook to somewhere high up in the kennel, it should hang so that each dog can lick it while standing. Its easy and a great fun treat for your doggies on hot summer days!!! They will be licking this thing for hours until its gone! The bungee makes it bouncy and tugable for the dogs. You can make dog popsicles as well with peanut butter and yogurt, blend both well and place into a decorative ice tray of your liking, freeze and serve.
Make sure every night that you clean out their kennel from feces or any chewed up toy pieces. Shake off their beds or blankets from any dirt or what have you. You want their space to be clean and enjoyable just like your space is. Remember that they have to be in their kennel for long periods of time and it shouldn’t be hell for them, it should be a safe sanctuary that you can leave them in for a long day at work or even over night. With the right tools and supplies they can stay in there for a few days if need be with no problems. Get automatic food & water feeders for convenience for these long periods of time. Maybe ask a neighbor if they don’t mind checking in on them and throwing them a bone every now and then. But if you don’t have some one that will do that for you, then fine, they are self contained and fine till you get back.
This is what my ultimate dog house/kennel will be. I would extend the fenced yard out a bit for more running room, but the idea of the dogs being happy outside for long periods of time is an amazing feeling to not worry about them or feel bad for them being so bored. I know their dogs, but their my dogs which means their my kids!
I am curious to know what you do with your dogs on a daily basis, maybe you have some awesome tips or advice to share?! Keep those dogs smiling and loving living in Nevada!