Just in time for a big snow storm Max helped me install one of the K9 Kondo Dog Dens into the wall of my barn building. The dog can get inside and out of the weather but just in the dog house. It took some fine tuning with the barn wood and studs to get the dog door to swing freely. I ended up mounting the dog door on the exterior of the 2×6 wall and the actual dog house is attached to the interior of the barn. My american brittany Annie layed claim to the new dog house before the install was even complete. To further insulate from the cold I placed a 3 inch layer of pine shavings in the floor of the box. Warm and Cozy.
This week I received a shipment from my new friend Joe Shown of K-9 Kondos. Joe runs a great little company out of Nebraska that makes the best dog houses money can buy. These very well-designed dog shelters are constructed primarily of aluminum (chew-proof) and are insulated to provide warmth in even the most brutal climates. There was some assembly required after the boxes arrived, but in about twenty minutes the first box was ready for testing by my daughter Hannah. After passing the child test we hauled the new dog house out to the kennels and let Abby have a look.
I’m pleased to say that my two german shorthairs love their new dog houses from K-9 Kondo. I left the doors locked in the up position for a week or so until the dogs were comfortable and then I let the doors swing freely and the dogs quickly figured out how to go in and out. The removable top is a nice touch for keeping the dog house clean. They even make a larger whelping-box-sized shelter with an available heater. Kudos to Joe and his staff at K-9 Kondos for making such a great dog shelter.
This morning I went out to feed and water the dogs and I found their 5 gallon water bucket frozen solid. Since the snowstorm, temperatures have dipped below freezing and then some. Today it was minus fourteen degrees when I was headed off to work around 7:00 am. The dogs seem to be doing well despite the cold snap with their insulated dog houses inside the barn. I have started bringing fresh water out to them 2-3 times a day as it freezes in a matter of a couple hours. I thought about buying the heated water bucket at the local feed store but I am paranoid that my pups would chew on the cord and get electrocuted.
I let the dogs out to run in the snow since they really haven’t ever seen snow before. Abby discovered how slippery snow can be and ended up tumbling a few times while negotiating sharp turns on slick surfaces. They love to get out of the kennel and run and play. After a few minutes they disappeared and I went searching for them. I heard barking in my neighbors horse barn so I went to investigate. Turns out my neighbor has 50-100 pheasant in the back of his barn and my dogs were going crazy trying to get through the chicken wire.
The North side of my workshop is growing some wonderful icicles as the snow melts a little each day on the metal roof and re-freezes at night. It made me think of the classic holiday movie “A Christmas Story” where Ralphie ricochets a bb off the icicles and breaks his glasses. The cold weather has presented some new challenges, but overall I think the dogs are getting along fine.
A few weeks ago I saw an ad in the local newspaper for a used dog house, two of them actually. I called the lady and she said that she was selling them for five dollars each. I couldn’t pass up a deal like that so I drove across town and picked them up. They were very simple dog houses and not constructed very well although they did have shingles on the roof. I brought them back to my woodworking shop and proceeded to add some bracing and a lot more nails. I also added a few slabs of two inch solid-core foam insulation panels in the floor, back and sides. Most of the stuff I had just laying around like 2×4 scraps and wafer board. The only thing I had to purchase was the metal corner round that I added to the doorway to discourage chewing on the wood. Puppies love to chew on things, especially wood.
Since I have a female puppy now I am facing the fact that my three dogs will have to be separated at some point in the future. While on the prowl for cheap construction materieals I found another treasure in the classified ads last week. Somebody in Salt Lake City had several rolls of used heavy duty 8 foot tall chain link fence for sale. They only wanted $100 for all of it so I picked that up for a future kennel addition. There ended up being two 50 foot rolls, as well as 4 smaller lengths of fence totaling just over 150 linear feet of chain link. I hope to use it to add a large 25×50 play area to my existing dog kennel as well as two or three individual outside dog kennels.
After it rained all night on my dogs I decided to take the day off work and finish the indoor kennel. The weather man says a cold front is on it’s way and tomorrow night the temperatures will plunge into the 30′s. To create the indoor dog kennel we had to frame up a 2″ x 6″ X 6′ interior wall partition complete with top and bottom plates. The wall measures exactly six feet tall which perfectly fits 2 – 36″ metal roofing panels stacked vertically. My father-in-law donated the metal roofing which was surplus from his carport project. After we framed the wall we installed the metal which was a battle with 40 mile per hour wind gusts whipping through the barn. I had an extra 5′ X 6′ chain link gate that we placed on one end of the enclosure. The new indoor kennel portion measures 12 X 28 feet and provides some shelter from the cold and rain. Next week I will finish their insulated dog houses. So far I have spent less than $500 on the entire dog kennel, including concrete and chain link. The dog houses will be constructed completely from scraps that I scavenged at a nearby home construction site.
We removed the concrete forms today and got the chain link fence and gates installed. I never thought that installing 60 feet of chain link could be such hard work. My back is sore today and I have several blisters from tightening the tie wires. Last night after dark I finished securing the last of the bottom rail to the fence. I spaced the tie wires about every 12 inches. Jake and Abby got to sleep in the kennel last night and everything went well. I think they like their new dog kennel, they even pooped on the dirt instead of the concrete. For now I just blocked the entrance into the barn until I get some time to enclose the indoor portion of their kennel from the rest of the barn. Hopefully it won’t rain until I get their indoor kennel completed. I guess a little rain won’t hurt em. Thanks again to my good friend John Jacks for helping me with the chain link installation and concrete work.
This Tuesday morning we finsihed the final preparations for the pouring of our 8 X 20 foot kennel pad adjacent to the barn. My father-in-law and my hunting buddy were on hand to help me finish the concrete. The cement truck arrived promptly at 8:00 AM as promised and the driver was a great help. Since none of us were trained in the arts of finishing concrete the truck driver was able to offer some great pointers. We chose to reinforce the concrete pad with rebar every 24 inches which is probably overkill for a dog kennel pad. At the last minute we added a four foot square porch pad in front of the kennel gate.
The other thing we were very careful with when forming up the pad was the sloping of the concrete. We made sure that there was plenty of fall away from the barn and then West down the driveway. This will make it easier to keep it clean and hosed down if they choose to poop on the concrete. I am providing the dogs with an adjacent 8 X 20 foot dirt area that I am hoping will be used as the bathroom. I am planning to fill the bathroom area with pea gravel for the dogs to pee on. The bathroom area also has an 18 inch concrete footing that we hope will prevent the dogs from digging out. Next week I hope to finish building the dog houses and the indoor portion of the deluxe dog kennel.