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irishwrath 12-06-2013 12:29 AM

Rate my Kennel
Hi there,

I'm new to the site, but I wanted to get some input. It's getting colder here where I live and I'm winterizing my GSD's kennel.

It's an 8' x 16' kennel. I've wrapped it with Sun Shade to help with the wind, and I've laid down straw. I just finished sealing up patio screens with some 6mil Plastic Sheeting.

The problem is, I'm afraid to put any type of heating in the kennel with the straw. She did fine last winter and she's two this winter. I have to leave her in the kennel after sunset two days a week. Latest being 11pm at night. It doesn't get too cold at night, but it sometimes get around freezing.

Oh and she has a bit of anxiety. She doesn't want to leave the yard, but she wants to find me when I'm gone. That's why I had the kennel built. To keep her safe. I'm hoping that changes after I get her a brother. I've had her now for 18 months. When I'm home she's with me 100% and sleeps in my bedroom at night.

Here are some pics:
I don't have a screen door with this yet.

Wild Wolf 12-06-2013 12:43 AM

It looks pretty cozy to me, seems like you've done a great job trying to keep her warm outside while you're gone. If she isn't a blanket/bed destroyer is might be beneficial to throw 2 or 3 big fleece blankets in a corner for her to snuggle into if needed.

I don't know much about outfitting outdoor kennels.. what about something like a large heat lamp hanging from over head?

trcy 12-06-2013 12:49 AM

What about a heating pad that goes under a bed. My cat has one. It only warms up when they lay down on it and it doesn't get to hot. I used it to help germinate seeds once. They just get warm.

For the cat we just put a towel over it, but if the dog chews on stuff it probably would be good....

brembo 12-06-2013 12:53 AM

Around freezing? I would not worry too much as long as the air isn't moving much. Freezing is about where a grown GSD starts to feel frisky.

trcy 12-06-2013 01:04 AM


Originally Posted by brembo (Post 4621897)
Around freezing? I would not worry too much as long as the air isn't moving much. Freezing is about where a grown GSD starts to feel frisky.

This could be true. This was the first day Kaleb has not been in the pool. (it's not heated) He decided to lay in the icy grass instead. He's inside mostly. He has access to outside during the day.

irishwrath 12-06-2013 01:10 AM

Thanks for all the replies!

I actually tested out an IR heat lamp, but the heat dissipates within 2-3 feet. I tried two different wattage heat lamp bulbs. I was also told that if it gets to close to the straw, it can set it on fire. I can't really use a temp control box because the patio (not the kennel) is not entire enclosed and the lamp would just be on the whole time I'm gone.

I did blankets last year and she did her "business" on them (haha). That's why I opted for the straw. It allows her to do her "business" with easy clean up. I actually buy a bale of straw a month because I clean up her droppings daily when she uses the kennel without any hassle.

I thought about a heating pad, but she loves to chew and I wouldn't want her chewing the cable. I've seen some chew proof heating pad cables, but I give her slices of cow femur knuckles to snack on and she chews through those like butter.

And brembo. That's what I was thinking. I've basically blocked off all the wind. Plus, she'll hopefully get to meet her new brother next week. I'm waiting to adopted a Rott/Shep mix from a GSD rescue, now that my GSD is fully trained. I imagine they'll be able to help each other with the warmth too.

Thanks again!

middleofnowhere 12-06-2013 03:45 AM

I think you've gone overboard and I'm afraid it isn't going to do that much good. (Although "near freezing" isn't much to worry about either.) Too much space for the dog's body heat to build up to any effect. How about sticking a dog house in there? The advantage would be that it could be easier for her body heat to build up in a dog house. If it gets down into the teens or single digits or really any freezing at all make sure she has water to drink that isn't iced over pretty solid.

Sunflowers 12-06-2013 04:41 AM

The kennel is very nice and I second the suggestion of a dog house. Would be a great retreat if she wants to sleep.
Do think thoroughly the addition of a rescue dog, if you are gone so long.
If the dog is not for you, then I would not get it. Your dog misses your companionship, not that of another dog. So when you get home, you will have two dogs waiting for you to do something with them.

She would be alone for many hours with this strange dog that you do not have time to train. You are unable to supervise the interactions.
Perhaps some others can chime in about this.
If she is lonely, might be a better idea to have someone come over and play a game of fetch, or take her for a walk.

jocoyn 12-06-2013 07:29 AM

"it sometimes gets around freezing"

I have had Beau break the ice after a wheelbarrow filled with rainwater so he could lay down in it :). I second the recommendation for a good dog house but find mine out on the earth ignoring it most cold days. We live in a warm area so having surface ice is not that common and he is not acclimatized to real cold weather.

It looks like a nice set up; don't think she needs any kind of heat lamp.

JakodaCD OA 12-06-2013 07:39 AM

I think it looks great, BUT, GET RID OF THE HEAT LAMP!!!

I am so fire paranoid, I have chickens, and there is no way I put heat in my coops because of the fire factor..Soooooo many coops have burned to the ground with those darn heat lamps!

If my chickens can take below freezing temps, our gsd's should be able to handle that in your type of set up!

Don't use anything electrical or heat wise IN or around the pen area..

A dog house is a good idea even if she didn't want to use it, atleast it's there for a choice.

Tarping in to prevent wind is a 'good' thing..I do this with my chicken run as well

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