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Discussion Starter #1
In my backyard (inside the main fence) I have a 16 x 10 chain link kennel that we put there a couple years ago to give a litter of 8 puppies we were fostering a safe place to frisk around. Since then I haven't used it and it's all full of weeds but I just had this new idea...

Grace and Leo both love to play in the water and every year we buy a baby pool. However, Leo also likes to dig all the water out and make a big pig wallow in the resulting mud. This means he gets filthy, the water gets filthy, and the yard gets destroyed.

So I thought maybe I could put the pool (and maybe get one of those big cattle trough ones instead of our usual little plastic thing) inside the kennel and put some kind of covering over the ground so Leo couldn't make mud. Then the Shepherds would have a fun place to get wet and the smaller dogs would be kept away from the deeper pool.

My first choice would be those rubber stall mats they make for horses but those turn out to be really expensive and to cover a 10 x 16 space would be really pricey.

Does anyone have other ideas of stuff to put over the ground that will keep the dogs and the water clean? I thought of gravel but that seems like it could be hard on their feet and eventually I'm going to remove the pen and put a garden there so I don't want anything that's going to be a huge PITA to relocate.

Other ideas? I think this could be so great but I'm a bit stumped how to proceed.
 

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How bout a big tarp, you could tie the edges to the fence to keep it spread out. You could also punch a few holes in it to help drain the excess water. Its cheep enough and should work just fine.
 

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Instead of the horse stall mats could you use those mats they make to put in kids rooms that fit together like puzzel pieces? I have them for my senior to lay on instead of the slick hardwood floors, because she sometimes has a hard time getting up. I got mine at Lowe's but have seen them at Walmart and other places. They come in a pack of four in solid black or multi colors. I think you would need about 10 packs of them to cover that area. I don't think they are too expensive and they hold up pretty good with my dogs.
 

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These are some great ideas, I was thinking about stones (little round stones) but these mats sound like a great idea!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Those are all great ideas! Thanks so much - I knew I could count on this board!

I'll head to Lowes and price the mats. I think the big contractor's tarps might work and would definitely be cost effective. I suspect Leo might want to rip and tear them but hopefully he'll be too busy playing the water.
 

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I would be a bit leary of a tarp only because those buggars are REALLY slippery when they are wet. Dont ask me HOW I know but I know.
 

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Discussion Starter #7


Good point! And in all seriousness, that could be a real issue. Leo is a double TPO dog and I don't want him wiping out and fracturing his bionic hips!

Hmm... maybe if the foam things don't work out, I could combine ideas and use a tarp and then cover it with the smooth gravel. It's on a slight slope, so drainage shouldn't be too big a problem and maybe the tarp would help me remove the gravel when it's time.

All things to consider!
 

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If you have a choice look for a water trough made for sheep -- lower sides and many come with drains in the bottom. Then when the water is dirty you pull the plug, drain, give a good rinse, and refill. I know even those plastic kiddie pools can get quite heavy when full of water.
 

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Cedar chips in there will keep mud down. I used to spread them with a garden rake. 16 x 10 foot area would probably need about six cubes which cost about 7-8 dollars a piece. So figure 50 bucks. It will not be slipery like a tarp.

Removing them is a little more interesting though. When they get wet they expand. It is not the end of the world. I would rake them up and put them under and around trees where I did not want to mow. The urine in them would halt the growth of vegitation. But you are not necessarily using this for a doggy potty area. It is natural. They do disintegrate. Cedar is a bug repellant.
 
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