How to choose a dog house
November 26, 2010 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Do you have a decent dog house for your dog? Help me figure out what should be simple: getting a dog house. I'm overwhelmed by the choices and would appreciate actual brand recommendations. We need a dog house that will be somewhat insulated because the dog might need to use it for up to 6 hours in the wintry midwest. We cannot build one, and we can't spend more than a couple of hundred. I have hesitated to get a dog house because the I was worried about it becoming a raccoon house, fox house, possum house. Do you use that door with the electronic collar entry to prevent this? Does that seem like a good idea?
posted by Tylwyth Teg to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There isn't enough information here.
What breed of dog is it, will it be left outside when you're not home, does it have any health issues, WHERE in the midwest are you (the UP of Michigan is much different than southern Ohio). Will the dog be chained or loose in your yard...?
posted by HuronBob at 7:20 AM on November 26, 2010

I don't have an answer for you, other than that our doghouse was never used by any of my parent's dogs in Michigan. We speculated that raccoons had gotten in and scented it or something, because no dog has ever wanted to even go in. So your worry about other animals is merited.

On the other hand, all of the larger (over 30 pound) dogs were happy to curl up in a snow bank and stay out there for hours.
posted by ldthomps at 7:26 AM on November 26, 2010

My parents' dog slept happily in a Dogloo in north-central Oklahoma for over ten years.
posted by neushoorn at 7:43 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

We never had problems with animals getting into our dogs' houses that I know of. Unfortunately, that included the dogs. They just had no interest in them. Both were content under the deck or just right out in the open. Our smaller dog actually liked to hang out ON her dog house not unlike Snoopy. That said, our dog houses weren't insulated or heated or anything fancy. Maybe if they'd been more comfy, the dogs would've gone in more often. With that in mind, however, I would recommend going with something simple. And do you have a garage? In harsh weather, that's where we kept our dogs because the dog houses were just yard sculptures to them.
posted by katillathehun at 7:46 AM on November 26, 2010

What breed of dog is it, will it be left outside when you're not home, does it have any health issues, WHERE in the midwest are you (the UP of Michigan is much different than southern Ohio). Will the dog be chained or loose in your yard...?

OP here. Thanks everyone so far. The dog's a medium sized (35 lb) 2 year-old mutt that's totally healthy. We're in central Ohio, so it gets cold but not like the upper midwest, and if it were below freezing the dog would not be left outside for hours even with a dog house. This is primarily an indoor dog with a fenced in yard (and never chained); she'll be sleeping inside our house, and she'll still go on walks, etc., but we want to be able to leave her outside when we leave for work even on days that it might rain or snow. As it is now, on days with an iffy forecast, she stays in the house bored out of her mind, and one of us has to run home at lunch to make sure she gets out for a bathroom break, which we no longer want to do. Hope this info helps.
posted by Tylwyth Teg at 7:57 AM on November 26, 2010

Can you get a dog door instead? I've found this to be a really great solution (where I live is the opposite problem, way too hot in the summer to leave the dog out). She can go outside when she sees a squirrel or something or needs to go to the bathroom. She can be inside when she's cold or it's rainy. I've never had a problem with any animals coming in mine and there are tons of stray cats and raccoons and possums here.
posted by elpea at 8:05 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

We have had dog doors for years, never had a problem...just make sure you get a nice one (preferably with a metal frame), because the cheaper ones couldn't take the abuse that our 3 pups dished out.
posted by lobstah at 9:08 AM on November 26, 2010

My mom's dog loves her dogloo.
posted by Mavri at 9:10 AM on November 26, 2010

My dogs used a dogloo and also a regular airline crate under a covered area. We put soft bedding in there and they were quite happy to hang out for hours, sometimes they would go outside and sleep while we were home. The bedding gets pretty gross but Orvis has new hose off dog beds that might work better than what we were using.
posted by fshgrl at 9:28 AM on November 26, 2010

One way to get a dog to like any "house" is to feed them in it. Positive associations.
posted by radioamy at 10:53 AM on November 26, 2010

If you do get a dog house, make sure the bottom is well insulated, or you have a bed that is off the ground. Our vet told us this was important for the well being of the dog, since it kept the dog off the hard, cold, and frequently damp ground. As for dog houses, my dogs preferred caves.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 11:12 AM on November 26, 2010

We got our dog interested in the Dogloo by playing 'fetch' near it and every once in a while 'accidentally' throwing her ball into it. After a bit of throwing she likes to play 'keepaway' and if we kept chasing her she'd eventually realize that the Dogloo was a good retreat where she could win the keepaway game.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 12:43 PM on November 26, 2010

For a door we used a bit of the clear vinyl carpet runners or carpet protectors cut into flaps. We stapled the flaps onto both sides a small (3/4") stake as wide as the door, then screwed the stake to the top of the opening. The two layers of flaps made for a bit better protection from wind. The clear vinyl meant that enough light got in.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 12:50 PM on November 26, 2010

Read reviews on amazon or Petco for the Dogloo before choosing a model- the KD gets some pretty bad ones. There are other versions of the Dogloo that get better marks.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:32 PM on November 26, 2010

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