Archive for the ‘Dog Quarters’ Categoryby Northernmost on November 17, 2014 in Daily Life, DAILY LIFE, Dog Quarters, Hilary, Wilder with No Comments
While we’re waiting for winter to arrive we’re making the most of the mild weather by working on the new hut in the dogs’ play area. The idea is to create a cosy place where the dogs can find shelter from wind and rain, and from heat in summer, when spending time in their play area during daytime. Normally, if it’s pouring down we let the dogs return to their pens but when the new hut is ready the plan is to let them spend more time in the forest enclosure instead. There is still some work to do on the hut, we need to lay down the floor and build the rear wall, and add metal liners to the edges of the roof to make the hut more chew-proof, but at least the major work is done now. We look forward to letting the dogs try out their new hut, though it wouldn’t surprise me if they choose to stay outside in the rain instead of seeking shelter inside. Malamutes are not made of sugar – even though they are often sugar sweet 😉
There’s a blizzard blowing outside and it looks like we’re finally receiving the snow we have been waiting for since November. About time!! I went for an evening walk with Thunder and Leia and the icy wind on my face felt like needles – brrr! I’m glad we changed straw in the dog houses yesterday as the storm is expected to continue tomorrow. Now all the dogs are warm and cosy and I can crawl under the duvet and watch a movie without feeling the least bit guilty. Have a good weekend everyone!
Thunder was quick to check out the fresh straw in his dog house.
OK, I’m off to sleep now – good night!
Back in May I painted the dog houses in the puppy pen and this week I’ve painted three more dog houses in a deep red colour. Since our home and guest house are painted red we’re using the same paint for the dog houses. This colour is very effective in preserving wood and since it allows the wood to breathe it minimises the risk of rot. In addition it is very simple to maintain; As the paint ages, you can brush it off and repaint without using a scraper. I think the dog houses look very neat in red, if I may say so myself 🙂
To be safe, we have not painted the parts of the dog house that the dogs may chew on, for example the entrances and corners, as most paints can be poisonous for dogs.
Pretty Lyra says hello from inside her house. She usually shares pen with Tuisku.
A freshly bathed Tuisku in his prime, at 8 years of age.
I still have three more dog houses to paint and after that we’re going to scrub the wooden decks that the dog houses are built on and put on some new (non-toxic) oil on to make the wood last longer. Only a couple of months left before the start of autumn so we better get going with our summer chores!
I haven’t had much time to blog lately as we have been busy with different building projects here in Nedre Bäck. Yesterday we completed the new puppy pen which will be Wilder’s outdoor play room when he arrives. If we have a litter in the future, this is where the pups will be having their first experiences outdoors. We built the pen in a sunny corner of our garden where the snow melts quickly in spring. Thanks to the breeze from the lake it never gets too warm and there are also concrete paving slabs behind the dog house where our Mals can cool down during hot summer days. It took some hard work to get everything ready but we are really pleased with the project 🙂
The dog house is built mainly from recycled wood. There is insulation in the floors, walls and roof but there are no dividing walls inside. We figured it would be nice for puppies to be able to sleep together and the tunnel inside also creates a fun place where they can play hide and seek.
With one project completed, there is still plenty of work in progress in and around our home. Right now we are working on a small wooden deck outside the door that leads to one of the fenced play areas. Hopefully we’ll get everything ready in time for Wilder’s arrival later this week. I just received a home delivery of a box of toys that I ordered online. “Safe puppy toys – check!”
Autumn is here and it’s time to fill the dog houses with fresh hay. During summer we only have a small amount of hay in their houses, just to provide a soft bedding for them to rest on, while during autumn and winter we fill the houses to half the total volume to keep them warm and comfy in any weather. Our Malamutes love the smell of fresh bedding and can’t wait to snuggle up inside.
Fredrik is cleaning the dog houses while Titan is helping out.
Our Mals get excited about fresh hay – in almost the same way that they get excited about food.
Even Tuisku, who normally sleeps on the roof of his dog house, was quick to jump inside.
During rainy periods we change the bedding more frequently while during winter it’s often enough to change it once a month. The hay comes from our own field so we have a steady supply and enough to last us all winter. Most people recommend using straw rather than hay as bedding for dog houses but we have tried both and have found that hay actually works better for our climate.
The dog houses are designed so that they are just large enough for our Mals to stand up, turn around and lie down in comfortably. They are well insulated and built on low platforms to keep them off the frozen ground. We now have five outdoor dog houses and two dog houses inside the barn for Leia and Thunder. We are also in the process of completing two double dog houses in our newest kennels. The plan was to paint all houses in a pretty red colour before winter but I’m not sure there will be time for that, as it’s already rather chilly in the evenings. Maybe we’ll have an early winter this year?
While most Malamutes prefer to live either outdoors in kennel facilities, or indoors as house pets, some dogs have individual needs that must be considered when arranging their housing. Our 7-year-old girl Leia is allergic to house dust mites which means that she can’t spend a lot of time indoors with us without developing an itch and sometimes also hot spots. However, the soft coat she developed after being spayed is not ideal for living permanently outdoors during wet weather and therefore we have come up with an alternative solution; Leia and her buddy Thunder sleep inside our barn, in a clean and dry environment that is free from the house dust mites that thrive in the indoor environment provided by homes, specifically in bedding, carpets and fabrics.
Leia stepping out on a beautiful day in June.
We have built dog houses in the barn to keep them warm in winter and from their indoor quarters they have a doggy door to their large outdoor enclosure and can go in and out as they please. Through this set-up we have managed to almost eliminate Leia’s skin problems. She hasn’t had a hot spot in many months and both Leia and Thunder seem to love their comfy accommodation at the “Malamute Inn”.
A sleepy Thunder early in the morning.
There exist different types of mites, besides the house dust mite there are also different types of “storage mites” that live on poorly stored foods in cupboards, on kitchen floors and are often associated with barns, hay and stored grains. Luckily, Leia is only allergic to the house dust mite, not the storage mite, so for her, living in the barn is the ideal solution. In dogs, atopic dermatitis and eczema are quite often caused by an allergy to mites. You can read more about this problem on these pages:
It’s our first winter in our new home in Sweden. The fall was a busy time, we spent nearly every evening and weekend building pens, dog houses and creating a big playarea for the dogs. Now, when all the work is finally done, we have time to enjoy the best of winter – February, March and April!
The village where we live is situated only a couple of miles from the coast which means we enjoy a fairly mild climate and get plenty of snow. With a dump of fresh snow nearly every day this winter the trails are smooth, soft and not too fast – ideal conditions for skijoring with a team of eager Malamutes!
Titan in the playarea with the new pens and dog houses in the background. We built the dog houses in the same style as our dog houses in Lapland – the dogs like them and the design is functional so we decided to stick to something we know.
Looks like we will be having plenty of snow this winter. 🙂
You can see our two locations on the map; Nedre Bäck in the north of Sweden, and the village of Hetta in Finnish Lapland in the north of Finland.