Thursday, June 18, 2009

Luxury dog houses

Here's M., constructing dog houses of her own design. In this model, the dogs have a small foyer which prevents the wind from blowing directly into the sleeping area itself. In it's first incarnation, M. fitted these houses with roofs that had no overhang, which certainly looked very neat and contained, but allowed some water in. The new versions have short overhangs, you don't need much.
The struts are 2x2s, the plywood is plastic coated, which the dogs never chew. There is some debate on the use of plywood for dog houses, as this makes them rather air-tight. In his book "Winning Strategies for Distance Mushers" Joe Runyan has an anecdote about some dogs who develop a skin condition due to the humidity in their plywood houses. The jury is still out on this, though.
One absolute advantage of this design is that male dogs do not get a chance to urinate into their own bedding.

To see the houses in use, go here.
Through pure serendipity, friends J. and T. who live at 79 degrees North on Spitsbergen have adopted almost the exact same design (below). At their place it is really essential to have houses that prevent snow from bloing in. Because it blows all the time.
My own doghouses are much more conventional. But as we're deep in the woods, it never blows and the houses stay dry at all times. I just need to place them high up so the boys dont foul their own sleeping quarters.

Update: M. strongly recommends that while the floor of the "bedroom" of course should be insulated, the floor of the "foyer" should not. By keeping the floors at different levels, water will not seep into the sleeping area.

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