I got it into my head that I could probably build dog houses with what we had around the place and so created a challenge for myself to do so.
One big caveat - I have no carpentry skills whatsoever (that means these are not fancy), and I don’t understand how buildings have to go together and why so in that order. I just don’t think that way, but I figured I could tackle these because they didn’t need to be exact or pretty, they just needed to be a shelter of sorts.
Allen offered a sage word now and again, and an extra hand once or twice, but otherwise left me to my challenge. I often worked on this project on days he was at work.
First I perused the stash in the Quonset building. Old rough slab lumber, assorted pieces of plywood, a tidy stack of pallets, a bale of loose insulation from a long ago porch addition, pieces of styrofoam insulation from the current shop construction going on. Then there was my raw wool stash from two years ago, I even hit up the pail of assorted screws left over from other projects.
The first house is built for two because that's how big the plywood piece I had to start with was. This piece of plywood became the floor. I found four old L table legs that I used as corner posts and secured to the base. From there I cut rough slab lumber to make the walls.
The interior is lined with wool kept in place with a burlap wool bag stapled to the wood. It looks like a sofa cushion. Straw for deep bedding in this one. Not sure if two dogs will curl up together inside of it but I’m hopeful they might.
The second house is similar to the first but single dog size. The walls are lined with some left over pink insulation, not quite as air tight but still pretty good I think. The bedding in this one is wool.
The third house is made from pallets. The base is a pallet with a plywood sheet to make a solid floor so paws don’t get caught. This is covered with pieces of thick styrofoam insulation. The walls are pallets to and they are stuffed with loose insulation material. Because the pallets are slatted and therefore the insulation exposed I needed to cover the exterior in order for this house to stay dry. I wrapped it with old swather canvas and stapled this to the pallets. I didn’t bother cutting the pallets down to size but instead chose four of equal size so they’d work to make a box. This is a large house and a heavy one so it’s a good thing it has a pallet base which means it is very easily moved with the pallet forks on the tractor.
I’m still working on the fourth house, it too is being made out of pallets but I did cut these down so the house is a single dog size. The fifth house is a large size Dogloo brand dog house we’ve had for years. I lined the floor with the remainder of the thick styrofoam insulation and tossed in some straw for bedding. Definitely not as cozy being that it’s plastic but my plan is to set this house in the barn paddock which is where Zeus normally resides. When the weather gets really cold, we let any animals in that paddock access the building since natural shelter is sparse in that paddock.
All the houses have thick styrofoam insulation on the floors and then bedding material on top of that. All the houses are set onto pallets to keep the base off the ground and for ease of moving them around with the tractor. All the roofs are old plywood I cut to fit. The two rough slab house have slanted roofs but the pallet house has a flat roof.
We have tried various shelters in the past and the dogs used them very infrequently, preferring instead to be nestled with the sheep. I know it could very well be the case that I’ve done all this work and the dogs won’t go near the things (but the sheep will I'm sure)! I’m good with that, the dogs have the option, and I feel better for it. In due time these houses might become all too familiar to them. I’m hopeful they’ll last at least a few years.