Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mission Accomplished

When I came home from work Tuesday before last, I knew I'd have to push myself hard to accomplish my 2012 kennel renovation project before the end of the R&R, especially with a couple of days off the project for the Alyeska surplus auction.  I just finished that project about an hour ago, just on time and well under budget.

Followers of this blog have been treated to basically a blow by blow account of the project, so I won't repeat that.  Instead, I'll just explain the layout of the yard now, and why I think it represents a huge improvement over the earlier layout.

First, two photographs taken from the deck which overlooks the dog yard.  All of the pens have been repositioned to take best advantage of the available shade and to create a wall of chain link between the yard and the heavily wooded area north of the house.  This not only helps confine the dogs and also protects them from moose, porcupines, bears, wolves or other wildlife or even stray dogs that may come wandering about.

By carefully measuring to ensure every chain for our swivel & post tethering systems is exactly 6 feet long from post to snap swivel, I was able to ensure that each tethered dog has at least 113 square feet of available space, yet we gained an additional three circles in that part of the yard, giving more options for confining dogs, especially those that don't get along well with a pen mate.  With the combination of pens and tethers, we can now comfortably house up to 22 dogs in the yard.  Our current population is 17.

Housing area as seen from the deck overlooking the yard

Open play and training area as seen from the deck overlooking the yard
The dog yard is easily accessible through a manway door in the back of the attached garage.  By hanging some fencing and making a gate, we can maintain the integrity of the perimeter fence while providing easy access to the northern part of the yard with the tractor or other equipment, making maintenance more convenient.  The northern row of tether posts are spaced so that there is a bit of room between the pens and the tethered dogs where one can set a bucket or open a gate without the interference of an excited dog.

Northwest entrance to the dog yard
Each chain in our tether system is now 6 feet long, from the post to the snap swivel that attaches to the dog's collar.  By spacing the two rows of posts 14 feet apart, the dogs can freely interact with each other, yet easily disengage if the interaction turns sour.  Galvanized wash tubs are provided in each pen and in between each pair of dogs in the tether area to ensure everyone has plenty of fresh water during these hot summer days.

Chinook is watching Selene and enjoying the view down the alley between the two rows of post/swivel tethers.
Be installing a pen by itself in the east side of the yard, we create an isolation pen that can be used to sequester a bitch in season, an ill or injured dog, a litter of puppies, or a dog that's new to the kennel and just being introduced to his or her new team mates.  Currently Midnight's Son is living in that pen to take advantage of the morning shade.

Midnight's Son in the isolation pen
One of the important goals of this project was to create more open space in which dogs can run free and play 'run amok' together when we are available to supervise.  In this new configuration, more than 1/2 of the 7100 square foot dog yard is available for dogs to run and frolic without interfering with those still on tethers.

View from the southeast corner of the yard shows the play area and deck overlooking the yard
In the photo above, you can just make out the "truck gate" to the left of the storage building.  The truck gate is wide enough for me to pull the dog truck into the yard for loading and unloading.  The photo below shows the new configuration of the yard from that gate.

View of the yard from the truck gate.
So far, I'm very pleased with the new layout.  I've achieved the goals to taking better advantage of the available shade, creating more space in the free play area, adding an isolation pen AND adding some more housing units.  The dogs seem to be pleased as well.  In the past when I've made changes in the yard the dogs have acted unsettled for up to a couple of weeks.  This time around their behavior hasn't changed at all that I've noticed.  Well, except for Innoko.  He's acting much more mellow toward his team mates.

1 comment:

  1. Looks pretty nice, Swanny. I particularly like the photo of Chinook - looking very relaxed in the new "digs".