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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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Building new dog pen- ground cover suggestions?

I have to build a new fenced area for my dogs. I have the fencing/gate, etc. I'm really just relocating the old one. However I want to put something other than grass in the pen any suggestions? It's too hard to mow the lawn inside the pen. And long grass attracts ticks, etc. The dogs are for the most part very small and don't wear the grass down.

What do you think of gravel?

This is not a place for them to live long term, just a safe place to leave them if I have to be away for a prolonged time. If I have to goto work and no one else will be home, I don't want to leave them in the house, especially as the weather gets nicer. They will have shelter/shade, water, toys etc.

Suggestions welcomed.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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For the kennels outside runs they are on a cement slab.It is easier to clean and easier on the feet than gravel.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:05 AM
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Thanks Lise. I had thought of cement but I know that we will be moving the pen yet again in the future and cement makes it too permanent. What about half and half. Half gravel half grass of course they would probably just stay on the grass. I had also thought of using a whipper snipper to cut the grass but it's going to be too far from an electrical source to use ours.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushfire2000
What do you think of gravel?

This is not a place for them to live long term, just a safe place to leave them if I have to be away for a prolonged time. If I have to goto work and no one else will be home, I don't want to leave them in the house, especially as the weather gets nicer. They will have shelter/shade, water, toys etc.

Suggestions welcomed.
I personally wouldn't subject my dog to gravel. I prefer grass, where it's easy to clean up the doggy-doo and comfortable for the dog to lay on.... but if you can't mow, I'd suggest a softer pea-stone, or a mulch, with areas of grass that could be trimmed w/ just a weed whacker.

ETA: there are gas powered weed whackers available, and also some that you just swing back & forth, no power needed. I have both. Even the no power one works good (granted, my bf swings it cause he's a bit stronger, but it does work)

Additionally, I think it's crazy to leave animals outside while you're away for a "prolonged time" as you say. too much CAN go wrong. Dogs can get out - jumping, digging, etc.... they can ingest something they shouldn't, they can bark nonstop resulting in very disturbed neighbors, they can be harrassed by passerby's and neighborhood kids, they can be LET OUT of their pen, they could choke on something (you don't even know how many times my dog has chewed up a stick and gotten pieces stuck in his mouth)..., there could be a storm (thunder can really FREAK a dog out)... this list could go on.

I FIRMLY believe the safest place for your pets while you are away for PROLONGED amounts of time, is INSIDE the house, safe & sound.

Last edited by jessi76; May 4th, 2006 at 09:14 AM.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessi76
Additionally, I think it's crazy to leave animals outside while you're away for a "prolonged time" as you say. too much CAN go wrong. Dogs can get out - jumping, digging, etc.... they can ingest something they shouldn't, they can bark nonstop resulting in very disturbed neighbors, they can be harrassed by passerby's and neighborhood kids, they can be LET OUT of their pen, they could choke on something (you don't even know how many times my dog has chewed up a stick and gotten pieces stuck in his mouth)..., there could be a storm (thunder can really FREAK a dog out)... this list could go on.

I FIRMLY believe the safest place for your pets while you are away for PROLONGED amounts of time, is INSIDE the house, safe & sound.
First Thank you for your suggestions regarding whipper snippers, etc.

I agree that the safest place would be inside.
But that is not possible.
I don't think I will have many of the problems you have listed. No neighbors for miles, the pen will not be in sight from the road. The pen will be very well protected I am putting a lid/netting overtop for protection. There should be no foreign objects inside because if I didn't put it there no one else is able to. As for digging/jumping. Well jumping won't happen and digging is a concern but I plan to sink the fence into the ground or sink boards into the ground to help prevent this.

Confining my dogs to the house for hours is not a smart idea. Providing them with a SAFE area to be is my goal.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:46 AM
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Back off a little

I'm not mistreating my pets. And I have no intention of doing so.

My goal is to make a safe enviroment for the dogs.

All I asked was do you have any suggestions for flooring for a dog pen.

Maybe I shouldn't have said "prolonged" that might have been what set people off. But I also said "not a place for them to live long term"

Chill a little.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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patio stones

just a thought, you are thinking of cement but that is too permanent, why not try a few patio stones, I do agree that some grass is needed, when we had our dog run that's what we did, put down patio stones and then the other half was grass, somewhere cool for them to stretch out and sun bath if they wanted to let us know what you decide, I DON'T think it's wrong for them to stay in a safe enviroment while you are there or gone, when in fact it keeps them happy and out of trouble which will also make you in turn happy

Last edited by LibbyP; May 4th, 2006 at 09:57 AM.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:54 AM
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well you obviously know your own dogs best, and I'm glad the potential problems I listed wouldn't be much of a concern in your area. You're lucky! In my neighborhood, I worry about all of the above.

are your dogs destructive in the house when left alone? or is there another reason you feel it's best for them to be outside? (I'm just curious, not trying to pursuade you one way or the other anymore )

as for the digging... we just created a pen for our dog - we used the coated wire stapled to big posts, and instead of sinking the wire into the ground, we just bent it at ground level. we got 5ft fencing, so after bending 1ft at the ground level, it's a 4ft fence. this made it so my dog couldn't dig at the fence line. just a suggestion.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 10:19 AM
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oh ya I forgot, if you don't have digger's - YA HOO for you , we were not as lucky with our one girl, we put one line of railway ties along the the fence line and this stopped everything (of course then she would just dig in the middle of the pen, which drove us crazy. But if you don't then nothing to worry about
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Old May 4th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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Some options are smooth round pea gravel, flat round river stones, sand is used in many large greyhound kennels,
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Old May 4th, 2006, 12:57 PM
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Bushfire2000, I am afraid that I too have to agree with Jessi76...a pen is no place for a beloved pet...perhaps that is why you are getting the responses you have been. It's hard for folks to recommend a flooring material for something that most dog owners are against.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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I have an afghan breeder friend who has pavers (patio stones) as the floor to her giant out door run for her canine crew. She says it's easy to pick up poop, and easy to wash down if need be.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 01:38 PM
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Concrete and stones to walk, play on can cause painful splitting pads and pressure sores when they lay down.

While I do not agree in pens, if you are going to do it anyway atleast do it right.

Pea Gravel and / some paving stones on 1/2 of the pen and the other half grass.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 03:47 PM
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LOL My bf and I just set up a dog run in the backyard last night and I too am debating what to put in it. I'm thinking half patio stones, half mulch .. right now it's all dirt - which might actually be okay for some of it.

Personally, I don't see what all the commotion is about. As long as your pets are safe in the area it's not really much different then in the house - I don't see how keeping a dog in a crate is any more humane then in a dog run. (provided it has the basic necessities and we're talking short term)

Yeah, if I was in the "city" I wouldn't even consider it with all the wackos out nowadays so maybe that's what people are thinking - I do, however have 2 neighbours beside my house and a field behind me. My backyard is fenced with 2 gates that both have padlocks on them because of the pool. And the run has a gate latch that will have another padlock attached to it (because I am a little paranoid about my babies )

Basically my reason for this pen so they won't have to be locked in the house when I do errands - with the hot weather I don't want them in the car either. So I'm looking at probably around 1 - 4 hours in the run. They too will have shade, water, toys and a couple of heavy duty blankets to sit on.

Sort of the same feeling I got from Bushfire's post and I don't see anything wrong with that. I mean, lots of "what ifs" could happen in the house too.

Now, my only concern is thunder ... I'll have to make sure to check the weather because my one is terrified of the sounds!

So my list is still a little long ... patio stones, mulch, dirt - sand sounded interesting too ... lol ... I can just picture them disgustingly dirty after rolling around in it!!
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Old May 4th, 2006, 03:51 PM
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Be careful with mulch, some is made with coacoa shells and it toxic to dogs, others are presprayed with harmful pesticides and herbicides and then many contain dye colouring.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 03:54 PM
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I'm not exactly sure mulch is the right word for what I mean ... I'm thinking like the wood chips they have at some dog parks - - would that be considered mulch?

Thanks for the tip about it =)
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Old May 4th, 2006, 04:13 PM
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Yup the wood chips are mulch.

Many are also made from recycled pressure treated wood which contains arsenic and that's why they removed them from all the childrens playgrounds.

You would also have to worry about splinters. It's really much safer to put down sod.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 04:14 PM
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Thank you for your responses.

The dogs are not destructive in the house, however it is not logical for me to expect them to hold their business until I or someone else gets home and they do not like to use pee pads. They get very distressed. I feel that leaving them outside in a safe pen is the way to eleviate their stress. I've done it for years without any problems. In fact it was a great solution to other problems.

I belive that a combination of patio blocks and grass is the way to go. I do have a digger but she's trying to get to china, not to get out of the pen and that helpful suggestion of railroad ties should solve that problem.

les thank you for a supportive word.
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Last edited by Bushfire2000; May 4th, 2006 at 04:16 PM.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 04:20 PM
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Yeah you might be right .. I'd have to be in there every week cutting the grass with the scissors .... I ran into 6 ticks between last Friday and Sunday .. and 2 were on me!!! I've never seen one before and if I never see one again I'll be quite happy!

Do ticks like grass? Like dry grass - - not dead but not wet. I really need to do some more research on ticks I think!!!
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Old May 4th, 2006, 04:28 PM
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Bushfire - - That's my reason too. I work from home and therefore my dogs are used to being able to go outside when they need too all day long and so even though they are house trained I feel bad to leave them for very long without access to the "bathroom"

Even when I am home now the dogs love to sit on the grass in the backyard or lay on the deck and watch the birds.

LOL I also have a digger - - same thing .. going to China but she stops once she has a hole big enough to lie in!!
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Old May 4th, 2006, 06:19 PM
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If you have to do it, I'd say use the tiny round gravel but still keep a part of it grassy- even if it dies quickly, It can give them a break from the gravel. Gravel is tiring.

I wouldn't use cement unless you paint it with enamel paint first because raw cement is porous and the minute one dog gets an illness in there, the cement will soak it up and keep transferring it to all of them.

I hope you're going to put in a roof, in case it rains (even when you're not home), and a gigantic, non-tipable water dish or two.

And I hope you still give them enough contact during the day so they don't get anti-social.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 06:31 PM
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Don't worry guys. This is just for the one or two days a month, that I have to work, that are also days that my husband and kids are not around to let the dogs out at reasonable times.

Prin I'm going to put a top on the pen either wire or net to keep birds from bothering them. They will have a doghouse and a sunshade along with plenty of water.

The only reason I don't want it to be all grass is that they aren't in there long enough to wear the grass down and I can't get the mower in to cut the grass. Also too much grass atracts ticks. We keep the grass short here.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 06:33 PM
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LOL I know there's alot of posts but did you actually read them?? At all??

Do your dogs get anti-social when you leave them to go to school/store/work? It's the same time frame I'm (we're) talking about! Not living out there!!
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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by les
LOL I know there's alot of posts but did you actually read them?? At all??

Do your dogs get anti-social when you leave them to go to school/store/work? It's the same time frame I'm (we're) talking about! Not living out there!!
Actually, the OP was suggesting a longer period than my dogs would ever be alone, so yes, the risk of becoming antisocial is higher. My limit is 4 hours for my dogs, so there would never be a need for them to be outside in a pen all day alone because they were alone too long for their kidneys to stand.

What's wrong with hoping that a dog will not be neglected? Sometimes, out of sight means out of mind and people get used to the idea of their dogs being out "safe" and the house being quiet. That's just how it is. You both might be different than the overwhelming majority who pen their dogs and don't give a **** about them, but how will I ever know that? So I'm going to hope for it. Okay?

And you compared it with crating, which is not the same at all. I don't crate, but it is my understanding that a crate is a safe place for a dog- a sheltered, warm place indoors without any possibility of outsiders intruding. Not the same outside in a pen all alone. If you run around this site, you'll find that the only dogs we see here who were poisoned in pens were in the country, not in the city. People thought their dog was safe because nobody was around for miles and nobody could see the pen etc etc, only to come home to an either dying or dead pet.

Most people here won't agree with keeping a dog outside. Most people here believe that a dog is a member of the pack and would rather hire a dog walker to come walk the dog on the days you can't be there in time than to leave them outside alone for hours and hours. Most people here don't trust people enough to leave their dogs outside vulnerable to whomever should pass by.

So ya, I read the posts before. And I basically answered the same thing as this, only nicer and shorter. Betcha prefer the shorter version, eh?
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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:49 PM
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okay,okay,okay

Let me start off by saying I'm not trying to p*** anyone off or pick sides But I think this is getting alittle out of hand, I don't think either Bushfire2000, and les are planning on leaving their very much loved pets out there in the dog run for hours/days/months. Yes there are people that would abuse the situation but... I don't think those types of people would be asking for advice they'd just do it and be done with it. Some people it is just not feasible to have someone come in and walk their dog if they've only gone to run errands, what we did for water is secure a large bucket to the side of the pen, put a smaller but still large bucket inside that one so you could take it out to clean and non tipping.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:11 PM
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Whether Les or Bushfire intend to leave their dogs outside for a few hours or a few months, these comments need to be said. This site is visited by thousands of people per day who never bother to register and ask questions. They just review these types of posts and pick out the information that suits their needs. So, had it been left at "Use this type of ground cover", a stranger could have come on here, read the comment, and thought, "OK, so if I use that kind of ground cover, my dog should be good out there by herself all day and night, every day for the rest of her life." Believe it or not, there are LOTS of people who would totally believe that. As a matter of fact, I had a very heated arguement with someone on another board because she thought it was perfectly fine to leave her dog unattended outdoors all day and night ("but she can come into the garage through her doggie door if she gets cold") with nothing to protect her except an underground fence and said doggie door. When I mentioned coyotes, I was literally laughed at. "Heck no! There are no coyotes on my 40 acres of land! I've never lost a dog to them yet!" So, if Les and Bushfire have no intention of leaving their pets outdoors forever, then they can assume that the comments are not meant for them. In the mean time, all such comments IMHO need to be clarified for the sake of the lurkers and newbies out there.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:42 PM
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Writing4Fun, like I said before I was not trying to p*** off anyone or pick sides, I knew right from the beginning that I should have just kept my mouth shut... maybe next time I will
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:47 PM
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LibbyP, I don't understand why you are making it seem like we're all attacking. W4F's post is anything but attacking.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 10:10 PM
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No no no I'm just saying I see both sides,yes you like to keep your pets inside where its safe,and not just shoved into the backyard with no love but I don't think thats what Bushfire2000 & les are talking about (I) think that it is okay to keep them outside in a safe enviroment(dog run/pen) if needed for short periods, do I keep my dogs now out in a dog pen - no - but I do keep them out in the backyard or deck for as long as they are happy. Prin and Writing4Fun I don't think anyone is attacking I think it's just a hot topic that has lots of views, that not everyone is going to agree on, I just want to make sure I don't offend anyone as I am a newbie here
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Old May 4th, 2006, 10:25 PM
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building

My entire fenced-in yard is grass except for patio stone path about 10 ft. long but I would never personally leave my dogs outside unattended, even if I'm only gone for 15 minutes, they're secure in the locked house and if I have to clean up a piddle/poop or such so-be-it, atleast I know they're secure.
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