6 Easy Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Outdoor Kennel

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Spring is the perfect time to reorganize, clean and refresh your home while getting rid of the dust and clutter that tends to accumulate over the winter.  However, spring cleaning doesn’t just have to be for your home, it can also be for your dog’s home as well.

There is no better time than the spring to get in and deep clean your dog’s outdoor kennel. Whether you have a single dog in your home’s kennel, or operate a commercial kennel, keeping a clean space is of the utmost importance.

Here are our top 6 easy quick and clean kennel spring cleaning tips that can keep your pet’s home clean, sanitary and healthy for your dogs.

1. Start With a Deep Clean

If you really want to deep clean your dog’s outdoor kennel for spring, the first thing you should do is to get everything out of their kennel. This means everything. Cots, supplies, extra leashes, beds. Take each individual item out and clean it. Sometimes, when it comes to dog kennels, owners only pay attention to the big areas.

However, small items, sleeping surfaces and other products in the kennel can get dirty, hold bacteria and smells or they may become unsafe. Plus, when you remove everything from the kennel, it makes it much easier to hose down these spaces.

Once you have everything out of the kennel, you also have the opportunity to check your space for cracks, chipped paint or any other small repairs you may need to make.

Images Courtesy of Pixabay

2. Organize and Your Dog Supplies

Everything out of the kennel? This not only makes it a great time to clean all of these items, but it also gives you the opportunity to clean our and organize everything that is in your kennel. Whether you are storing leashes, food, grooming supplies, or anything in between—this is a great time to reorganize everything in the kennel.

This will help you take inventory of what you have (or don’t have) in your kennel so you can keep this outdoor space well-organized and as functional as possible.


3. Check Your Concrete

A lot of kennels are placed on or around concrete slabs. When you are cleaning your kennel, make sure to inspect any of the concrete that may be around your kennel. Damage from freeze-thaw cycles can cause concrete to expand and eventually crack. If you use salt to melt ice around the concrete, it can also attract water and cause cracks.

If you have a lot of cracks in any cement around your kennel, it can actually be an open invitation for insect and rodent problems. This is why it is so important to repair cracks in any cement around your kennel.

Just use a scraper to put epoxy in any damaged areas and seal up holes and cracks which will prevent additional damage.


4. Disinfect Thoroughly

Real cleaning isn’t just about sweeping out dust, debris and dog hair. It is also about disinfecting your kennel space so it stays safe and healthy for dogs. Organic materials such as soil and urine can actually decrease the effectiveness of many products, so it is important to use the right cleaning product.

Bleach is an effective disinfectant, but make sure to not overdo it. The best cleaning agent will be a diluted bleach (1 cup of bleach per 5 gallons of water). However, once you use this mixture to clean your dog’s kennel, make sure to rinse completely with water This is because bleach can be corrosive to your dog’s skin and paw pads.

5. Double Check Your Dog Doors

The dog doors on your kennel are an important part of your structure. However, because they get a lot of use, dog doors tend to show wear and tear. A lot of dog doors aren’t chew-proof or resilient.

Check on your dog doors, make sure there aren’t cracks or gaps that could injure your dog. While you are checking these doors, make sure that you are using a disinfectant spray to keep the doors super clean—it will only help them stay sanitary and last even longer.

Of course, this is also why we offer upgraded dog doors with stainless steel edging that can withstand the efforts of even the most aggressive chewers.


6. Check Your Grooming Tubs and Sinks

 If you have an upgraded kennel with a grooming tub or sink, make sure to pay close attention to this area. Grooming is such an important component of housing multiple dogs, which is why we have this upgrade available for our commercial kennels.

Check the piping and the faucet and under the tub to make sure that there are no leaks that need to be repaired. Leave the water running to make sure that there isn’t so much dog hair in the drain that it has created a clog. This way you will know if you need to snake the drain or call a plumber so it doesn’t cause a more serious issue.

After giving your sink or tub a good deep clean, use caulking to seal the edges of your tub to keep it in tip-top shape.

Here at Horizon Structures, we know that there is a lot that goes into cleaning your dog’s kennel, but that it all starts with the right structure. This is why we have created kennels made with premium materials designed with easy cleaning in mind. We know that in addition to having a functional kennel, a clean and sanitary structure is just as important.

We hope you keep these cleaning tips in mind so you can continue to keep your dog’s home the safe and healthy space it was designed to be.

Tips for Kennels and Caring for a Reactive Dog

Caring for a reactive dog can be very challenging. Some reactive dogs are all bark and no bite. Others may really be aggressive and seek to cause damage. Sometimes you’re not sure whether a dog that is behaving aggressively really would cause any harm or not.

Regardless, special care is needed to keep these dogs safe and to protect others from them. Kenneling can be a great solution for reactive dogs, but it’s essential that it’s done appropriately.

Here are some tips to help you kennel your reactive dog safely and keep them happy.


Why Might You Want to Kennel a Reactive Dog?

Reactive dogs are often frustrated dogs. In this case, it may seem that kenneling will only worsen rather than improve the situation.

However, when done properly, kenneling can be a valuable tool for improving a reactive dog’s reactivity and keeping them safe. Here are some times when kenneling is essential to caring for the reactive dog:

  • Protect service people or guests. Your reactive dog may do just fine with your family, but they may be very reactive to strangers. Kenneling is a way to safely get your dog out of the house and protect them from the stress of being around strangers and protect your guests from a potentially aggressive dog.
  • Crate and rotate. Sometimes, two dogs that previously got along very well suddenly become intensely aggressive with one another. When families are unwilling to part with either dog, crate and rotate may be the solution. A kennel is a perfect way to keep both dogs safe and comfortable during alone time and alternate giving them time with the family.
  • For training. Sometimes, a reactive dog can’t be trusted with the family until they have been trained. This may be true of severely resource guarding dogs or dogs with unpredictable aggression. A dog kennel for reactive dogs is a safe place for them to relax and have their food or toys where you won’t have to worry about stumbling into their space and causing an aggressive episode.


Place the Kennel in a Private Location if Your Dog is Reactive to People

A reactive dog’s behavior may worsen if they are constantly exposed to stimuli that cause a reactive response. If your reactive dog’s kennel is near a path or driveway, close to a road, or somewhere that they are constantly exposed to gardeners, service people, etc, they may constantly be triggered and feel the need to respond.

The person who is triggering the aggression will typically go away after being barked at, either because they are frightened away by your dog or because they simply go away in the course of their own business.

This reinforces to your dog that barking and behaving aggressively caused the person to leave, which makes it much more likely that they will bark and behave aggressively again. Furthermore, being unable to reach the target of their reactivity can be very frustrating for dogs, which can cause the behavior to intensify over time.

Kenneling your reactive dog somewhere that they will frequently be triggered by people nearby can cause reactivity to get worse or cause reactivity to turn into real aggression. Try positioning the dog kennel for reactive dogs behind a privacy hedge, in the back of your property where people are unlikely to go, or use landscape fabric or another type of privacy shield to keep your dog from seeing people near the kennel.


Keep Dog Reactive Dogs from Seeing One Another

Place reactive dog’s kennels back to back instead of side by side. If a dog reactive dog is kenneled in such a way that they can see the other dog in its kennel all the time, it will constantly be triggered and frustrated, causing a lot of stress and elevating aggression.

It is sometimes thought that by allowing dogs to see each other, the aggression will be reduced over time, but this is very rarely the case. In fact, when people want dogs to be aggressive to each other, such as in the case of illegal dog-fighting, dogs are typically chained up just out of reach of one another. Over time, the frustration of not being able to get to the other dog escalates aggression.

Even dogs that are not initially aggressive towards other dogs may become so if kept just out of reach of one another.

If you have two kennels, you can place them back to back so that you can conveniently tend to both dogs without them being able to see each other or sharing a fence.

If you have a dog that is reactive to another dog on your property, you may “crate and rotate” so as to give both dogs time out of their kennel to run and play safely. A kennel can be a great tool for such a lifestyle since it gives dogs plenty of room to stretch out and be comfortable when they’re contained.

However, it’s essential that the dog who is loose isn’t allowed to antagonize the dog who is in the kennel. Dogs can cause an astounding amount of damage to one another through a fence, so don’t count on the fence keeping your dogs separated if they would like to fight.

Furthermore, allowing one dog to approach a kenneled dog will be very frustrating for the dog in the kennel, which can make aggression worse. The best solution for this situation may be to keep the dog who is in their kennel in the interior portion, where the loose dog can’t approach.

This is the perfect time to give your dog a chew toy or a stuffed food distributing toy to occupy them in the interior portion of the kennel until the other dog is put up or in the house.


Try a White Noise Machine or Music

Dogs have extremely good hearing. You may find that your reactive dog is triggered by even the slightest sounds from the road, a neighbor’s property, etc. If your dog is heavily triggered by the sounds of people or other dogs nearby, it can be helpful for some dogs to have white noise playing in their kennels.

A white noise machine isn’t expensive, but it can make a big difference in reducing reactivity in your sound-reactive dog. It is certainly still possible that your dog will hear sounds they react to over the sound of the white noise, but for many dogs, it can be surprising how big of a difference using white noise can make.

Some dogs seem to be soothed by music, so this is also an option to experiment with to see if it will reduce the level of reactivity.

Design the Kennel to Avoid Contact with Dogs that are Reactive to People

If you have somebody who takes care of your dog who your dog is reactive to, it is essential that the kennel can be thoroughly cleaned and food and water supplied while avoiding contact with the dog.

Perhaps you have a dog that resource guards or is unpredictably aggressive that you are working with. Maybe you can interact just fine with a dog but someone else in your family triggers aggression.

Whatever the case may be, it is important to be able to provide care without contact if necessary. Choose a kennel with a guillotine-style door so that the dog can be locked in the inside or outside portion so that the other part of the kennel can be cleaned safely.

Food and water dishes that can be accessed from the outside and slipped into a designated door enable you to care for your dog without risking a bite as you set a food or water bowl in the kennel.

Double Doors for Dogs That Need to be Contained on Leash or Have Barrier Aggression

Often, a reactive dog needs to be handled in a particular way. Perhaps a muzzle needs to be put on before you go on a walk or you need to attach both a collar and a harness to be absolutely certain that your dog won’t escape from your control and hurt somebody on a walk.

In such cases, it’s a good idea to choose a kennel that has a two-door setup so that you don’t have to worry about your dog pushing past you and getting out of your control. You can go into the kennel space, close the outside door, and then let your dog out of their kennel.

This way, you can safely get your dog geared up for their walk without worrying that they will shove past you and cause a problem.

This is also a great solution for dogs that have barrier aggression. These dogs may behave aggressively if you try to approach them directly in their kennel, but may be fine if allowed into a neutral space with you.

Eliminating the moment when the door must be opened and the dog handled allows the dog to come out of the kennel in their own time, interact freely with you in the neutral space, and be calm and easy to handle when you are ready to put on their leash or other equipment.

Choose a Very Secure Kennel

It may go without saying that it’s extremely important that your kennel doesn’t fail when you have a reactive dog. The last thing that you want is a dog that is out of control to break through the fencing, cause a door to open, or otherwise get loose.

The kennel you choose should have secure locking mechanisms on the doors that your dog won’t be able to figure out how to open. Flooring should be chew resistant so your dog won’t be able to chew or dig a hole out.

Fencing should go all the way up to the roof of the kennel to prevent a dog from climbing or jumping out. Chain link is fine for many dogs, but for very powerful or persistent chewers, it may be better to choose welded wire to make absolutely certain that your dog won’t be able to break loose.

Use a Kennel to Your Advantage for Your Reactive Dog

A kennel can be an amazing way to train a reactive dog and keep them safe and happy. However, careful planning and management is essential to kennel the reactive dog safely and effectively. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll set yourself and your reactive dog up for success.