Cleaning your Dog Kennel
Spring is a good time to do a thorough overhauling job on your kennels. After they have been closed up for the long winter season, many things need to be done which will insure greate
r comfort for your dogs. The more inviting your kennels look, the better will be the impression given to prospective clients. A neat clean kennel will pay dividends both ways. Your dogs will be healthier and more contented, and your visitors will be better impressed. See that there is ample ventilation without drafts. Make sure that the roof is sound, and that the windows are placed where they will do the most good. If the runs are wet, find some means of draining them.
I have vivid recollections of one kennel which I built. I moved into the district in the late fall, and had no opportunity to choose my location with an all-year-round knowledge of conditions. The site for the kennel looked ideal. The ground was gently sloping, well turfed, and there was an old apple tree growing where the run was to be. Nothing could be better, I thought. But I changed my mind next spring when the run turned out to be a morass. The ground was simply full of springs which did not dry up sufficiently for the dogs to be allowed out until July.
Spraying a kennel with disinfectant is not enough. Before this is done, it should be thoroughly scrubbed with soap and water. The cracks should be cleaned out, so that no parasite eggs may remain in them. Then the disinfectant may be applied. A stable brush is good for the floors, and for getting into the corners I use a toilet-bowl brush. "When the floor is dry, apply a coat of raw linseed oil and allow it to dry well into the wood. Follow it with a coat of varnish. This will not only make it easier to keep clean but will help to eliminate bad odors.
In one of my kennels I found another plan quite satisfactory, though it was ridiculed by some breeders. First I laid a double floor, with insulating paper between. On top of this I put linoleum. I coated the linoleum with roofing tar, and spread a thick layer of sifted beach sand over the tar. A word of warning, however: Do not let your dogs on this floor until you are sure that the tar and sand have dried into a hard surface. Removing tar from coats is no fun!
Painting the interior of the kennel helps to keep down lice and other unwelcome parasites. Paint not only fills in the cracks where they might breed, but some people claim that certain colors actually serve to keep these pests away from the kennel by means of the rays they give off. Blue house paint has been suggested as being satisfactory.
Setting up the Environment of your Kennel.
Now that you have gone over your kennels and have them in good repair, turn your attention to the runs. See that there is plenty of shade for the hot summer days, and that they are not too exposed to the wintry blasts. If there are no trees, you might overcome this difficulty by building a platform under which the dogs can crawl to get away from the sun's rays. In the winter, a windbreak where they can lie and bask in the sunshine gives them a lot of pleasure.
All wire on the runs should be kept in good repair at all times. Never leave holes through which the dogs might escape or get into the next run and start a fight. Never leave any loose ends of wire which they can chew. I once lost an extremely good little bitch through carelessness of this kind. She chewed off a piece of wire and died of internal hemorrhage. I also had several sleepless nights after another dog had chewed some wood and had developed stoppage of the gastro-intestinal tract. Dogs will chew at something, so be sure that yours do their chewing on a large bone and not on some stick or other foreign matter which may become lodged in their intestines. It is a lot easier for these foreign objects to get in than for you to get them out.
The person who lives in an atmosphere of strife becomes irritable, and eventually his health suffers. This is just as true of your dog. Do not take out of his innocent hide all the things you would like to do to someone else. If a dog is happy he will fight off illness just so that he may go on enjoying his association with you, but when he is miserable he will lie down and give in.