Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Outside means... OUTSide!

Sunday this past weekend once again found me in front of the sewing machine. Not, this time however, working on anything medieval. No, this time it was something utterly mundane. I was working on a problem we've had in the kennel for a long time, but have never found a solution.

The kennel has 6 aisles of kennels, 3 on each side, running perpendicular to the center aisle. When we let dogs out, they usually are so excited to get outside they head directly for the door. But there is a portion of our dogs who are more interested in checking to see what they might find in the other kennels instead. They'll cruise around, disappearing down an aisle so that the person manning the door can't see them -- sometimes they get left inside!

From what I've seen, there are 3 basic types of cruisers:

SCAVENGERS -- this is pretty typical. Those dogs who are just insatiable and will look for any hint of food left in another kennel that is accessible. Even if it isn't accessible there are those that will lie down on the floor and stick out their tongues to amazing lengths, or poke their arms in as far as possible to get at that one errant kibble. One impressed me by pulling on the corner of the blanket that was sticking out of the kennel - to drag the big stew bone closer to the front of the kennel. Not that he could have gotten it out, but by golly it was RIGHT THERE! His disappointment when I kicked it AND the blanket back out of reach was palpable.

TOY CRAZED -- These are the dogs who just have to have a toy in their mouth. We have several who pick up their own toys specifically in preparation to go out. Now, of course try and keep all personal toys inside their kennels. So when we approach one to let them out, and they are standing there with toy in mouth, bouncing back and forth from one front leg to the other, we know we're going to have to do some serious body-blocking to try and wrestle the toy away from the dog before they get out of the kennel. On occasion, they manage to slip by us, and then it's up to the door-keeper to be the second line of defence to keep those toys from going outside. Even when we do successfully de-toy them before leaving their kennel, some will go in search of any other toy sticking out from another kennel. This, then, causes havock as we know the purple dinosaur toy doesn't belong to the dog that is currently carrying it around... but heck, who DOES it belong to? (And some of our customers don't understand why we insist on taking an inventory of everything they bring to the kennel with them)

Then there is that special kind of cruiser. Fortunately we haven't had too many of these, that I know of. The BUSY-BODY. Some dogs just think they need to be up on what all the other dogs are doing at all times. They will cruise the kennels, literally, just to see who is still in. In some cases just to torment them. Though they may all be perfectly friendly out in the yards, put a dog in a kennel and then let another approach from the outside and it isn't uncommon that the one inside the kennel feels threatened and will lash out. Which of course makes the tormenter snarl back, and it gets raucous very quickly.

But no, the ultimate Busy Body dogs we ever had were the pair of Basenji's who lived with us for 2 months. That's a very long time and it's natural that they would start to feel somewhat entitled there. They were something else, though. They would refuse to go into their kennel - until every other dog had been put into theirs. If you haven't met a Basenji, you may recognise them as the breed of dog known for the fact that it doesn't bark. Yes, well, don't be fooled for a minute that that means they are quiet dogs. No, they hiss, yeowl and screech instead. Believe me, it was FAR simpler to let them stay out until all the other dogs were put away, and then they would go into their kennel just as pleasantly as you pleased. They also got upset if they weren't let out first in order to supervise all the other dogs going out into the yard.

Anyways, we've frequently lamented that we didn't just have a way to close off entire aisles and curtail some of the cruising. We don't really want doors as they'd be expensive and unweildy. The traditional dog-gates for residential use aren't long enough, nor high enough to keep many of our dogs out. We'd want them easy to store as we'd only use them at select times (such as when we're pretty full). They need to be easy to put up / take down.

And... Voila! Bungie corded canvas panels!

They haven't been really put to the test yet, but we have a number of ideas for improvements if they become necessary.

Holidays, here we come! :)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

LMAO at the 3 types of cruisers! You can imagine what my mind immediately thought of(and scavengers and toy crazed probably applies there too!).

The canvas panels look great! ~Lydia

11/12/08, 11:01 AM  

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