QUESTION: HI Patty,
1. For dogs, what is the required space for dogs so that they do not feel bored and make move about as they like. I heard that in case of growing dogs, we should not tie them up as it can cause their legs to bend and not become straight. Is there any dog size/area calculater?
2. Do medium size dogs need more space or large size dogs?
3. When a dog has a lot of space, is it still necessary to give it a walk? Why isn't free run enough?
ANSWER: Hi Raiden,
I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you asking about the correct size crate, that should be used as a means of containment when a dog isn't being supervised? If this is your question, the dog crate should be big enough for the dog to stand up in, turn around in, and also lay down comfortably. The following web site gives crate sizes by the breed of dog:
A crate shouldn't be used for a dog that isn't house trained, as the dog will have no choice but to end up laying in it's own waste. A crate shouldn't be used for more than 6 hours at a time, because the dog will need to move around and also relieve itself.
If you are not asking about a dog crate, but rather an outside pen or kennel area, the best space is as large an area as possible. When building or buying your kennel, plan for an adult dog. Don't base your decision on the current size of your dog, or puppy, unless it is already full grown.
A kennel that is 12'X12'or 10'X10' (97.5 to 100 sq ft or more) is a good comfortable size. The kennel's fencing should be 6" or 7' high so your dog can't jump out. Your dog will most certainly be eliminating within the space (which needs to be removed daily) and your dog will also needs a clean area to lay in. Some form of shelter or shade, and fresh water should be provided. Put the kennel in an area where it will be sheltered from wind, rain and too much sunlight falling on it. If there isn't any shade, you'll need to put a tarp or shade cloth over at least part of the kennel.
An outdoor kennel area isn't a substitute for exercising your dog. No dog likes being confined for long periods of time. They get bored, and bored dogs tend to develop all sorts of behavioral problems, ranging from the annoying habit of incessant barking to more serious problems such as becoming overly aggressive.
Your dog will be better behaved in it's outdoor kennel area when you give it the daily exercise it requires. Depending on the size and age of your dog, he may need an hour or so of exercise a day. If your dog is to be kept in an outdoor kennel area while you're at work or school, it still needs your company to be a happy well adjusted dog. If your dog is separated from you and your family during the day, you need to be with your dog during the times you're at home. Without the proper levels of human contact, the dog will develop behavioral issues, which could be anything from aggression to self mutilation. Dogs left by themselves in an area day after day aren't getting the correct levels of exercise, no matter how large an area it is.
Because you will be continuing to exercise your dog even though it's kept in an outdoor pen or kennel area, the kennel space doesn't need to be huge (but it does need to be kept clean!). A dirty dog pen is unhygienic for both your dog and you.
I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hello again Patti,
1. I wasn't actually talking about a kennel, but thanks for covering it anyway. Now let's put it this way, if there's a huge area like half an acre or slightly less and there are two/three dogs in it. Would they still require exercise? From where the common eye sees, they wouldn't feel bored as they have companions with them.
2. Is an untrained dog a better guard dog or a properly trained dog a more efficient guard dog. I've often observed that bossy, stubborn dogs can make more lethal guard dogs as compared to trained ones as training lowers the aggression and vigilance.
3. Can a dog like a Doberman or Boxer be used as an LGD? With proper training, I think they would still be outmatched by true LGDs. (Okay, stupid question)
4. My area has a very hot climate. Ironically, I like those huge, rugged, thick furred LGDs. But can a dog like the Maremma or Great Pyrenees bear temperatures of 39-45 degrees? If there is a swimming pool thingy for the dog, will it make up for it?
5. Once I was going somewhere and I saw a medium/big sized dog, like that of a Bullmastiff or Dogue de Bordeaux. It's owner claimed that it was 6 months old and he told me the name of it's breed, though I forgot it, as the man's accent was a bit strange. But this dog was weird. It was clearly obvious that it was untrained and was quite aggressive. But I saw that everytime he pulled and barked around, he immediately used to dig the earth. But it was a very impressive looking dog. I've seen many untrained dogs since the people of my area aren't that educated. But I never saw a dog dig like that. I asked his owner about his digging but he confidently replied that it's with the breed, it's this breed's identity. All I can say is that it was an LGD.
Phew! Never intended to make it so long!
Hi again, Raiden
If the area where you are going to contain your dog(s) is as large as half an acre or slightly less that is plenty of room. I can't say if you'd still need to exercise the dogs because it depends on their activity level. Sometimes, when dogs are kept in the same area day in and day out, they get bored, and don't do much more than lay around. You'll have to keep an eye on them to see what becomes their habit in the containment area, as far as how much exercise they'll be needing.
I would think on about half an acre of land, they should have lots of things to keep them busy and interested. You'd still need to provide some form of shelter or shade, and of course water.
An untrained "guard dog" isn't guarding anything. If it's aggressive dog, it could attack friend or foe. The dog wouldn't know the difference. An untrained dog is acting out of being poorly socialized, instinct and fear, and probably couldn't be controlled if you needed to do so. A trained guard dog isn't necessarily aggressive. Police dogs are highly trained, quite dependable, loyal, and definitely doing the dangerous work they need to do, when they're called upon to do it. Yet at the end of the day, they go home with their human police counterparts and are wonderful trusted family pets, because they have been well socialized and trained to do a job. Well-trained guard dogs are socialized, loyal, and unerringly obedient. They will not attack unless their owners are facing a threat or have commanded an attack. The best guard dogs follow commands, knows when to attack an intruder, and knows when not to attack. There's no question about it, take the time to train any dog you would be using as a guard dog.
I think you've written me in the past, regarding what breeds make the best guard dogs. Any dog breed or mixed breed can be used as a guard dog. It's really all in the training. If you wanted to use a tiny Chihuahua or a Poodle (or a Boxer) as a guard dog, it's entirely possible to do so. That said, there are specific breeds that are known for possessing the characteristics needed to best ward off unwanted intruders. Any dog you'd get locally would already be acclimated to the temperatures of where you live.
Guard dog breeds:
South African Boerboel
Dogue de Bordeaux
You had mentioned Great Pyrenees. That breed is not suited for hot weather. The breeds I've listed will do better in hot climates.
The temperature range of where the dog would be living is why you need to provide some form of shade or shelter and clean water. If your dog would have access to puddles or other bodies of water, not to mention small vermin, you'll want to be sure it's getting the proper inoculations, and to give a preventative "wormer" on a monthly basis. Talk to your veterinarian to see which diseases are common to dogs in your area.
Whether or not a dog would take advantage of a swimming pool to keep cool depends on the dog. Some might, other might not. For this reason a fresh clean water shady shelter is required.
Keep in mind, if the weather is hot, canned food and fresh meat can go bad quickly, and may attract flies. You may want to consider feeding a good quality dry dog food.
I hope that helps.