Endsleigh specialise in Home Contents Insurance for people in the UK

Dog house innovations


One of my biggest cleaning chores has always been the dog cage. It’s big, it’s unwieldly, and my little guys aren’t too proud to let loose and pee in it from time to time.

I’ve gone through a few different “systems” trying to find the best solution to this problem. For a while, I had a giant plastic carrier like this:


I put a piece of 2×4 lumber under the back end to tip it forward just a tad, so the urine would at least flow downhill. Not a great solution, even with newspaper lining the cage floor, because when I came to let them out they danced all over the pee-paper and flung droplets at my face. Mmmmm.

Next, I bought a wire cage with a pull-out bottom, like this:


I wanted one that kept them up out of the pee completely, but couldn’t find that anywhere. So instead, I built my own platform out of PVC pipe, zip ties, and mesh screen. Super cheap, easy to clean, (I just spray it down in the shower) and it does the trick. This made everyone cleaner and happier.

But now, I feel like a princess because Teague built me a rolling cart to set the cage on. It fits perfectly under our new countertop, so he built some sheet-pan shelves on either side and I’ll be hanging some fabric on the front to hide the cage.

I also *might* have sewn them up a little doggy sleeping bag to cuddle up in. And they *might* be too stupid to figure out how it works, making all my hard work for naught.

Oooh, fancy!

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Derek Canavan had this to say on 01.27.06:

I see you have a min pin. That explains why the dog pees in the crate. I had a little min pin that peed in the crate the second he felt he needed to pee. Little bastard just peed it out for the hell of it. Type and size of crate had no influence. After 7 years I got rid of him to a min pin rescue league where masochists love that type of dog. No more incessant barking at NOTHING! I have a pit bull I recues and she is a doll. Goes hours and hours without a problem and does not bark. I feel your pain.

gary had this to say on 01.28.06:

I’ve got about 7 pigeons and one egg that will fit in that cage nicely!

Anonymous had this to say on 01.28.06:

Nice. Cabinets for putting the dogs away.

If your dogs are regularly peeing in their crates, you have a serious problem. Probably leaving them caged way too long.

Dogs are stupid enough to love you wildly even though you mistreat them. You should fix this.

“Short term confinement to a crate is intended to inhibit your dog from eliminating when confined, so that she will want to eliminate when released from confinement and taken to an appropriate area. Crate training also helps teach your dog to have bladder and bowel control. Instead of going whenever she feels like it, she learns to hold it and go at convenient scheduled times.

“Crate training should not be abused, otherwise the problem will get drastically worse. The crate is not intended as a place to lock up the dog and forget her for extended periods of time. If your dog soils her crate because you left her there too long, the house training process will be set back several weeks, if not months. ”

Heidi had this to say on 01.28.06:

Excellent! Nice construction, too! I might have to borrow this idea for our catbox…

mindy had this to say on 01.29.06:


Though I’m not sure this even warrants my response given your dismissive tone and comment, and the fact that you did not even bother to leave your name, I would like to set the record straight.

First of all, it’s not a cabinet for locking the dogs away and neglecting them. I am an animal lover to the core, and trust me on this – I am not mistreating my dogs. If I had any other workable option, I would not crate them. I have two dogs, both roughly the same age. One (Bruiser) is very well trained and would never pee in the house or crate. The other (Nero) is another story. They are best buddies and will not tolerate being seperated, so they both sleep in the crate together.

I have tried everything in the book, and read just about every training manual in existance to try to help Nero (the peeing min-pin). He has come a long way in the 4 years I have had him, but he is still a very troubled dog. My choices are either to crate him, give him up to a rescue league, or have him put to sleep. Obviously, crating is the best of the worst.

Nero has MANY behavioral issues and has been tested for neurological disorders, kidney problems, epilepsy, and everything else they could think of. Luckily, it is not something health related but rather a mental problem. His vet prescribed medication for his obsessive-compulsive behaviors, but it did not stop him from peeing. He regularly pees in the house even when we are home, and I let him out about every half hour. Many min-pin owners have similar troubles.

So………. if you have any new suggestions for me I am all ears. And if anyone can get Caesar Milan to the east coast, send him our way!


Graham had this to say on 01.30.06:

What great timing. We just got a yellow lab and he came with a cate like the top one in your post. I have read to make the crate a comfy and safe place so the dog will know it is there space. Sorry that Nero has so many issues. Keep trying all it takes is just one thing to click.

mindy had this to say on 02.06.06:

Gary – I am STILL not taking your pigeons :)

Becky had this to say on 02.06.06:

I back Mindy up on her defense of the dog treatment. I’ve known her husband’s family for about 10 years and have heard 1st- and 2nd-hand about the very loving struggles she’s gone through with her pup. That anonymous dude was jumping to conclusions.

But to get back to topic, I love the new kitchen sink, you guys. Hooray! But bummer on the faucet. :(

Mindy, check out my new blog–it’s right up your alley:

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Debbie had this to say on 11.01.06:

Sounds like you really love your pets enought to try just about anything. Very smart idea with the PVC. As the owner of several of a small, hyper breed of dog (aren’t the all?) I can fully sympathize with your frustration. As a fan of the Dog Whisperer as well as being involved in competitive dog training, I applaud that you are obviously researching this issue. I know I don’t have the full story so I will give it my best shot. If you have time to crate, then your dogs are not getting enough exercise. Min Pins need a minimum of three hours of strenuous exercise a day OUTSIDE the home. I stress this because I don’t mean in the backyard or around the block, I mean outside as in outdoors off lead. These dogs were born to run. When they don’t get enough exercise they develop obsessive compulsive disorders – not all of them, simply the most hyper. Secondly, when they are unhappy, they develop marking and potty problems. They are unhappy because they don’t get enough exercise. Unfortunately, this describes 90% of all the dogs in our country and it is the reason why so many end up in rescue. Dogs need jobs and the majority of people don’t have time to devote to this or to entertain their dogs on a daily basis. Life gets in the way. Dogs need to be able to not only run free but they also need to “mark” their territory for many miles, smelling the scent of other dogs and coyotes along the way. Backyards are sterile places with only their own urine and feces. Dogs need to smell the urine of strange dogs so they have something to “territorialize.” Males are much more apt to have problems if they don’t get enough exercise. I suggest that if you don’t have a place where you can let your dogs run free, or you simply don’t trust them, then visit the local dog park. Visit every day for at least 2 weeks in a row and then if the urinary problems seems to have resolved itself, you can slack off a bit down to every other day. Some people can exercise their dogs as little as twice a week and have no problems. Also, rigidly regular feedings are critical. A dog must have a schedule. They can tell time. :) That means feeding within 30 minutes of the scheduled time, usually twice a day.
As your vet said, this is behavioral, not medical. That means this problem can be solved it’s just up to you to figure out. Just one trip to the dog park cures most dogs but it could take up to two weeks. Maintaining an exercise schedule is the most important thing. Like I said, dogs can tell time. If you don’t have an exhaustive exercise schedule your dogs will know it and they will be stressed trying to figure out exactly when they get to go for a walk away from home. If you are letting them out of their crate every thirty minutes, that means you are keeping them in their crates all day long. That is not good. Crates are strictly for short term confinement of 1 hour or less. A crate is only a den and pleasurable for a dog when the door is open. When the door is closed or locked, it is a prison cell. A locked door represents abandonment and abandonment/isolation is the harshest form of punishment. In anti-aggression training, even the worst dogs are abandoned for only a minute or two at a time, max 20 minutes. The problem is that your dog is very confused. He thinks he is being punished and you think you are teaching him. Unfortunately what he thinks matters in this case. Crates also create territorialism, just like it does when someone puts a dog on a chain in a backyard. Instead of being communal and living in a pack, suddenly they have a territory to protect and they become snitty if anyone treads on their property. Crating causes more problems than it solves in my opinion.
If you travel then making your dog comfortable with a crate is necessary, but this can be done quickly by tossing a nice raw bone inside. It is not necessary for them to live in their crates daily to learn to like them.
Good luck with the exercise program. I hope you are able to start soon.
I’d like to suggest that you check into the Freestyle Dance sport for dogs. Min Pins are perfect for it!!! :)

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