View Full Version : Two-part barn dog question!

Feb. 10, 2010, 10:09 PM
We have a wonderful barn dog, a boxer. Set-up: my friend and I live on the farm premises, in rented rooms in a "bunkhouse" sort of building. The barn is about 400 ft away. My friend raises Jack Russells -- they have a kennel and a shed converted into a big heated doghouse. For a while, the boxer had her own run and kennel over with the other dogs. We are now trying to transition her to living in the barn.

We set up a big (7x14) chain link kennel in the barn. She has a crate for a bed inside the kennel. Whenever we are in the barn (morning feeding, afternoon feed/stall cleaning, evening feeding) she is out with us.

On the first three successive nights of this new regime, she managed to get out of the kennel... :mad: We have repaired or reinforced the places that she has gotten out, but we aren't going to try leaving her in there again till the weekend when we can check on her repeatedly.

Is it "cruel" to be trying to get her to stay out there by herself? There are barn cats (with which she is good friends) that meander through, and there are horses in stalls. Will she get used to it? The barn floor is hard-packed clay but if she starts digging it'll be a mess AND she might eventually succeed. Or she might end up with bloody paws or another type of injury from her persistence.

So that's part 1 of the question, do you think it's OK for us to be trying to acclimate her to barn life and do you have experience with a dog that did eventually realize the barn was home? The second part is -- until the weekend she is in a crate between our barn visits. Overnight about 10-11 hours, during the day about 2 hours between outings. She is out for 1-2 hours in the morning, 4 hours mid-day, and 2-3 hours at night. Could she live like this if we can't get the kennel to work? Or is that way too much crating? She is always happy to go in the crate.


Meredith Clark
Feb. 10, 2010, 10:15 PM
I don't mind kenneling for long periods of time, Bella really likes her crate and as long as when she's out she's doing something that exercises her body and brain it's ok.

If I know i'm going to have a busy few days I try to leave her out of her crate at night.

Just a "personal" question.. why don't you want the dog in the house with you?

Feb. 10, 2010, 10:18 PM
Why can't the dog go back to the kennel w/the other dogs, instead of being crated?

Feb. 10, 2010, 10:23 PM
I think that it is probably a big change for her to go from being around the Jack Russels to being alone. Dogs do have that "pack" thing going, and cats and horses aren't going to be on the same level as another dog or a person.
I don't think that kenneling her by herself is a bad thing - some of the time. However, for long periods, I would let her go back with the Jack Russels or crate her overnight in a bedroom so she wouldn't be on her own.

Feb. 10, 2010, 10:58 PM
Just a "personal" question.. why don't you want the dog in the house with you?

She is actually my friend's dog not mine. I have three cats in my room that are NOT dog savvy, they would be terrorized. My friend has kept the boxer in her room overnight in the past and can probably do it again. Since we sort of share care of her it seemed more convenient to have her at the barn where our life is centered anyway. And since we have had tack thefts from time to time, we hoped she'd be a deterrent (barking). I guess neither of us thought she wouldn't like it though! That puts a different light on the whole plan.

Why can't the dog go back to the kennel w/the other dogs, instead of being crated?

Um, poor planning? LOL
The kennel she has in the barn is made up of the panels that used to make up her run over with the JRTs. So unless we buy more panels or give up and disassemble the barn set-up, there's nothing for her to go back to... :(

Feb. 10, 2010, 11:07 PM
Dogs are extremely social creatures. While some could adapt to what you're describing, I wouldn't force it on a dog who wasn't naturally aloof.

10-11 hours straight confined to a crate is approaching abusive (and I'm very much in favor of crate training). Even if she were being let out every four hours or so and was getting lots of mental and physical exercise otherwise, it's still a *lot* of crate time.

Feb. 12, 2010, 03:16 AM
Could one of the jacks go with her to keep her company? Though I'm not sure that the cage would contain a jack bent on escape....

Feb. 12, 2010, 10:25 AM
why not put a couple of rubber mats under her chainlink kennel to prevent her from digging under? My dogs are in a similar chain link run, set on dirt and would dig out in 5 minutes except I put rubber stalls matts under it and they can't dig through those. I am very surprised that she got out of a chainlink run anyway- did you not have it fastened properly? Those things are pretty secure and in a year my massive dogs have not been able to muscle their way out.

I agree, I wouldn't crate any large dog for more than a couple of hours at a time. Maybe a tiny dog in a big XL crate but a boxer in a regular crate? Sure to drive the dog into a barking for no reason frenzy if not into self abusive compulsive behaviors like lick wounds.

Feb. 12, 2010, 11:26 AM
for awhile, I had a newfi that I had to leave at the farm over night by herself (about 6 months). In the daytime, I was there with her, but at night I packed up the other three dogs and went home. I let her have the run of the barn - just closed it up so she couldn't go outside.

I felt really bad for her, even though she adjusted well. She knew that the barn was her home and we were there every day, all day. I was very relieved when I moved back to the farm and I was able to have her with us all the time. The reason I left her at the farm was that someone had stolen her from my backyard at my "city" house, and I was worried that the same person would come back and take her again...

Long term, leaving her at the barn was not something I wanted to do. I think she was OK with it, but it didn't feel right to me.


Feb. 12, 2010, 12:48 PM
My greyhound, a dog who has ALWAYS (before I adopted her) lived in a small, confined area, absolutely detests being brought inside. She would much rather - no matter the weather - be out in the barn with the other barn dogs. They have a HUGE hay pile in the corner, with pallets standing up as wind breaks. They burrow down in that hay and are in heaven. But i think they key is they have each other. None would do well alone.