BronteDogloo Now that I have two LGDs, I want more flexibility in which gates are open and closed. There are two wood dog houses in the pasture, but they are both too heavy to move frequently. I want some which I can easily drag around with the sheep/dog locations, so that onlookers can clearly see that the dogs have houses, even if they never seem to enter them. But the houses still have to be heavy enough to not blow around in the wind. So, that limits me to the dorky Dogloo. I hate plastic, especially white plastic. But there are times when the sturdiness and lightweight characteristics of plastic win out over wood. This is one of those times.

So I’ve been searching craigslist for giant-breed sized Dogloos.

Petmate, the manufacturer, has created a confusing array of size definitions and shapes for their dog house products, which seem to have changed over time. So when I look at new ones in a store and note their size definitions, then try to compare that to people’s ads for used dog houses, things don’t match up.

MosesHouse3Once I drove 45 minutes to pick up what the seller described as an “XL” house that would be appropriate for giant breeds, only to find that the house would fit nothing bigger than a Lab or a Golden. I was puzzled why he didn’t know what breed of dog fit in the house. and there were no dogs in sight at his tiny-yard, housing-development home. He also had three used Dogloos and two 400 crates stacked there for sale. So I asked him what he had been using these for.

It turns out that he is a craigslist Dogloo and dog crate remarketer. I had no idea such an endeavor existed. He admitted he has a side biz of picking up Dogloos and Vari-Kennels on craigslist for around $20, he cleans them, and then re-sells them for $80! Huh. It’s hard to imagine that he sells any, when there are plenty of dirty Dogloos on craigslist for $35. But perhaps some people have lost the knowledge of what a good bleach scrubbing can do to white plastic.

The Dogloo phenomenon is an interesting one in general. The manufacturer seems to have designed the ultimate product bomb: an expensive dog house that lasts nearly forever, that few dogs prefer to use. So, the “previously owned” market is flooded with perfectly good Dogloos that will probably last another fifty years (long enough for five or six pets in succession). But I think most people sell them with the reluctant admission, my dog never liked it anyway. Maybe they stink too much like plastic to dog, I dunno, but I’ve personally never heard of a dog liking a Dogloo. Have you? I have no idea why anyone would ever buy one new from a pet store for $150-300, when at any given time, there are several dozen listed for under fifty bucks on craigslist!

So, anyway, back to my search. I found one really giant-sized one, sold by a Great Dane owner (whose dog never liked the house). This one is definitely big enough to fit Bronte. I got a second one which also seemed to match the “giant” dimensions, but it’s a different shape. If I have Moses lay down in front of it, I can see that his “footprint” would fit in there nicely. And the manufacturer suggests that you want them not-too-big, because the dog will stay warmest if he’s kind of snug inside the house. But it seems like slightly larger would be better, and then Bronte could use either one (she’s quite a bit bigger than Moses). So I’m going to shop for a different one. MosesHouse2

So far, neither house has attracted either dog . In the to[p picture,  you can see Bronte getting silly in front of the thing. After sniffing it once, she never went near it again, the fluffy and clean straw bedding inside sat untouched. I thought I’d have better luck with Moses. Kennel up! I told him (I think this is what his former owner said is his command to get into something.) No can do, he was afraid of both igloos. I threw bits of string cheese in there, and he was willing to enter about halfway to retrieve them; but that’s where he drew the line. I left them alone, thinking the dogs might explore them on their own time. Nope.

The only denizen the Dogloos ended up attracting was Kitchen Lamb. Apparently he spent enough time in a dog crate while in the kitchen that he considers dog housing and comfy beds appropriate for himself. The rest of the ram lambs did not seem to share his preference. The llama was at first very concerned about the apparent consumption of Kitchen Lamb by the igloo. She crooned and worried over what had happened, peering around all sides and pondering the dilemma. Then she figured out there was straw inside (and that Kitchen Lamb was OK in there); so she reached her Loch Ness neck inside to snuffle out all of the wheat seeds loose in the straw. But that was the extent of animal-Dogloo interaction that I could see.

MosesHouse1So, I tried. I’ll get one more huge Dogloo, and will dutifully drag them around the pasture and position them near the sheep. That way, when passers-by see the dogs sleeping in the pouring rain, they can be reassured, I’ve done all I can. Like they say, you can lead a horse to water….