Revive & Recharge: A Kennel Oasis for Your Working German Shepherds
by Dakota Storage Buildings, on October 11, 2023
As the proud owner of a new German Shepherd puppy, you may be filled with excitement and a sense of responsibility. German Shepherds are often trained as working dogs, fulfilling duties that range from security and protection to search and rescue operations. Their specialized roles demand specific forms of care and training to ensure they excel in their given tasks. One of the biggest challenges you will face is kennel training. Finding the perfect kennel is more than just a purchasing decision; it’s a commitment to your dog's well-being, comfort, and performance. How do you ensure your German Shepherd has a comfortable and secure place to rest and recharge? Let’s look into the unique needs of working and hunting dogs like German Shepherds and why an outdoor kennel is an excellent option for your canine.
Meeting the Needs of Your Working Dog
Owning a working dog, specifically a trained protection dog, requires a different approach than taking care of a typical household pet. It is a long-term commitment that goes far beyond the basics of pet ownership. Working dogs are essentially professional animals with very specific physical and mental needs.
You cannot rely solely on regular dog food when feeding a protection dog like a German Shepherd. Their diet needs to be more nuanced to meet their high energy requirements. A balanced diet, rich in protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, can greatly enhance your dog’s performance and stamina. As a pro tip, you may consider consulting a veterinarian specializing in working dogs to help you tailor a dietary plan that meets your dog’s needs.
Veterinary Care and Health Screenings
Regular vet visits are a non-negotiable aspect of caring for a working dog. In addition to vaccinations and general check-ups, your German Shepherd may require specialized screenings for conditions common to the breed, such as hip dysplasia. It is crucial to schedule regular blood tests, X-rays, and other diagnostic measures to address any health concerns preemptively.
Rest and Recovery
After a demanding work day, a protection dog needs ample time to rest and rejuvenate. An outdoor dog kennel offers the dog its sanctuary, away from household distractions. However, it can not just be any kennel; it has to be secure, well-constructed, and made with materials that can withstand the elements while offering comfort. These commercial dog kennels often include features like insulation for temperature control and locking mechanisms for added security.
Early Exposure, Lasting Success: Training Your German Shepherd for Work
If you are raising a German Shepherd as a working dog, the consistency of training and environment during the formative weeks of its life is invaluable. The period between 8 and 16 weeks is crucial in laying the foundational behaviors and attitudes that will shape your dog's ability to perform specific tasks later in life. Early socialization is essential for all dogs but becomes even more critical for working dogs like German Shepherds. This breed is often responsible for roles that demand interaction with humans and other animals. Whether your German Shepherd is tasked with guarding livestock, protecting property, or search and rescue, early and controlled exposure to the respective environments and creatures can acclimate your dog to the elements it will encounter daily.
Let's say your dog is being trained to guard livestock. Early, controlled exposure to the animals it will safeguard can be beneficial. Conduct these interactions under supervised conditions to ensure the dog's and livestock's safety. Supervision allows you to correct any undesirable behaviors immediately, helping your dog differentiate between threatening and non-threatening situations. During the formative weeks, introducing your German Shepherd to the types of environments they will be working in can also be highly beneficial. Whether it's a bustling marketplace for a police dog or the quiet, open fields for a herding dog, familiarizing them with the smells, sounds, and sights can make future transitions smoother.
From Comfort to Climate: Essentials in Your Working Dog's Outdoor Kennel
Finding the right outdoor kennel for your German Shepherd is not just about providing a space for them to sleep. It is about creating a safe, secure, and comfortable environment where they can rest, rejuvenate, and mentally prepare for their duties. Given their roles' physically demanding and psychologically taxing nature, different types of working dogs need a space designed for their specific needs. Choosing a kennel of the right size is fundamental. Your German Shepherd should be able to stand, sit, lie down, and easily turn around. For larger breeds like German Shepherds, opting for a spacious kennel is essential. Remember that space is not just a luxury but a necessity for these active dogs to feel comfortable. If the kennel is too small, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and potential health issues down the line.
The materials used to construct the commercial-grade dog kennel should be sturdy and durable, able to withstand both the elements and the wear and tear of a strong, active dog. Options like a heavy-duty roof and industrial-grade chain link can provide the structural integrity needed. Insulated walls are beneficial, as they protect your dog from extreme temperatures, be it the summer heat or winter cold. While an outdoor kennel does provide natural ventilation, additional measures may be needed. For instance, kennels with built-in vent systems can ensure that fresh air circulates throughout the space, eliminating odors and preventing moisture buildup. You also want to make sure the kennel provides adequate shade and shelter from the elements, so a durable roof is non-negotiable.
5 Reasons Working Dogs Are Happy Outside
It is a common belief to think that dogs, especially those that are part of our families, should spend most of their time indoors with us. While this may apply to many pet dogs, working dogs like German Shepherds often thrive in a different setting. Below are five reasons why working dogs often prefer the great outdoors, particularly with a well-designed outdoor kennel.
1. Thrive In Outdoor Dog Kennels
It is hardwired into a dog’s DNA to enjoy the great outdoors. When a working dog like a German Shepherd is placed in an outdoor kennel, it can live in an environment that aligns more closely with their natural instincts. A well-placed outdoor kennel can give them a 360-degree view of their surroundings, access to natural light, and the ability to "go" whenever they need to without waiting for a human to take them out. This adds to their overall sense of well-being.
2. German Shephards Live to Work
If you have a working German Shepherd, understand that these dogs have been bred for generations to perform specific tasks. Whether it is herding, guarding, or providing service in various capacities, they are hard-wired to derive pleasure from working. Being outdoors provides them with a natural place to fulfill these instincts. Fields, woods, and open spaces are not just areas for them to run; they are platforms where they can exercise their skills.
3. Being Indoors Breeds Confusion
Many social cues and habits that are part of a pet dog’s life can be confusing for a working dog. For instance, spending too much relaxed time indoors might dilute their understanding of when it is time to work and when it is time to play. They could begin to see every human interaction as an invitation to be petted rather than obey a command. The line between "work mode" and "play mode" becomes clearer when they have an outdoor environment designated for rest and rejuvenation.
4. Outdoor Dog Kennels Offer Quality Stimulation
Working dogs are brilliant and need constant mental stimulation. The sights, smells, and sounds while inside an outdoor kennel can keep a dog mentally alert and enriched. Whether it is watching birds, sniffing out new scents, or simply enjoying the feeling of natural surfaces under their paws, being outdoors offers a variety of stimuli that a confined indoor space simply cannot provide.
5. It’s Not Personal, It’s Business
For a trained working dog like a German Shepherd, the role they play in work is one they take seriously. These dogs aim to please their owners and thrive on positive reinforcement derived from successfully completing tasks. Being continually kept indoors in a more relaxed, pet-like environment can create confusion and potentially undermine the training and discipline required for work.
A Tailored Space for Your Loyal Companion
Considering an outdoor kennel for your working German Shepherd? You are on the right track. An outdoor setting provides a space for physical rest and a variety of stimuli that contribute to the well-being and productivity of your dog. Finding a suitable outdoor space for your dedicated canine companion is about giving them a place to stay and creating an environment tailored to their unique needs and attributes. This investment concerns their well-being, efficiency in their specialized roles and overall happiness. For more detailed guidance, download our free guide, How to Ensure Your Working Dog is Healthy and Happy, to help you choose the perfect kennel for your working dog. Your German Shepherd deserves the best; we are here to help you provide just that.