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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I have done a few searches for this topic, and found nothing. So if there already are threads about this, feel free to direct me to them!

In summary:

We will be first-time adult dog owners (had dogs as a kid) and eventually want a smooth collie. We have been doing all of our homework on what that will entail. We live far back from the road on 3.5 acres, and have neighbors who also have acreage. They have dogs and kids as well, and no one has fences. We like it that way. Makes our yards like one big park. That said...

At least one very reputable breeder I have contacted requires a fenced yard for her dogs. Another reputable breeder I spoke to prefers that owners have a fence, but acknowledges that not all dog owners can do that, and indicated that a kennel or run adjacent to the house would be adequate. Their reasons range from giving dogs a safe place to go to the bathroom at night (we do have coyote around here), to keeping them away from dog thieves (not likely since you can't see our home from the road to even know a dog is out, and I am home during the day anyway), to giving them a safe place to relax outside without danger of darting after a squirrel or other wildlife. I respect that they are looking out for the best interest of their dogs.

My question:

For our purposes, I'm confused as to the true purpose of a dog run or kennel. Is it primarily for a dog to lounge in outside if needed, or for going potty? Won't some dogs be averse to going potty in a fenced area that also doubles as an area for them to hang out?

I work from home and the dog would be with me all day, with the exception of leashed walks, playtime with kids, and monitored potty breaks. The dog will also be crate trained at night. Initially, I had hoped to train our dog to relieve itself in a designated area outside (with leash at first, but hopefully off-leash some day). But if we have a dog kennel/run that also serves as a potty area, that might be more challenging to do.

This was a really long post to basically say, what will the dog run/kennel be used for? Perhaps I'm being naive and there IS an obvious need for one. If so, tell me that too. I'd like to learn! Thanks!
 

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as long as you willing to accept the 50 /50 chance that all will be bliss,, or the other is the loss of your dog. I live in a rural area have 120acs, that I am the only that has spent time over the years fencing my homestead 35ac property off a little at a time to expand more areas,, the other neighbors just keep replacing the dogs that they have lost. Most people around here and the ranchers just replace their dogs when they go missing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
as long as you willing to accept the 50 /50 chance that all will be bliss,, or the other is the loss of your dog. I live in a rural area have 120acs, that I am the only that has spent time over the years fencing my homestead 35ac property off a little at a time to expand more areas,, the other neighbors just keep replacing the dogs that they have lost. Most people around here and the ranchers just replace their dogs when they go missing.
I get that, but doesn't that assume that the people who lose their dogs are just letting them outside unattended? And the other part of my question - is a dog run/kennel intended to also be used as a dog potty area?

A big part of our preparation efforts involves considering what daily life will be like, and what measures will be necessary before bringing a dog home. I just keep getting stuck on envisioning when we'll use the kennel. Again - this may be my naivete'. But I know smooth/rough collies love their people, so we don't intend to adopt one and leave it outside for long periods. It will be with us, and part of the family.

I don't mind getting a kennel, and we have a location it could work. Just trying to figure it all out...
 

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Congrats on your decision to research first; on the "no fence"; I live in a rural area-have 5 acres which includes an acre pond; we had to fence the part around the house for dogs; it is a chain link fence so you can still see the surrounding area outside and it doesn't ruin the view, etc. Personally I would find a way to fence an area for the dog so it has grass for potty and to hang out; large enough for both. I have not used a kennel outside so not sure how that works for potty, etc. We have coyotes, etc so there was no way we were going to chance no fence and we were not going to chance a mishap in the pond. Here is a picture where you can see the fence and a picture of the "other" visitors we get at night; couldn't keep that one from climbing the fence-we removed the bird feeder !!
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Dogs are natural roamers.. people who keep their dogs active and close and as house dogs have dogs that love to escape a backyard and roam. some more then others.. A kennel run is when you can't supervise, or when you need to restrict. Teaching a dog to accept and be relaxed to confinement and boundaries will always be a benefit to you. It's an ok place that they can poop in,, some people don't want to stand around waiting for a dog to do his business so yes I know people take them out to the kennel/ enclosure and leave them to do their business while they getting ready for work or other things.

I made this very same choice with all my barn cats,, you knew upfront you taking a chance on their lives. cats like to roam, move around hunt at night and during the day.. the really smart ones get lucky and live the rest of them get eaten'd from predator birds that hunt around the house... or coyotes if the cats hunted roamed away from the property.. Longest one I ever had was 7 years and just one time to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I accepted it for what it was..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Congrats on your decision to research first; on the "no fence"; I live in a rural area-have 5 acres which includes an acre pond; we had to fence the part around the house for dogs; it is a chain link fence so you can still see the surrounding area outside and it doesn't ruin the view, etc. Personally I would find a way to fence an area for the dog so it has grass for potty and to hang out; large enough for both. I have not used a kennel outside so not sure how that works for potty, etc. We have coyotes, etc so there was no way we were going to chance no fence and we were not going to chance a mishap in the pond. Here is a picture where you can see the fence and a picture of the "other" visitors we get at night; couldn't keep that one from climbing the fence-we removed the bird feeder !!
Thanks for the reply! Better a possum than a raccoon - IMHO. At least the latter eat ticks! We had to get rid of our bird feeders because the raccoons would eat and poop all over. And their scat is some nasty stuff that I don't want around kids or dogs.

Dogs are natural roamers.. people who keep their dogs active and close and as house dogs have dogs that love to escape a backyard and roam. some more then others.. A kennel run is when you can't supervise, or when you need to restrict. Teaching a dog to accept and be relaxed to confinement and boundaries will always be a benefit to you. It's an ok place that they can poop in,, some people don't want to stand around waiting for a dog to do his business so yes I know people take them out to the kennel/ enclosure and leave them to do their business while they getting ready for work or other things.
Thank you! This was a great explanation. I was just was not seeing the need for a kennel since I don't have dog experience. And to be fair, our neighbors with weimers don't use a kennel either, so it wasn't on my radar (but their dogs are also crazy). This is why I wanted more info.

In my head (fantasy), potty trips are brief in/out affairs that can be accompanied on leash, and we'd rarely have a need for leaving the dog outside unsupervised. I'm now seeing the fault in that logic. It's probably similar to before DH and I had kids...we had a lot of misconceptions then too! Lol. :doh:
 

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I can address part of your question.

I used to have a 12'x18' chain-link kennel because my Plott could jump over the 5-foot fence without breaking a sweat. (Just a figure of speech. Plotts don't sweat.) She flat refused to pee or poop in there and, if I had a long day at work, a neighbor would come over and let her out once or twice during the day.

Then we got our lab/weim mix and she had no such reservations. Her house-training was stellar, but she she saw no problem with relieving herself in the kennel run - which really wasn't fair to the Plott.

Now I work at home, so I sold the kennel run to a family with miniature goats.

Anyway, based on a limited sample-size, I've concluded that 50% of dogs will relieve themselves in a kennel and the other 50% won't.
 

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Personally, if I had that setup I would fence in a smallish 8 ft run area and attach it to the house with a doggy door so the dog can go outside as it pleases. It will probably use the far end as a potty area, but you should be cleaning it up daily, too. That way, dog is safe and you don't have to go out with it every time it as to potty (after it is 100% potty trained, of course).

Collies have a natural orbit and tend to stick close to you...barring distractions. I mean, my Aussie/ Collie has me within sight at all times when we go to my parent's farm and he gets to run around off leash, but if he sees a bird or a rabbit he takes off after it. But they live 15 miles outside of town on a dead-end gravel road. If your dog sees your neighbors, other dogs, cars, it may take off to investigate or chase it and run into trouble. Ralphie will stop and come back if he goes to far and loses sight of me (which is quite far in very flat ND), but he's incredibly clingy and not every dog is like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
just out of curiosity does your neighbors weimers stay home?
Yes, actually. They have three of them (forgot about an older one). The dogs do wear shock collars sometimes, and have learned not to go too far. They definitely roam the property, but within limits.

I can address part of your question.

I used to have a 12'x18' chain-link kennel because my Plott could jump over the 5-foot fence without breaking a sweat. (Just a figure of speech. Plotts don't sweat.) She flat refused to pee or poop in there and, if I had a long day at work, a neighbor would come over and let her out once or twice during the day.

Then we got our lab/weim mix and she had no such reservations. Her house-training was stellar, but she she saw no problem with relieving herself in the kennel run - which really wasn't fair to the Plott.

Now I work at home, so I sold the kennel run to a family with miniature goats.

Anyway, based on a limited sample-size, I've concluded that 50% of dogs will relieve themselves in a kennel and the other 50% won't.
Thanks RonE. So you no longer use a kennel since you work from home? That is my current situation, which is why I questioned the need for one. But, I suspect there will be times that a contained outdoor area of some sort will be useful. I still don't see leaving our future collie out there for long periods of time though.

Personally, if I had that setup I would fence in a smallish 8 ft run area and attach it to the house with a doggy door so the dog can go outside as it pleases. It will probably use the far end as a potty area, but you should be cleaning it up daily, too. That way, dog is safe and you don't have to go out with it every time it as to potty (after it is 100% potty trained, of course).

Collies have a natural orbit and tend to stick close to you...barring distractions. I mean, my Aussie/ Collie has me within sight at all times when we go to my parent's farm and he gets to run around off leash, but if he sees a bird or a rabbit he takes off after it. But they live 15 miles outside of town on a dead-end gravel road. If your dog sees your neighbors, other dogs, cars, it may take off to investigate or chase it and run into trouble. Ralphie will stop and come back if he goes to far and loses sight of me (which is quite far in very flat ND), but he's incredibly clingy and not every dog is like that.
We may decide to adopt a young adult collie and forgo the puppy stage (I know, where is our sense of adventure?!) I am hopeful that with some additional training effort, we'll have a dog that learns off-leash commands and can play in the back yard without us worrying that a deer, squirrel or raccoon will send it running for miles. An "orbit" would be nice, if indeed that comes with the smooth collie. But again, this is the fantasy in my mind - no idea how practical/achievable it will be.
 

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We may decide to adopt a young adult collie and forgo the puppy stage (I know, where is our sense of adventure?!) I am hopeful that with some additional training effort, we'll have a dog that learns off-leash commands and can play in the back yard without us worrying that a deer, squirrel or raccoon will send it running for miles. An "orbit" would be nice, if indeed that comes with the smooth collie. But again, this is the fantasy in my mind - no idea how practical/achievable it will be.
Most do. Not all. But most. It's part of their breed, typically, because they have to be very handler oriented for herding and whatnot. Luckily that biddability and handler orientation has remained even if your Collie doesn't chase sheep anymore!

I have yet to see any dog resist the temptation of a fleeing deer, though! Sure, they come back eventually, but they'll chase!
 

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Thanks RonE. So you no longer use a kennel since you work from home? That is my current situation, which is why I questioned the need for one. But, I suspect there will be times that a contained outdoor area of some sort will be useful. I still don't see leaving our future collie out there for long periods of time though.
Our yard is fully-fenced.
 

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Most do. Not all. But most. It's part of their breed, typically, because they have to be very handler oriented for herding and whatnot. Luckily that biddability and handler orientation has remained even if your Collie doesn't chase sheep anymore!

I have yet to see any dog resist the temptation of a fleeing deer, though! Sure, they come back eventually, but they'll chase!
Molly will U turn mid-air to call off running deer or wildlife, but she is somewhat a freak of nature - and she still, you know, wants to chase.

Honestly, I trust all my dogs off leash for purposes of things like hiking (except the deaf one, for obvious reasons), swimming in a river, or playing frisbee/ball in a field, but ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN AN ACTIVITY like training or chasing a particular object is not the same as trusting them to hang out and not run off after whatever. Actively engaged in the activity even a deer walking or running by is a distraction and they value the game/me more than 98% of distractions, 98% of the time (not 100, because never), BUT that is a far cry from 'hang out doing not much of anything and don't chase something/wander off' -even if I'm out there.
 

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Molly will U turn mid-air to call off running deer or wildlife, but she is somewhat a freak of nature - and she still, you know, wants to chase.

Honestly, I trust all my dogs off leash for purposes of things like hiking (except the deaf one, for obvious reasons), swimming in a river, or playing frisbee/ball in a field, but ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN AN ACTIVITY like training or chasing a particular object is not the same as trusting them to hang out and not run off after whatever. Actively engaged in the activity even a deer walking or running by is a distraction and they value the game/me more than 98% of distractions, 98% of the time (not 100, because never), BUT that is a far cry from 'hang out doing not much of anything and don't chase something/wander off' -even if I'm out there.
Wow! Deer have always been way to enticing for my dogs, but when they chased it wasn't like they were going to run across a road and get hit by a car or something. Closest neighbors where 2+ miles away. I would be hesitant to to let most dogs off leash on 3.5 acres where I can see my neighbors/roads. I don't think I would even trust Ralphie, even though he never ever wanders far or lets me out his sight for more than a minute.
 

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Wow! Deer have always been way to enticing for my dogs, but when they chased it wasn't like they were going to run across a road and get hit by a car or something. Closest neighbors where 2+ miles away. I would be hesitant to to let most dogs off leash on 3.5 acres where I can see my neighbors/roads. I don't think I would even trust Ralphie, even though he never ever wanders far or lets me out his sight for more than a minute.
If you really think about it a dog who can't be controlled/called off or won't listen because it's chasing an animal is probably not the ideal sheepdog, but I will also say that for all I have SEEN Molly repeatedly do that, I have a friend with a smooth Collie who took off after deer and was found about 2 miles away when he stopped so. It's not like I'm advising it as a general thing. Just - it's possible.
 

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If you really think about it a dog who can't be controlled/called off or won't listen because it's chasing an animal is probably not the ideal sheepdog, but I will also say that for all I have SEEN Molly repeatedly do that, I have a friend with a smooth Collie who took off after deer and was found about 2 miles away when he stopped so. It's not like I'm advising it as a general thing. Just - it's possible.
Oh yes, there are certainly some dogs out there that can, and I imagine real sheepdogs probably have a much higher level of training than any of our farm dogs ever did, even our Aussie/BC dog who herded the cattle, and Ralphie is probably the most extensively trained dog I've ever owned. Given time, he could probably be trained to that level, too, seeing as how clingy he already is. Granted, I didn't really try to call any of our dogs off of chasing wild animals at the farm....deer and rabbits weren't supposed to be in the garden anyway!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hmm. Lots to think about here. The fence is just not going to happen. Our yard is too large, has natural borders like trees, elevation changes, etc. I know our neighbors wouldn't like it either. You cannot see the road from our house - we all are too far back. And our back yard butts up to a natural area. But - if a dog was that determined, it could definitely make it out to the road. I know that.

We could create a nice kennel/run area. Not a problem. But, that won't contain the dog when we are out playing frisbee, running with kids, etc. Guess I never considered that we might have issues with a dog running off even when we are present with it outside. I mean, I know many hounds and other hunting dogs will, which is why I didn't want one of those. The fact that our neighbors' head strong weimers always stick around when they are outside - even as puppies - made me assume wrong. That said, I have no intention of using a remote shock collar (as they sometimes do) on a collie.

Back when I first started thinking more about getting a dog, and hadn't yet read as much, I assumed we'd get an invisible fence. They are very popular around here - nearly all my friends with dogs have one and rave about their effectiveness when used properly. But... I've since learned about the controversy, for reasons that I now understand. And, I've learned that a sensitive breed like a smooth/rough collie is especially not a good candidate. So, that puts us back to square one.

Should we just not get a dog then? Is that what it comes down to - physical fence and dog, or no fence, no dog? It makes me sad, because I think we have a lot to offer in many ways - great rural yard, active, outdoorsy family, a person who stays home and can be present all day... We chose a smooth collie in part because they are quick to train and love their people, so I hoped to avoid a "runner" if we put in the training up front. But again, my vision might be out of line with reality.

Thanks everyone for the feedback.
 

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Long line.

They're about 20.00, give you 50 feet of 'stop cord' to step on if the dog starts taking off, and will give you time to build a recall or a way to work around if the dog proves unreliable. It's cheap, it's fast, it's easy, and it's uncomplicated. (And no one has to be holding the end of it when you play thins like frisbee or ball).
 

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Agree. Long line with a harness. If the dog decides to take off, you can step on it and stop the dog. And they come in all sizes, up to 100 ft. I went for about 5 months without a fence around our yard and used that to play ball and stuff with Ralphie. And we have a tiny yard. The dog might not have to wear it forever, it is possible that he/she can become reliable off leash, but while you're training it's important to have that safety net.
 

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Yeah, I mean if you've got a long line for active play/while you train and a kennel in case you have unsupervised time you need the pup contained, you're good to go.
 
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