Thursday, February 14, 2013

Olive's House

Olive has three "crates" around the condo. This was accidental but allows her various comfortable vantage points to survey her domain DH and my home. One in the living room, one in the office, and one in our room.

Crates 1 & 2 are boring conventional flexi and plastic-shell crates for traveling and for bed time. Flexi means she can be contained when her stomach is upset overnight but can see everything, making her happy. The shell means she can't chew through it without a ton of determination while we're gone (which she has but a kong of peanut butter and kibble helps deter her) and can be buckled in when we go on a car ride (straps around the outside make it more secure and allow it to be buckled into 2-point or 3-point belts).*

 Taken outside Roanoke after a long car ride from around Little Rock (day 2 of the trek from Texas). It's currently serving as her canopy bed, stuffed with a large fleece blanket and a couple bath sheets to give her plenty of fabric to root around in.

Anywho, that brings us to crate 3. Olive's very special, handmade, custom wood crate.**

If she sits up very tall, and puts her ears up, she still has a couple inches of room

You would think any dog would be happy to have a comfortable crate like this. Nope. First Sunday we had her, we came home from church to find she left us a present in the living room and took chunks out of the door of the crate.

 Every so often I will throw all her toys in the back, and one by one she will unpack them so they are all under the coffee table.

This was DH's project while we waited for our adoption paperwork to be approved (and before we knew the size of dog we were getting) so he did all the math and most of the decision making (I had most of the say of the color on the top). He took this project from Ana White and downsized so that it is 24"x24"x32" and could have gone much smaller to comfortably fit ~13" Olive. If you do re-size it, I would recommend finding a standard crate size for a mat/pillow. We are having a time finding one that fits well. MDF was used for the top and plywood for the base and inserts (plexi would would work too), and pine for the sides and door. The hinges and latch were purchased at home depot as was the paint (something in the Behr 400- series, I think Mossy Green but I could be wrong, I know it was an all-weather/outdoor paint which is a bit of a pain since I find it to be a bit tacky with dust or wet glasses for whatever reason).

The hinge is on the left side as, in the old apartment, the crate was on the other side of the couch and it made sense in my head. I want to remove the door since we never keep her in it anyway but DH wants it to stay. Whatever. Still needs to be stained.

HOWEVER, by careful if you use this project as there are math problems with length/cuts missing. So carefully read the directions and walk through each step and highlight each cut as it corresponds to a step to make sure everything makes sense.

DH's Thoughts:
- Wait to stain until after you see if your dog is part beaver
- Either use the exact size as the pattern or be very competent with wood construction*** or math, better if it's 2 out of the 3
- Pocket Holer-thingy is very useful and makes it much cleaner
- Don't use the plastic plugs on the inside of the door/crate, dogs can and probably will eat them (we used wood filler stuff that's harder to pop off)
- Electric Sander is also useful
- Home Depot does pretty decent cuts but if you get the high schooler, you may want to add length or get extra pieces since our guy decided to not measure each piece but instead used each progressive piece as a ruler (I think I was off looking at door hardware or something)
- It is possible with only one power tool (minus cuts) as long as it is a drill.
- Make sure all exposed sides and edges are smooth for delicate puppy skin, and stupid human toes

*We allowed her to be loose in the car when we took her home from her foster parents but knew we wanted at least a harness on her since she's neurotic and it's safer for them to be contained, especially in an accident (and it's illegal for a dog to unrestrained in a vehicle in some states near us). We bought the shell crate since she's an escape artist. Figure it's easier for first responders if we are ever in an accident since she doesn't wear a leash in the car and the crate can be picked up and carried.
** You'll notice that both the flexi and wooden crates are over-sized. Because she was already potty trained (ignoring the church present) and she is not kept in either without supervision, the "den" mentality isn't a problem. Her shell crate is smaller (but still appropriate for her size, even though she loves to smoosh herself into a tiny ball in the back) so if she needed a den mentality for house training, it would suffice. DH didn't trust the stability of wire crates so we don't have one of those. I do want an exercise pen at some point but that can wait for now.
***My two years of musical tech crew were not enough

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