S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
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S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
They say that “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”. Dog people often need a little extra room, so sometimes we have to get creative in finding it. AmaDandi Shih Tzu is a small “kennel”, but a “home” in reality. There are no “out-buildings”—nor would we want them. A spacious, well-appointed “dog room” is still a dream or two away.. The daily workings of a home and kennel are combined into one space----a playpen in the kitchen, a whelping pen by the bed----and dinner for 6 on the table!

One unlikely item has become a great help: wire closet shelving! They are found in home improvement and hardware stores, (we look for the ones who will cut to size FREE!) The pieces come in 12 foot lengths in widths from 12 to 20 inches. Many homes use baby gates as room dividers. We found these to be much to tall to hurdle in day-to-day living, as they are usually 29 to 31 inches tall. (It is good leg-lift exercise, but dangerous if you miss!) If you have a jumper, this may not be effective for you—a Houdini will accept the challenge, and smile as he hurdles over top. For many dogs, however, the “gate” acts as a deterrent, and with the addition of some training, does keep him on the proper side. To use, measure your door opening for size and have the shelf cut accordingly. Set the shelf on it side (the 1" lip will be on the floor, the shelf pointing up). The shelf can in some instances free-stand across the opening, or a bracket (found in the same place in the store) can be installed to make it semi-permanent. There are two types of brackets, depending on your doorway. The “pocket” type allows the shelf to be moved right out of the way when not in use or if you want to swing it open. The other, “u-hook” type works if you can’t have anything obstructing the doorway opening.

We have also used the shelving to build a temporary puppy playpen. This pen fits well into our kitchen because it seems less cumbersome in an already busy area. Since the sections can be cut to size, many configurations are possible. Shelf sections are held together at the corners by nylon”zip strips” or other snap fasteners found in the aisles of your hardware store. The sections are easily stored or packed for travel. The downside may be a lack of a sanitary floor, but since this is used mainly for young puppies, we keep a supply of easily washed throw rugs. The throw rugs (mostly cotton) provide good footing for toddlers, and if monitored, can provide a clean place to play. The enclosure works well outside in safe grassy areas, or add a mat for greater protection. It is important to note that all ends, especially the cut ones, should be checked for sharpness. Caps are available (glue on, as they do pop off)—or lightly sand or tape any other problem areas.

Our garage is a clean, safe place for dogs to play when it is wet, hot, or you just need a change of scene for them. The danger there was a deep, cement stairwell. Again, we mounted shelving sections to surround the area. It is now safe for Shih Tzu as well as visiting children.

These ideas for extra space are not intended to replace professionally constructed crates and pens. Though they are relatively durable, they are not escape proof. As always, use common sense. The shelving works best for toy breeds–so be careful recommending them to your larger dog friends.