Help me design an awesome dog house

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by poopscoop, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. poopscoop

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 12, 2012
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    Greetings,

    I live in the southeast and have a 50 pound Australian Shepherd who is not keen on the miserable summers. It's not practical or possible to leave him inside during the day when I'm not home, and I want him to have a place to escape the heat.

    I want to build a decently nice dog house that will (hopefully) be a little cooler than hiding under bushes. I'd also like to be able to disassemble and clean it without too much work.

    I have extensive woodworking tools and experience, but I am on a budget.

    I know that, this being an electronics form, there will be suggestions for incorporating fans and "dog-detecting circuits", which are fine and dandy, but the only way I'm running an electric cable in range of a dog is if it's DC, under 13v, fused, and generally safe if it gets chewed.

    So far I'm thinking double-layer walls (An outer layer of cheap pine, a small ventilated air gap, and an interior layer of plywood), a wooden roof with white tin tacked to the top, and maybe slats that will open and allow breezes to circulate.

    Any tips or cool(ha) ideas?
     
  2. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    What we do in FL is get those fans they use for football teams that oscillate the fan and pump a fine mist in the air so it hits your skin and evaportates in 2 second. The really keep you cool in the FL summers. Other then that make a house for the dog, put a slit heavy plastic door on it, and run an AC duct to it. Or save a bunch of time and get a cheapie plastic shed from HD and modify that so it gets a lil ac. You could throw a tiny lil window unit in it. Also find you hose in your back yard and make it to where it drips every 5 seconds. Then put a bowl under it. That way he'll never run out of water. Thats what kills dogs in heat, they don't sweat so they over heat fast. Fresh water is a must.
     
  3. poopscoop

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    139
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    I like this idea. I'm sure I can find some metal conduit to protect the power cable and run 120v mains without any worries.
     
  4. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    The ground is your friend. Even in Florida, the deep ground temperature is only 70F. That is why dogs wallow out a hole and put their bellies to the ground.

    Second idea: My wife wanted to play, "Unplug everything so the puppies can chew on the wires." I told her to leave them plugged in. The first time a moist tooth touches an energized conductor, the puppies will figure out the wire can protect itself. It worked. No dead puppies, no chewed cords, and no rearranging every wire and lamp in the house to protect the puppies from learning not to chew wires.

    About double walls...let air go up the interior of the walls via chimney effect. That way, any side that is exposed to the sun can heat up all it wants and the interior wall will be the temperature of the ambient air.
     
  5. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Few years back I came upon a well made traditional design wooden dog house dumped in a lot. Before realizing the house was only there cause the dogs wasn't around no more I took a good look at it's construction. The thing that impressed me the most at the time was the roof was hinged so it could be opened and cleaned.
     
    #12 likes this.
  6. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    You could use something like a large aluminium plate at the bottom for him to lie down on. If you thermally couple that to the ground it will be nice and cool, maybe even some metal embedded deep in the ground and thermally coupled to the plate.

    In winter the ground temp may be warmer than the external temp so it will work as a warmer too, but if real cold in winter you can just give him an insulated raised bed to lie on.

    Then some well designed air flow at the top might be enough if you have a regular breeze. A second roof can work well, at a height say 1 foot above the main roof it shades the main roof and allows cool airflow between the rooves even in the smallest of breezes.

    If you wanted to go high tech you could buy a cheap ebay external temperature sensor and put that in the doghouse, so you can monitor his temp from inside YOUR house. :) Or even put a radio controlled adjustable vent on his roof, so you could remotely open/close it in hot/cold weather from inside the comfort of your own house.
     
  7. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    And don't forget to paint it white.
     
  8. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    Seen this a couple of years back; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie's_House

    Wouldn't it be easier to housebreak your friend though? Some places have laws that only allow dogs to be outside for a few hours a day in the summer.
     
  9. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
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    Where is that, shortbus? Any site where to read about?
     
  10. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    If you wanted to provide some cooling you could add a small swamp cooler. Here's some info on making your own.
     
  11. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    There were multiple stories last summer on the TV. Here is the first link I came to; http://www.unchainyourdog.org/Laws.htm A Google for "dog tethering laws" gives more.
     
  12. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    I was going to suggest the same thing, but in the southeast the high humidity might limit the effectiveness of an evaporative cooler.

    Before folks had A/C units at home, my dad (a chemical engineer) rigged up a spray tower outside the house and fanned cooled air from the tower in through the bedroom window. Humid, but nice cool air.
     
  13. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    I thought of that, and it would reduce the effectiveness. But, unless the humidity was very high, it should still cool the air some.
     
  14. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Of course, if poopscoop posted where he lives, that would solve this part of the problem.
     
  15. poopscoop

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 12, 2012
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    16
    The great state of Georgia. Swamp coolers don't do much here.

    With a dog as high energy as an Aussie, leaving him inside all day is worse than putting him in the yard.

    I'm torn between elevating the floor to keep it dry, or just omitting it altogether so he can wallow in the dirt. There's nothing like spending time and money to build a dog house, only to have the mutt ignore it because the bushes are milder.

    I think I have a 120vac 120mm exhaust fan lying around I can toss in to keep air flowing. I figure if I hook it up to a GFCI outlet I wont need to worry about chewing/abrading/rain.
     
  16. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    10 characters.
     
  17. williamj

    Active Member

    Sep 3, 2009
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    In stead of a "house" have you considered just using a large shaded area that has a solar chimney on it? Painted black the chimney would heat up, the heated air would rise drawing in the cooler air closer to the ground.
     
  18. poopscoop

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    139
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    I've decided to omit the floor altogether. The doghouse will sit on rated, rot resistant wood footings. The outer wall will be pine siding with 1/8 inch gaps between overlapping pieces to allow adequate airflow. The roof will be a tin 'A'. The roof will overlap the front and rear or the doghouse, keeping the sun off of the walls to a degree, and will have an airgap between the roof and sidewalls.

    The interior will be plywood and will follow the shape of the exterior walls and roof. There will be a 1 inch gap between the exterior and interior walls.

    The pinnacle (Right word?) will have a 120mm hole through the both the exterior and interior walls. There will be a 'C' shaped tube connecting the exterior and interior walls. (The 'C' will allow some air to be pulled from the gap between the two sets of walls, while ensuring most of the air comes from the plywood box.)

    The hole will support a 120mm exhaust fan. No idea on the rating, but it's pretty damn powerful. I will bury a cable and hook it to an indoor GFCI. The GFCI will ensure any water or chewing problems do not kill the dog. (Right? Anything that affects the current flowing through the wire should trip the outlet?)

    Ideally all the walls will be tongue and groove fittings, necessitating only 2 or 3 screws per joint, and making dis-assembly easy. We college kids move around a lot.

    Eventually I will get bored and wire up some sort of dog-detecting circuit to control the fan. Probably will just be a beam-break detector, a few transistors, and a relay. I'm sure I'll post here about it.
     
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