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Can Weimaraners Live Outside? A Guide To Outdoor Kennel

Weimaraners love the outdoors. If it were up to them, they’d spend all day smelling all the smells, chasing squirrels, and running around in circles. But does the Weimaraners’ love for the outdoors mean it’s a good idea for them to live outside?

While it’s possible for Weimaraners to live outside, you should always give them the option of coming indoors. In places with less predictable or more extreme weather, it’s safer to keep them inside as house pets.

Your Weims’ ability to live outdoors depends on several factors. If you’re thinking of setting up an outdoor kennel for your pooch, here are some things to consider.

What Temperatures Can Weims Tolerate?

Most Weimaraners have short, thin hair and no undercoat; this lack of an undercoat makes them susceptible to cold weather, meaning they won’t do too well during the winter. They’ll also struggle outdoors when it’s raining, as they tend to get soaked fairly quickly.

Unlike short-haired Weimaraners, long-haired Weimaraners tend to have undercoats. However, even these long-haired pups don’t have much of a protective coating; while they might do better in slightly cold weather, anything under 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5°C) is bound to be uncomfortable and can lead to hypothermia. Puppies and senior dogs are especially at risk, as they can’t regulate their body temperature as well as middle-aged dogs.

The Weimaraner’s cold intolerance is partly due to his lack of body fat. While other dogs can withstand the cold due to their hair or protective fat, the Weimaraner is at a loss for both!

Weims do better in hotter climates than most dogs, but even heat can become an issue. Running around too much or not getting enough water can cause your Weim to develop heat stroke.

Can Weimaraners Live in an Outdoor Kennel?

Nelly loves being outside. We have an outdoor kennel where she often goes to relax and sleep. When we leave the house, we keep the kennel open, and she’s able to run inside the house or outside to her kennel as much as she pleases. However, when it’s cold or snowy outside, she’s strictly an indoor pup.

Nelly’s pen

Some Weims do better outdoors than others. This is true of all dogs, and you’ll want to see how your own dog reacts to being outdoors before deciding how often you want him sleeping or playing there. You’ll also want to keep an eye on local weather patterns; even if your kennel is insulated or covered from rain, it might not be enough to protect your pup.

Sometimes, Weims do well in harsh climates. For instance, they’re capable hunters in icy terrain. However, this ability is due in part to their constant motion; a small kennel doesn’t allow for much movement, which can make it harder for them to keep warm.

Controversy

I’m a member of a few Weimaraner groups on Facebook and one lady asked for advice how to train their puppy to their heated outdoor kennel. Some people asked why would you get a dog if you wanted to keep it outside. A lot of people told her not to keep the dog outside, they should be with family. A fair amount of people considered letting the dog sleep outside an abuse.

That is completely absurd to me. As long as you’re following a few rules while ordering or constructing an outdoor kennel, your pup will be just fine!

How Big Should An Outdoor Kennel For a Weimaraner Be? What Other Features Should It Have?

Most Weims do well with larger, pen-like kennels that allow them to run around. However, an indoor crate only needs to be about 30x32x40, and an outdoor kennel can be approximately the same size.

The recommended height for the inner kennel is roughly 30 – 32 inches. The width should be 37-40 inches and lengthwise about 50 – 60 inches (including a small vestibule). It should be comfortable for them to stand and stretch out but not too big because:

  • bigger kennel won’t make them feel secure enough
  • it’s harder to create stable temperature and there could be some heatloss

In general, Weims don’t like being confined to one place for a long time. Their nerves and energy make them particularly skilled at digging, and they can easily escape a floorless kennel. Similarly, they’re prone to biting their kennels in an attempt to break out. For this reason, you’ll want to ensure your kennel is made of a sturdy material.

Besides being expert diggers, Weims are also expert jumpers, and they’ll try to jump over the highest of fences. In order to keep them safe and prevent escape, you’ll want to look into kennels with enclosed tops.

Make sure to put the pen somewhere dry, shadowed and protected from wind. Only you know the weather conditions where you live, so adjust the placement accordingly.

Nelly’s Kennel

In this post I’ve included photos of the outdoor pen that Nelly sleeps in. The roof and walls are made from reinforced sheet metal, the flooring from impregnated floor boards on top of reinforced sheet metal. Everything is secured by bolts, the bars are sturdy, so she can’t escape easily!

Nelly’s kennel

One thing I find completely handy is the turning bowl holder. You can spin it and fill the bowls from the outside without having to go in or have your pooch’s nose in there while you do it.

The kennel itself is made from sturdy wood and is split in two parts – the “bedroom” and the “hall”. The roof can be opened for easier cleaning. The kennel is heated to about 60F (15°C), so she can spend the night there comfortably when the weather starts to get colder in autumn. If the temperatures outside are freezing, Nelly sleeps in her bed in the house.

To further isolate Nelly from the cold, the kennel doesn’t sit straight on the ground and we use good quality wheat straw, changed once every week or two.

How Do I Train A Dog For An Outdoor Kennel?

The sooner you start kennel training your dog, the better. Ideally, you’ll start when your dog is a puppy, giving him plenty of time to learn. You’ll also want to practice on warm, sunny days so that the weather doesn’t distract him.

Inner kennel vestibule

Many people are proponents of letting your Weim cry it out; if done enough times, this method can work, but it’s a problem for two reasons. First, some people have trouble following through and let their Weim out early, which can cause a Weim to think, “If I cry, they’ll let me out!” Second, some dogs will continue crying for hours, which will only increase their anxiety.

Another method for kennel training involves tossing treats into the kennel and praising your pup when he goes inside. Like the first method, this training can work with time. However, it requires a lot of treats, which isn’t the best for a dog’s health.

A final training method involves placing your dog’s favorite toys inside his kennel and closing it while he’s outside. This will make him want to go inside the crate. Next, open the door and let him explore. Eventually, he’ll start going into the kennel by himself.

When we were training Nelly to get used to her kennel, my brother-in-law used toys, treats and his own presence in the pen as she slept during the day. Eventually, she figured it out and now goes to sleep in the kennel at night. She was also trained to go inside when the front gate is open and a car comes through.

Separation Anxiety

It’s not uncommon for your Weimaraner to suffer from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety has a variety of causes, including genetics, improper training, and his care and concern for you. When your Weim isn’t around you, he might worry for your safety, causing him to bark, tear up his toys, or even have accidents.

In order to combat separation anxiety, you’ll want to ensure your pooch gets plenty of exercise. A physically exhausted Weim is a less-stressed Weim, meaning he’s less likely to show signs of anxiety. You’ll also want to continue crate or kennel training him even when you’re at home. By continuing this training, you’re showing him that the kennel is nothing to fear, and he might even associate it with you when you’re away.

In the event that you have to leave your Weim home alone, don’t make a big scene before leaving. Simply gather your stuff, walk outside, and lock the door. If you leave him with a peanut-butter filled Kong so that he’s distracted, chances are he won’t notice you left, which means he won’t have time to worry.

In Summary

While certain Weimaraners can live outdoors, they’re the exception, not the rule. If it’s wet, cold, or too hot, it’s advisable to keep your Weim indoors. A possible option is to have a kennel outside and a crate inside, thus giving your Weim the option to sleep and play in either place. And if you decide to leave your Weim outdoors for long periods of time, always make sure they have water and proper shade or winter protection—as much as they love being outdoors, sometimes the best place to be is inside with their beloved human.


Resources:

Weimaraner (History – Breeding – Training) – ISBN 978-80-204-4033-4
PetMD



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