Proper shelter is a basic necessity for any animal. If your dog spends any time outside you are required BY LAW to provide proper shelter. Proper shelter, simply put, is a doghouse.
The doghouse must be a sturdy structure and provide adequate protection from the weather. It must keep the rain, snow and other elements out (including the hot sun during the summer months) while providing physical comfort to the animal.
It should be raised off the ground about six to eight inches with blocks or bricks to prevent moisture or cold (depending on the season) from coming up through the bottom of the doghouse.
It must be totally enclosed except for the front. The front should have an opening large enough for the dog to fit through comfortably, yet, small enough to keep the elements out. A plastic covering on the opening may help, but some dogs take a long time getting use to it and might not use the shelter at all. Monitor your dogs’ actions, and if it doesn’t use the shelter with the plastic on it, remove the plastic.
The positioning of your pet’s shelter is also very important. It should not face a Northeast wind (winter time), as this is a very bitter wind. This is also the direction of the worst type of snowstorm, therefore, not protecting your pet.
If you put blankets or rugs in your pet’s doghouse, check them on a daily basis. When it rains, the blankets or rugs may get wet from your dogs body. Blankets and rugs hold in dampness and moisture. Even though it is dry outside, the blankets and rugs may remain wet and cause your pet much discomfort. This could be one reason your dog is not using its’ shelter.
Lastly, check the entire structure on a routine basis. Check for nails or other sharp objects that may cause harm to your pet. Check to make sure the wood is not rotting and that the structure is still sturdy.