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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those who are living in snow country, especially those with house dogs, do you use tie outs for airing or do you have fenced yards? And how do you keep the area clear of snow and deal with cleanup? When the snow gets deep, do you snow blow, or shovel the area for them? I know it’s a daily chore for me. Just wondering what everyone else does?

When I moved back to Northern MI three years ago into a new house, instead of fencing the yard, I built a small 30ft x 20ft pea-gravel area, along the back of the garage, where I use a tie-out setup for airing. It’s convenient out the attached garage door, and simple, especially since our two dogs live in the house and are outside only for training and airing.

But now, I’m adding a third dog to the family and wondering if there might be better options for airing instead of a tie-out.

The only problem I’m having is in the winter and snow removal and preventing snow drifting into the airing area. Each day we get system or lake effect snows. I put up a snow fence this year and it helps a little, but I still get significant snow in the airing area from it blowing off the eaves of the roof leaving sizeable drifts to clear. Other than covering a large outdoor area, not sure their are many options.

For those living in snow country with house dogs, do you tie them out, or do you let them out into a fenced area? And what do you do for clearing snow and cleanup? Is it a daily challenge for you as well? Thanks.
 

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Now I don't want to break my luck this year by speaking too soon as we have little snow in Watofrd Ont:) YET!
I don't ever tie out my dogs or leave them unattended outside loose in the fenced yard. That is just me. I like to be out w/ them.

If there is a lot of snow I use the snow blower and create and an area for them or snow blow a Double T in the snow. I do small amount of training on my drive which is dirt, or the lawn area and use sand if there is an ice issue on the drive. You must be up north Mi UP or near Grand Rapids where there has been the lake effect.

It is has blown elsewhere this year.:)

Good luck
 

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With four dogs it can be quite a chore. Many years ago, the problem was solved by putting a small,fenced in area directly out of what became the mud room. With three well placed spotlights on the second story, it's like daytime.

The only snow removal I do is near the entrance. When the dogs air, they are not left alone and I "pickup" right after every airing......no matter how late, cold or inconvenient the weather may be.

In the warmer months when paws are dirty, they walk around in the mud room and I follow with a mop full of bleach water until no more muddy prints are left. They then cross over a thick rug (which absorbs most of the water on their paws) and re-enter the house. It's a "dirty job" simplified (and workable).

When spring comes the yard has no "surprises", the grass grows back quickly and mud is not much of an issue......but still the yard is ALWAYS picked up immediately.

It has become so much of an easy habit, I hardly think about it.

edit: We have had as much as 15-20 inches of snow (but that is rare). Lake effect snow (deeper than that) would probably mean using a snow blower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You must be up north Mi UP or near Grand Rapids where there has been the lake effect.

It is has blown elsewhere this year.:)

Good luck
Thanks Mary Lynn. I'm actually north of Grand Rapids 75 miles. Lots of lake effect and wind.

With four dogs it can be quite a chore. Many years ago, the problem was solved by putting a small,fenced in area directly out of what became the mud room. With three well placed spotlights on the second story, it's like daytime.

The only snow removal I do is near the entrance. When the dogs air, they are not left alone and I "pickup" right after every airing......no matter how late, cold or inconvenient the weather may be.
Thanks Jim. My back door goes out the mud room into the attached garage, then out to the tie-out pea gravel area. I usually just stand in the garage while they're out or leave them a few minutes to get some things done in the house. But they're never out more than 5 minutes alone if that. Then it's inside to dry their paws when it's wet, then back into the house. I haven't been picking up after each event but might switch to that. Otherwise, I'm getting a frozen poop/gravel clump in the morning. Just came in from snow blowing the driveway and thought of something...I might try building up a snow base over the pea gravel area, sort of what's going on right now with my gravel driveway.
 

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A "snow base" is very effective. Between the dogs' movements (and mine), a layer of packed snow is easy to establish and works really well.....except when there is ice.

I'm positive the key to an effective, winter airing routine is the "quick clean-up" habit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A "snow base" is very effective. Between the dogs' movements (and mine), a layer of packed snow is easy to establish and works really well.....except when there is ice.

I'm positive the key to an effective, winter airing routine is the "quick clean-up" habit.
Jim - earlier you said you let them out into a small fenced area from your mud room. How large of area is fenced for your dogs and is it chain link, wood privacy, other? How high of fence? Wouldn't think a 4 ft fence would be an option, unless you watch them constantly.
 

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Only twice I the past 13 years have I had to clear snow for the dogs. Backyard is fenced and usually we get snow in small enough dumps that they pack it themselves. When I did have to make a space, it worked well for cleaning up after them. I a case like yours,, perhaps a temp fence might work around the pea rock and keep it blown clear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I wouldnt do snow removal just for the dogs but once the area gets some snow and starts getting a lttle stool build up I would get the snow blower out and blow the snow stools and all over the fence into the neighbors yard:p.
Now that wouldn't be neighborly:p. Besides, my nearest neighbor is a 1/4 mile away. My Ariens is good but not that good!
 

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With four dogs it can be quite a chore. Many years ago, the problem was solved by putting a small,fenced in area directly out of what became the mud room. With three well placed spotlights on the second story, it's like daytime.

The only snow removal I do is near the entrance. When the dogs air, they are not left alone and I "pickup" right after every airing......no matter how late, cold or inconvenient the weather may be.

In the warmer months when paws are dirty, they walk around in the mud room and I follow with a mop full of bleach water until no more muddy prints are left. They then cross over a thick rug (which absorbs most of the water on their paws) and re-enter the house. It's a "dirty job" simplified (and workable).

When spring comes the yard has no "surprises", the grass grows back quickly and mud is not much of an issue......but still the yard is ALWAYS picked up immediately.

It has become so much of an easy habit, I hardly think about it.

edit: We have had as much as 15-20 inches of snow (but that is rare). Lake effect snow (deeper than that) would probably mean using a snow blower.
Same here!
 

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I live Southwest of Grand Rapids. We get more than our fair share of snow, and I'm convinced that there aren't any obsticales from our place to Chicago for snow to stop drifting. We have underground fence for almost 1/2 an acre. I typically run the snowblower around our house, through the yard so the dog has a trail to check things out. I also create a square area for him to do his business. It is fun to watch a tootsie roll launch out of the snowthrower, just don't hit anything you don't want broken...
 

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I have a fairly decent sized fenced in yard. Dogs are let out for yard patrol and do their business off the deck door to the yard. The yard gets great sun exposure and will melt snow fairly quick if it's not a size able blanket so I like to run the snow blower around the yard in figure eight with cross paths plus a big circle around perimeter Its nice to do as the sun will melt the snow and the dogs can run without having to deal with the ice which will form on the snow making it very hard and slippery for them to comfortably do their business. They like to run the paths plus it doesn't take very long to do at all. I do it just like doing the driveway no big deal.
 

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"How large of area is fenced for your dogs and is it chain link, wood privacy, other? How high of fence? Wouldn't think a 4 ft fence would be an option, unless you watch them constantly."

I used inexpensive 48" green garden wire attached to metal stakes (driven into the ground). It is an oval which makes it easy for dogs to run a long way (35X40 feet with no corners) . When it was installed the fencing enclosed a much smaller fenced in asparagus patch. Later, I realized this tended to make the airing yard appear more like a never ending race track as they moved about.

There's only one reason for them to be in there and I DO watch them constantly. In ten years, I've had just one dog "go over". She only did that twice and the second time was very, very brief.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I live Southwest of Grand Rapids. We get more than our fair share of snow, and I'm convinced that there aren't any obsticales from our place to Chicago for snow to stop drifting.
I know what you mean about the drifting....never ending wind around here.
I used inexpensive 48" green garden wire attached to metal stakes (driven into the ground). It is an oval which makes it easy for dogs to run a long way (35X40 feet with no corners) . When it was installed the fencing enclosed a much smaller fenced in asparagus patch. Later, I realized this tended to make the airing yard appear more like a never ending race track as they moved about.

There's only one reason for them to be in there and I DO watch them constantly. In ten years, I've had just one dog "go over". She only did that twice and the second time was very, very brief.
Thanks Jim
 

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I have tie outs now. I use to let them roam for airing. I changed my mind when they were eating mice in the fields and had the joyous surprise in the house when they would toss them up on the carpet.
No more. I look at it and accept it now as another choir for me. No biggie for me. :)

Edit: With all the snow we had had here; it's not a problem, they love it and will dance around in it having a blast. :)

Edit one more time: Some think too much as a human. Just saying. :)
 

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My fence is a 6' picket privacy fence surrounding the entire yard approx 85 x 110 or so. I've plowed the yard with my truck and pushed it with a small Kuboda. I move snow for the dogs but have outdoor wood stove down back so I move a lot of wood in and dogs are ALLWAYS out when I'm loading stove or messin with wood. This years been great compared to last years weather with big big piles but dogs sure loved being able to move around the yard without slipin and crunchin on frozen snow.
 

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Oh boy! I am sure some of you will think I am lazy...

For the past 30+ years, I have trained the dogs to ring a small bell hanging on the door of the utility room to tell me they want to go out. If I don't hear it, it's funny to see the dirty looks I get when they come and find me and stare... ("I rang my bell!") The new pup sometimes adds her own soft "Rowyow," editorial comment.

Then, it's off to the utility room outside door and out they go with my encouraging,"Go dump." or "Go dump in the woods." They'll cross the 40-50' of lawn area and usually step into the edge of the cover. (I'm not about to say there aren't some random piles left in the grass, however.) I usually don't leave a young one unattended and generally watch until they're done. Then a call or 3-tweet on the whistle and back they come and on back inside. Like Jim B. there is a runner in the utility room that they spend some time on to let the snow thaw and any mud to get tracked off. If it is particularly messy, old terry cloth towels do just fine before they can come back into the "people" part of the house.

As long as the snow's there, clean-up is not an issue but if there's a thaw, I just walk around with a bucket and one of those PetSmart pick-um-up gizmo's. I take the bucket deeper into the woods and just dump it.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Oh boy! I am sure some of you will think I am lazy...

For the past 30+ years, I have trained the dogs to ring a small bell hanging on the door of the utility room to tell me they want to go out. If I don't hear it, it's funny to see the dirty looks I get when they come and find me and stare... ("I rang my bell!") The new pup sometimes adds her own soft "Rowyow," editorial comment. Mike
That's hilarious and something I've actually considered since our "out" door is on the far end of the house. You must be a student of Pavlov:)
 

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We use four foot no climb wire fencing here around the airing yard.
 

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I am very leery of using tie outs except if I am near by, what if an aggressive animal comes around. I bundle up and stay out with them. We have what is called "the poop trail" A half mile trail that I keep open, this is where the frozen tootsie rolls are placed. Of course some end up around the house, those are picked up when found.
A few years ago, I ended up with two puppies a couple of months apart, and of course it was a record year for snow fall. I felt so bad for the little girl, I am surprised she ever got house broke. That was the only year that I plowed the yard almost daily.
 
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