One of the most important aspects of Rancho Relaxo is making a place for the dogs. We created several yards, a kennel room inside the house and an outside kennel building to make our dogs safe and comfortable.
We set up four yards in the back and one side of the house plus another yard out front. Each of the back and side yards can be closed off or opened up depending on what the dogs are doing. The yard out front is used mostly for special occasions.
The end of the house farthest from our driveway is off our master bedroom nook. This yard is covered in artificial turf.
Behind the yard shown above left is our kennel building and an adjacent yard. This yard is a mixture of different kinds of grass.
Our next yard is between the kennel yard and the house. Dogs in this yard have access to the house through our sunroom.
On the opposite side of the sunroom is our fourth yard up by the house. This yard can be reached by the dogs either through the sunroom or from our kennel room which is the room farthest to the left in this picture. The white door provides access to this room.
The pictures below show the dogs enjoying the yards. All these places working together provide a wonderful place for them especially when we open everything up so that they can all play and be together. That happens almost every day at least once.
Dog Yard 1 also serves as our yard for puppies when we have a litter. We section of part of this yard with exercise pens to give puppies a chance to be outside. We cover most of the puppy area with a canopy for shade and protection from the many hawks and owls in the neighborhood.
When we had the door and deck added on to the master bedroom nook we had our contractor build a ramp down to the ground rather than stairs. This ramp allows for adults and puppies to go from the nook down to the yard and back. This ramp has been redesigned. New photos of the new ramp and yard are included below.
Because AKC now requires that basset hounds to be shown on a ramp I made one for our yard. It's constructed from redwood, exterior plywood and a lot of water proofing. I put some handles on it so that we can easily move it from yard to yard.
When the puppies get old enough we use the ramp for stacking practice. Here Mary Lukins is working with Pixie the day she and Ron took her home.
The ramp was in the boy's yard when Caicos came so that I could work with him. I also hung a mirror on the fence to see what he looked like. Several times we caught him admiring himself in the mirror.
In 2016 we asked our contractor to reconfigure the ramp off of our master bedroom to the yard. We wanted a much more gentile slope than what we had. The price of Trex and similar decking materials had risen far beyond our budget so we had the work done with regular lumber. This new ramp is already making a big difference for us and the dogs. We're sure it will also be beneficial to puppies.
New ramp off of master bedroom deck.