If you’re a dog owner and caravanner you’ll be well aware that your dog has to have some kind of restraint or on a lead at all times. So you might have considered a dog enclosure at some point.
My dog especially loves sitting outside in the sun having a good snooze or just watching the world go by. For years we’ve used the traditional ‘screw in’ stake and lead.
It does exactly what it’s meant to do and keeps her in a certain area and she can’t wander off.
If you’re like me and have used a traditional ‘screw in’ stake and lead – you’ll know what an absolute pain they can be!
No sooner have I sat down, and I’m up again to untangle her from a chair or table leg – or she’ll lunge to say hello to passersby and near choke herself.
So at the end of last season, I set about researching some dog enclosure ideas. I’ve come up with some great ideas for you to try this year if you’re also fed up with your current setup.
Dog Enclosures: What To Consider
First things first, you need to have a clear idea of what you want from your dog enclosure. What features do you need? What are you using it for? An area for the dog to lie down? An area for exercise? For the toilet?
The last thing you want is your dog (and you) to be stressed out on your next trip – or worse your pooch escaping for the day.
Create Enough Space:
Make sure that the enclosure you choose has the right amount of space according to your dog’s size. A dog with a larger build will obviously need more space to feel comfortable.
If your dog feels cramped or stressed it may become destructive or anxious, which creates an even worse situation for all involved. In order to avoid these issues, be sure to choose an enclosure that allows your dog enough space.
Make Sure it’s Safe:
Safety, of course, is an important factor when setting up your dog’s enclosure. Make sure to not use ropes because they can cause dogs’ legs to get tangled, leading them to risk injury.
Always ensure to have some shade for them and a space to put down water and treats.
Is it High Enough?
Although my dog hardly does – she could easily clear a 6-foot fence if she took the notion – so make sure your set-up is high enough so that they can’t escape!
Try to go for an enclosure that allows for easy access to and from your caravan and out to the car etc.
You want your enclosure to be portable – it should be easy to fold up and store and lightweight enough for when you are towing.
Keeping Your Dog Happy in an Enclosure
Your enclosure should of course keep your dog happy! Perhaps think about a set-up that has mesh, or a window so they can have a good nose at what’s going on! If it has flooring in it can also be useful to stop them from digging and cleaning up the mess.
It is important to remember that even though your dog is in a fenced-in area, they are still just as capable of getting bored and frustrated as they would be if they were left alone.
Make sure to make the most of their time in the enclosure by providing them with toys, plenty of treats and other fun things to do.
This will help keep your dog entertained and happy while they are in their enclosure and will also help to keep them from trying to escape!
Put their favourite dog bed down along with some treats, and water and make sure they have plenty of shade.
Some other things you can do to help your dog adjust to their new enclosure include:
– Having a familiar blanket for them to lie on. This will help them feel more comfortable and at ease in their new set-up.
– Putting them out and feeding them at the same time each day, this consistency helps your dog get used to their new routine and become accustomed to their surroundings.
Dog Enclosure Ideas:
There are several options for keeping your dog safe and secure when you’re out and about.
1. Make Your Own Caravan Dog Enclosure
If you’re a bit handy you can have a go at constructing your own temporary enclosure! You’ll need some wooden poles – perhaps some broom handles and some strong netting to attach.
Simply bang the poles in where you need them and you can use a staple gun to attach the netting – voila!
This method allows you to create variable-sized enclosures depending on the space your dog needs and how much space is available. The netting also lets your dog see what’s going on out there, which can make them feel less contained.
A DIY fence allows you to create a custom-sized enclosure for your pitch particular pitch and what your dog needs at that time. The netting will allow your dog to be able to have a good nosey around helping them feel less stressed.
While this will give you a cheaper dog enclosure, it might prove to be a bit heavy and cumbersome to travel around with.
2. Whelping Crate
I saw these recently on some seasonal pitches in Wales! I thought they were purpose-made fences but they are actually used for whelping.
They look really neat and tidy at the front of the van and are a really great solution to keep your dog safely enclosed. Just make sure that the fence is sturdy, lightweight and easy to pack away.
There are quite a few on the market but we really liked the look of this one as it’s lightweight, has a wide entry/exit point and looks really good.
If your dog is tempted to slip away under the caravan, slide on the awning skirt and peg it down for peace of mind.
You just need to make sure the space you’ve created is suitable for your dog by allowing him to be able to see the outside so he doesn’t feel imprisoned and has plenty of space to move and settle down in.
This one is a 16-panel version that is really popular on the forums, and I’ve also seen this when we’ve been out touring:
The stakes can be driven into the ground on grass pitches and comes in two heights: 60cm and 100cm depending on your dog’s height. It takes around 15 mins to set up and each pack comes with its own gate making this an excellent set-up for your dog.
UNDERDOG Extra Heavy Duty Puppy Play Pen 16 Panel 80x100cm
- Gives a large, secure area – you can also connect more together
- Easy to set up with no tools required
- Perfect for indoor / outdoor setup
- Can be set up as square, rectangle or octagonal layout
3. Use an Outdoor Playpen
Although they are widely used for children, your dog will enjoy them as well! A portable playpen is a low-cost and simple-to-assemble enclosure.
These can be a great option in the summer months. They’re lightweight, cheap, quick to set up and can be folded away in a flash. They’re a great way to protect your dog from the sun and keep them cool, especially in the heat of summer.
A playpen will give your smaller dog enough space to move about and has high enough panels to prevent them from escaping.
Amazon Basics Portable Soft Pet Playpen, 114 cm, Grey
- 114 cm, 8-sided soft pet playpen for travel, indoor or outdoor use
- Ideal for small dogs and cats
- Easily collapses down for storage
- Enclosed mesh top and windows with oxford canvas walls and floor
- Reinforced corners and seams
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As it’s self-contained you won’t need to worry about them escaping under the van, which is a bonus!
You can quickly disassemble the playpen and easily store it in your caravan or car without taking up too much space when you’re done.
I wouldn’t recommend leaving your dog in a smaller enclosure like this for too long though, as he/she may become very stressed due to restricted space.
4. Traditional Dog Crates
Again best suited to smaller dogs – dog crates allow your dog to have their own ‘den’ where they can go and chill out in private. It’s also a good place for them to go if you need to leave them alone for any reason.
If you have an escape artist Houdini on your hands then make sure you buy the correct sized crate for him/her!
A good idea would be to pick a double-door folding metal dog crate. It’s sturdy, and durable and comes with double doors so they can enter and exit easily.
The doors also lock closed which means you don’t need to worry about them getting out when you’re not looking. It also folds flat when not in use.
Like the playpen, I wouldn’t want to leave a dog in a crate for a prolonged length as they’ll need to stretch their legs.
All Pet Solutions Dog Crate Home or Travel Folding Metal Crate
- Great for small, medium sized dogs
- Portable and an ideal to keep at home or take with you whilst traveling
- Opens front and at the side – makes it easy for different placements in your home
- Collapsible crate – easily folds up – great for when you’re short on storage space and perfect for traveling
A windbreak is one of the cheapest and easy-to-use solutions for an enclosure when caravanning with your dog.
Investing in a windbreak for caravanning can be a great idea depending on your dog. Their versatile design allows you to set them up however you need, depending on the space available.
The high walls of these structures prevent dogs from climbing over them and are very safe as well.
Here are some of the best ones I found which would work best for dogs:
This is a great option for the money. It’s easy to set up, folds flat and is made from heavy-duty fabric that will last you for years. It doesn’t use any rope so will prevent any paws from getting tangled up.
It’s also very versatile and can be used for different sizes of dogs, depending on how many panels you choose to use. Their ‘Vision Top’ Windbreak would be a good pick so your dog can still see what’s going on outside.
You can even buy models with gates and draught skirts to suit the model and size of your caravan. This product has an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 on Amazon which I think says a lot about it!
You check out the Jormax range Here
This is a great option if you need a little bit of extra height as it’s slightly taller than the Jormax. It is a little more expensive, but it’ll last you for many years.
It’s made from a lightweight, yet sturdy material and is really easy to set up. Like the Jormax, the Cornish doesn’t use any ropes but instead uses tension bars to allow the windbreak to stay upright.
You also have the option to add a gate as with Jormax.
You can check out the Cornish range Here
Kampa Rally Windbreak
This is another great option for a caravan windbreak and is slightly cheaper than the previous two. The Kampa brand is a well-known a reliable brand and this enclosure windbreak makes for a great dog enclosure.
Coming with a standard 4ft height it looks really neat outside the van. Reviewers commented favourably on the sturdiness of the windbreak as it uses aluminium bracing bars.
There is a bit of a learning curve to putting this up but like most things caravan related – once you’ve done it a couple of times it’s easy and it’s relatively lightweight.
It does come with a rain cover and has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Kampa Aluminium Framed Series 2 Pro Windbreak
- Pro Windbreak Door Ready
- Adjustable aluminium support poles
- No need for guy lines
- Crystal Clear horizontal panel
7. Use Your Own Awning?
Now, we have a pretty big awning and we have tried to let our dog relax in it to later find she has managed to escape under the door! Whether you can use your awning will be down to how well you can trust your dog. Its also worth bearing in mind how bloody hot an awning can get so never ever leave them in there for long periods – even if
So hopefully now you have some ideas to keep your dog safe and secure and happy when you’re next at the caravan.
The best dog enclosure is going to depend on your dog’s breed, temperament, ‘escape artistry’ and of course expense. But I hope I’ve helped in some way if you’re looking for an alternative solution to the old stake and lead!