A nook with a cushy bed and a set of bowls is good. A grassy patch for running around is great. But what makes for the ultimate dog space? We asked none other than WHBC Architects, the masterminds behind Doghouse, a six-villa canine hotel on the outskirts of a nature preserve in Malaysia.
Yes, you read that right. This is not your average kennel. There are wide-open fields for group play sessions, open-air decks for “chill-out time,” and a Pet Taxi for pickups and drop-offs – and that’s just the beginning.
Given that WHBC Architects founders Wen Hsia Ang and B.C. Ang created this dream canine sanctuary – “the dogs look very happy to see us every time we visit,” they note – they had lots of advice to share on how we could do the same on a muuuuch smaller level. Here, their top three tips:
1. Make your dog’s outdoor area as comfortable as his indoor spot
Wen Hsia and B.C. started with a five-star foundation – “the dog hotel is on a durian farm, which is a natural, junglelike environment,” they tell us – but they still added a few features to ensure the dogs would be comfortable. Ceiling fans and mosquito netting in the villas keep the pups cool and pest-free. At home, why not set up a battery-operated fan on your deck on especially hot days? And if you hang a swath of mosquito netting – the kind typically made for beds – from the tree your dog loves to nap under, we wouldn’t hate it.
The Doghouse villas.
2. Give your dog a perch
Flat areas for playing are a must, but the architects also built platforms so the canine guests could “watch the world go by.” Wen Hsia and BC fashioned everything out of polished concrete sealed with an epoxy compound, which makes for seriously easy cleanup, but you could create a similar observation post with a sanded and sealed wood crate. If you’re feeling really extra, there’s also such thing as a premade dog lookout platform.
One of the open fields at Doghouse where the pups can play.
3. Think beyond standard dog toys
“We imagine dogs to be able to play with anything at all, especially when they are in natural environments,” say Wen Hsia and BC. Doghouse is made up of mostly grassy hills and winding paths, plus the lofted villas with their decks and private courtyards.
However, there is one feature that seems just for the fun of it: a doggie pool. For an extra fee, guests can have supervised play time in the water (followed by a bath and blow-dry, of course). Okay, most of us don’t have a large body of water nearby to reenact this activity. However, a dog wading pool you can plop anywhere would do the trick just fine.