Mama’s House Vintage, based in Janesville, creates specialized dog cages that double as decoration
Every dog deserves a good home. For Madeline Wilson, owner of Mama’s House Vintage in Janesville, it has a double meaning.
Wilson makes specialized dog crates that double as decorations, helping to make the “home” even more welcoming for pets and their owners.
In recent years, many have discovered the comfort of canine companionship. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 23 million American households added a pet to the family during the pandemic. The American Pet Products Association reported that 70% of US households owned a pet in 2020, an all-time high. Many have taken in “pandemic puppies” and, with a little help from people like Wilson, owners have gotten creative with making room in the home for their new additions.
The inspiration for Wilson’s house crates came not so much from the recent increase in pet ownership, but from an idea her husband had had.
“My husband approached me saying he wanted to build something for my furniture business,” says Wilson. “He had been researching the things that small carpentry companies make, and it turns out that several were making crates and dog kennels. It was a unique idea and not something that many people did.
Originally, Mama’s House Vintage specialized in upcycled furniture with a worn, rustic look, found in flea markets. But due to the high demand for custom dog crates, Mama’s House Vintage now makes more items for dogs than for humans.
Crates are designed to be used as tables or counters and some include built-in shelves to hold decorations or dog accessories. Wilson collaborated with a client, Linda Nunley, on a custom creation.
“We have our entertainment center and kids’ play system attached to this room,” Nunley says. The crate is used for the goldendoodle Bacon service dog “when we know we’ll be away longer during the day,” she says.
Design meets function in Wilson Cases. Many dogs are crate trained when left home alone. “Bacon tends to be a counter-surfer and tries to trash himself,” Nunley says, adding that she had Wilson make the custom crate roughly the same size as the kennel the dog is in. was used to.
“Our crate was specially designed for our cane corso puppy, Xena, who adores her,” says JennieLynn Rude, another Wilson customer. “It’s his safe space. We trained her to go to her room and she happily trots towards her crate when asked. There is a large comfortable bed, blankets and all the toys a pup could want.
Quick tip for crate training
Contrary to popular belief, many dogs don’t instinctively feel comfortable in crates, says Carla Dusel, operations and behavior consultant for Central Bark, a franchise originally founded in Milwaukee.
“Helping dogs feel comfortable in confinement can be a big undertaking, but it’s an important life skill to start developing in dogs of all ages. If we start at home, we can begin to build a powerful reinforcement story that can help our dogs feel more comfortable in other situations. [like the vet clinic]where containment may be necessary for their health and safety.
To train your dog to accept and even love his crate, Dusel suggests helping him associate his crate with good things. “Try pairing your dog’s crate with daily meals, enrichment toys that can be filled with food, puzzle toys, or long-term chews like bully sticks or beef bones,” she says.
Michelle Mastro is a freelance home and lifestyle writer.
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