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Dog House Buyer's Guide

Finding the Best Deal on a Dog House

As you're no doubt aware, online shopping offers great selection and an easy way to compare prices on products. With gas prices being as high as they are, who needs to be driving around trying the find the best deal?  Not me.

This page provides some tips for finding the best price online for a dog house. But before embarking on this mission, make sure you've narrowed down your dog house choice to one or two products. If you need some help in this department, check out these guidelines for selecting a dog house. Once you're thoroughly educated, you might want to peruse the offerings in the Dog house sampler.

Ok, onto the good stuff. How much can you potentially save on a dog house by doing your homework? Well, you might be surprised. For a dog house in the $150 range, it's not uncommon for prices to vary by as much as $30 to $40 from the low to high end.

Don't believe it? Well, go to Froogle and search for "Tuff-n-rugged" (a popular plastic dog house) and check out the resulting prices. Just make sure you take shipping charges into consideration because some of the listed prices include shipping and some don't. Once you've "normalized" the prices, I think you'll find that some vendors offer much better deals than others.

One quick note: bargain hunting is most effective when you're looking for a popular model of dog house that is mass produced and available via multiple vendors. If you go to the house sampler page, most of the houses in the first five groupings fit this profile. (houses under $350, more or less). For the more expensive, custom-built houses, comparison shopping is more difficult because fewer vendors carry the product. For some houses, the only company selling it is the same one that built it.

Tips for Finding the Best Price on a Dog House

Tip One - compare the price comparison engines

A number of online price comparison engines are available to help you track down the best deal on products. Froogle (from Google) was mentioned above. It is one of the more comprehensive because it doesn't charge merchants for inclusion in their listings.

Some of the other popular price comparison sites are Yahoo!ShoppingPriceGrabber, Dealtime/, and BizRate/Shopzilla.

PriceGrabber has a nice feature in which you can enter your zip code and get a bottom line price that includes shipping and taxes. However, the completeness of their listings for some dog house models leaves something to be desired.

One drawback that I've come across with the comparison engines is that they don't always adequately take dog house sizes into consideration. For example, if you do a search for "Extreme Outback dog house" in Froogle, one of the links provides a price comparison from four different vendors. The only problem is that one you bring up the page, the houses range in size from small to large. So you may end up with an apples to oranges comparison if you're not careful.

Something else to keep in mind with the price comparison services is that some (most?) allow stores to bid for enhanced placement in the results and pay on a per-click basis. This means the results are not necessarily ordered by price. Not that big of an issue but something to be aware of...

Tip Two - Discount coupons

There is an almost overwhelming number of sites offering discount coupons for every product imaginable, including dog houses and related accessories. The trick is knowing which sites are worthwhile and which are a waste of your time.

Some of the ones that I recommend trying are: All Online Coupons, Coupon Craze, OnlyCoupons, and Wow-Coupons. You could also do a Google search for "discount coupons dog houses" and see what comes up at the top of the results. Usually, the first 3-4 search results are relevant and worthwhile.

I did a quick check when writing this page and found that Coupon Craze was offering several discount coupons for One of these was for 20% off on several popular models. That's not too shabby.

One of my pet peeves (pun intended) is that the vast majority of the discount coupon sites lack a search tool. It would be nice if you could just enter "dog house" in a search box and get results targeted to that query. Alas, that's not the case. Instead, many sites just provide a link to a Pets section and from there you have to browse for coupons. This works but the process is not as efficient as it could be.

Many of the discount coupon listings don't specifically mention dog houses. More commonly, they will provide the name of the store and something like "20% off $75 purchase". So, you have to know which stores carry dog houses for this info to be of any use. To help you out, here is a list of stores - that often show up in the discount coupon offerings - that do carry dog houses and/or dog containment systems:

Of this list, the stores that offer the largest selection of dog houses are, Petco, and PETsMART.

Tip Three - eBay it

You can save a considerable chunk of change by buying a dog house through eBay. Being the largest online auction service, it carries a fairly impressive selection of dog houses and other dog stuff. But... one of the challenges is finding a dog house that suits you. If you go to the eBay search page and do a generic search on "dog house", you'll get well over 1000 results, including dog beds, dog carriers, and dog tents -- in addition to actual dog houses. Lots of junk to wade through.

Here's a suggested plan of attack for winnowing down the results using eBay's overly "generous" search engine.

Do a search on "dog houses" with the quotes around the phrase. This will cut the number of results in half (I got 470). But there will still be lots of extraneous stuff in the results. To exclude things like soft crates, miniature Snoopy dog house models, pet beds, and mats, prefix these terms with a minus sign in the search box. Your query will then look something like this:

dog house" -"pet bed" -snoopy -mat -"soft crate"

If you perform the search again, the number of results will be further reduced but probably still not precise enough.

So, click on the Advanced Search link and enter a value for the Min price. The idea here is to exclude things like miniature ceramic dog houses and books on house training a dog. Pick a value that you think makes sense for what dog houses might sell for on the low end at auction.

I picked a Min price of $40 and this time got only 50 results. And most of them were actually dog houses. If you click on the Sort->lowest price first, the listings will be reordered with the cheapest dog house at the top. It should be a simple matter at this point to browse through the results and make a bid if you find a house that interests you. Note that eBay requires that you register in order to place a bid. Fortunately, it's a fairly simple and fast process.

Of course, if you know the exact brand and model, you can save lots of searching time by entering that info directly in the search box.

If you've never used eBay, they provide a very comprehensive online Learning Center where you can learn all about buying, selling, not getting ripped off, etc.


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