HEALTH & CARE

How to Build A Dog Pen: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Dog pen for your dogs
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Many dog owners let their pets run in the backyard or in the house, but there are certain times when owners will need to pen their dogs. Young dogs such as puppies tend to chew anything that may fall along their paths, hence confining them is often a great idea. Furthermore, there are certain times that dog owners will need to travel and what better solution than confining their pets in a pen. A dog’s pen is his or her fortress, hence there are several guidelines that one should consider when designing a dog pen.

Whether you are buying a new outside pen, building one from scratch or reconstructing an old one, as a dog owner, you can be able to create a superior final product by following imperative tips and guidelines that have been developed through the experiences of other canine takers.

Things to consider when building a dog pen

Selecting a suitable location

Choosing an ideal location is usually the first and most important step when you are building a dog pen. The location is very important because it directly contributes to the overall design of the structure and also influences the choice of methods of construction and materials that will be used in the production of the final product. A dog pen that is going to be located far away from the house will unquestionably have different features when compared to a dog pen that is directly connected to the owner’s house or car garage.

Each location that a dog owner is going to choose will have its benefits and drawbacks hence will require a little bit of attention before the process of construction begins. For dog owners who are looking for viable ways of separating people from dog noises, dog odor and flies then placing the dog house several yards from the owner’s house is one of the reliable ways.

Choose location

The main disadvantage of placing the dog pen at a remote location is that it can be a little bit difficult to control unnecessary barking because the long distance trips not only makes the correction inconvenient but also time consuming. Furthermore, if you are going to require lights for both security and heating purposes, electrical service must be included in the final budget. The security lines are very important especially if you are going to make long trips from the house to the dog pen.

On the other hand, locating a dog pen in a close proximity has its proven benefits and disadvantages. When the construction is located closer to the house, the dog owner can be able to control nuisance barking by just using voice commands. In addition, pen clean-up is also going to be very easy since water sources can be easily accessed. All in all, it is highly advisable to always keep the dog house at a striking distance from safety and security issues.

Proper materials

Any run for an outside dog should be 12 feet or more in length and 48 inches long. This is mainly used as the standard measure and the reason these dimensions are used is to encourage dogs to defecate and urinate naturally at the far most end of the run which is usually the farthest location from the kennels door and the door of the house.

Furthermore, kennel run floors must be designed with a slope so that water may run off so as to avoid running puddles. A good kennel design should also include a dry well which is 48 inches wide and 3 foot deep at the far end and must be filled with stones that are 3 to 4 inches in diameter. A dry well is a place where wash water drains and collects and in the process odor is minimized while insects cannot get access to the residues in urine and feces.

Floors and walls

Concrete is usually the most used flooring material. There are other flooring materials such as gravel which is less expensive but picking up of feces on such floors is sometimes difficult and close to impossible. There are also other options such as wood and steel. All in all, despite the fact that the initial installation cost of concrete is usually a little bit higher, the result is usually a tougher and longer lasting floor. It is also important to note that with time the concrete is going to crack due to extremes in temperatures.

However by using reinforcement such as wire and rebar and high quality cement most of this can be controlled. Furthermore, you can also include a gravel under layer which will play a vital role in preventing the concrete floor from cracking.

Building dog-pen

Apart from concrete, there is also another flooring option that is preferred by some dog owners and breeders. Unlike concrete and steel which may cause worn pads, painful joints and slayed toes over a long period of time, sand stone’s irregular shapes plays a bigger role in assisting the dog develop strong jaws. But before placing the sand stones, you should first consider installing an ideal sand base for drainage purposes. You should also consider laying down landscape fabric so that you can be able to prevent weed growth.

Fencing options

Chain linking has always been the most preferred fencing option for both inside and outside dog pens. Unlike other fencing designs, chain linking is usually very simple to install, readi9ly available, very affordable, durable for a long duration of time and very efficient to use. In addition, welded wire that has a powdered coating is usually a preferred option because it is resistant to dog teeth and urine. But just like concrete the initial installation cost is a little bit extreme when compared to other fencing options.

However, the overall resistant to rust and wear makes chain linking a cost effective option. With that being said many dogs will spend close to 95 per cent of their lives training or waiting for an outside run and as such it is our duty as dog owners to make their living environment as clean and comfortable as we can. By observing all of the above suggestions, you are going to be able to provide your dog with a dog pen that he or she is going to be happy to call a home.

Dog pen fence

If your pet is a digger, then you are going to insert a 2 by 12 direct burial beneath the fence. Alternatively, you can bury the fence itself 1 foot under the soil. The methods discussed above are not fool proof, but they are always going to prevent your pet from escaping. To ensure maximum security, you can also screen off any of the sides that may be facing the sidewalks or streets by placing privacy slats on the fence. This is going to cut down on the overall stress and barking.

Planning for the dog house and shading

Any dog that is to spend his or her day outside requires adequate shading from weather elements. A dog pen is not usually a mandatory requirement but if you are going to build one, you should at least ensure that you have installed a windbreak and a small roof. Despite the fact that dogs may withstand a certain level of cold, excess rains and winds can be harmful and detrimental to your pet’s health. You can achieve this by installing an elevated coat which will play a huge role in searing the hot floor or prevent your pets from freezing.

It is also important to provide another shaded area for the dog apart from the dog pen. When installing the dog house, you should avoid placing it in a corner. This is a very common DIY mistakes because most dogs will use the pen’s roof as a launching pad to jump over. Instead of placing it in a corner, you should consider placing it a few meters from the corner.

DIY outdoor dog pen

If the corner is the only available place, then you should at least make the fence a little bit higher so as to prevent jump outs.

The building process: things that you will need

  • Chain link fencing
  • Tape measure
  • Chicken wire
  • Wood stakes- 2 by 4 inches
  • Wire cutters
  • Screw gun
  • Door Hinges
  • Gate
  • Hinge Assembly
  • Wood screws
  • 6 wooden posts each measuring 2 inches wide

Instructions

The first step when designing a homemade dog pen is to measure and mark the desired area where you have selected to install the pen. Begin by marking the spots that are designated for the corners by using stakes together with the designated spot for the gate. Before you begin construction, you should use your pet’s size together with the amount of money that you will be willing to spend as a guide for the pen size.

Furthermore, the amount of time that the pet will be spending in kennel also has an impact on the size. If you are planning to confine your pet to the kennel during night hours only or for sleeping purposes, then you are not going to need a large dog pen. Another important tip that might save you lots of cash is to always build a pen that is not larger than necessary.

Dog size chart

After measuring and marking the desired spots, the subsequent step involves the digging of holes. These holes should be about 2 feet deep and about 3 inches by 3 inches in diameter for each of the corners. Furthermore, you should also dig two additional holes for the kennel’s gate.

For the second process, you are supposed to dig a total of six holes. In the next step, you are required to pour cement into the holes. When preparing the cement, you are required to mix the cement powder with water by following the instructions on the cement bag. Cement mixture bags can be purchased at hardware stores and home centers.

In the fourth step, you are required to install the wooden fence posts into the corner holes while the cement mixture is still wet. Pre-cut wooden posts can be purchased at wood supply stores, hardware stores and home centers at affordable rates. The pre-cut wooden posts are going to be used for the dog pen corners. Before selecting the wooden posts, ensure that the height of the post matches the height of the desired dog pen. Constructing a dog pen for a small sized dog usually demands a slightly lower kennel compared to that of a large dog or a pet that likes to jump.

Dog pen homemade

Once you have successfully installed the wooden fence posts into the corner holes, you will now lay the chicken wire along the perimeter of the dog pen. While laying the chicken wire, you can use bricks to hold the chicken wire in place. This is very important because it is going to prevent your pet from digging underneath the fence.

After you have laid the chicken wire, you will then cut the chain link fence according to the appropriate length on each of the sides of the dog pen. While cutting, you should at least leave an extra 6-8 inches to spare. Run each of the chain link pieces from post to post.

Finally, you should tie the chain link to the post by using fence ties and pliers. This can be achieved by twisting the ends of the fence together. While installing the chain link, it is very important to ensure that you have left an opening for the gate on the side that you would have chosen.

Screw the two hinge assemblies on one of the gatepost of the dog pen. Begin by measuring the spot where the hinges will be hanging, then match them with the hinge locations on the pen’s gate. After you have matched the hinge assemblies to the suitable hinge assemblies, you should then attach the hinge assemblies into the exact locations by using a screw gun. You can always employ the use of screw guns to hold the hinge assembly in its rightful place.

Hang now the gate on the post hinges, by sliding the gate hinges on top of the hinge assembly that has been mounted on the pen’s gatepost. The most suitable gate is a full-length gate because it is going to prevent the dog from crawling under it.

Dog pen with house

In the ninth step, you will now affix a latch on the gate by using a matching latch attachment on the gatepost. Finally, you should lay a tarp on one of the rear end corners of the kennel for shade. Always ensure that the dog is provided with a continuous supply of fresh and clean drinking water.

As you can see, with a little bit of skill and will and with the right instructions, a dog pen can be built in just one weekend. Even more, it can be a fun DIY project for the entire family!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Natalie Barton

    We have almost a dozen small, energetic dogs in the family at this point. While we have been thinking of making a dog pen, that wasn’t necessarily a very solid plan, DIY-ing a structure that should withstand the test of time. With this guide, the vague ideas we have can now be channeled onto an actual, working plan! This is probably what would occupy us for the next few weeks, thanks to this!

    • You’re more than welcome, Natalie. Having almost a dozen dogs is surely something worthwhile. A lot of responsibility, but lots of fun and love I’m sure!

  • Bruce Morgan

    I was searching for the guide like this with all needed information. I am going to build a wooden pen, can I paint it? What kind of paint it’s better to use? Thanks.

    • There are numerous veterinarian-approved paints available in both pet supply stores and hardware shops. These paints are safe and non-toxic for dogs, especially when they start chewing some bits of the wooden pen.

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