Top 5 DIY Dog Kennel and Dog Run Plans

October 15, 2022 / Dog DIY / By: Melanie Evans

A Dachshund sitting on a homemade outdoor kennel on artificial lawn

Dogs, like humans, benefit from exercise to maintain good health throughout their life, avoiding issues such as stiffness, lethargy, weight gain, and the health concerns that come with it.

However, adequate exercise isn't simply important for dogs' physical well-being. Dogs, too, want, and seriously benefit from, the mental stimulation that exercise provides.

In reaction to this unmet demand, dogs who don't get enough exercise may engage in destructive activity (such as digging or gnawing), become hyperactive, or bark excessively.

While most pet parents are aware of this, they frequently struggle to meet their dogs' exercise needs. For busy families or in areas prone to bouts of bad weather, daily walks or excursions to the dog park might be a struggle.

Other alternatives can be problematic too. It can be too expensive to fence a full property or hire a daily dog walker. Even letting the dog out in a gated backyard comes with its own set of dangers.

What happens if the dog eats the flowers? Or if he scales the fence? Or leave dark urine stains all around the yard that ruin the lawn?

There is, however, a remedy. You can build a dog run for your pet, which will provide a safe environment for him to go about in, while also safeguarding your yard and your own peace of mind.

What is a Dog Run Used For and Benefits of Building One

Building even a simple dog run will call for an investment in time, money and your own labor, so what are the benefits of doing so, especially if the dog run will also take up a part of your outside living space? A dog run is similar to an outdoor dog kennel but much roomier leaving space for your pupper to roam, run and expand energy.

For most pet parents - and their pups - this project, and its results - offers lots of benefits or both parties, including all the following:

Creates a Safe, Enclosed Space to Run and Play

If you don't have a fenced backyard, your dog won't be able to play safely. With an enclosed dog run area, your pup will not be bothered by other dogs or children (or will not bother them) and will be safe from risks such as fast moving cars.

A dog run can also be a way to allow your pup to enjoy the yard without spoiling the fun of others who share his yard. Your yard is no doubt 'home' to a variety of residents, including dogs, children, and visitors. And while you no doubt want to let your dog be as much of the part of the action as possible, there are advantages in keeping him separate.

For example, your pup may be too lively for your brother's toddler child to handle, and left to roam freely he may end up knocking her over by accident. Or some guests may be intimidated by your well-intentioned size or bark, or your pup hasn't yet learned not to jump up on guests.

Your dog will benefit from a separate, contained area in any of these scenarios, so he may enjoy the backyard his way without getting into trouble. And so can you, especially when it comes to those summer barbecues!

Prevents Lawn Destruction and Other Landscaping Disasters

Dogs can be very tough on lawns. Even if they aren't actively digging it up, the acid in their urine can accumulate and seep into the soil, resulting in unattractive brown patches on the lawn, undoing all of your hard work on the gardening front.

By designating a distinct area for a dog run, you can limit where your pup can relieve himself while still maintaining the pristine appearance of the rest of the landscaping.

A long haired Dachshund sitting in a fenced landscaped garden

Keep Escape Artist Dogs Safer

A normal backyard fence is sometimes insufficient to keep a dog from wandering the neighborhood. A dog who actively tries to escape may be able to jump it, resulting in not only their successful escape and a frantic pup hunt for you, but possible injury to themselves in the process.

A fully enclosed dog run with a roof is ideal for energetic dogs who you don't want to risk jumping over the fence and escaping the safety of the yard, but that you still want to allow to get plenty of outdoor time.

Creates a Designated Dog Toilet

Nobody likes going on a weekly hunt all over the yard for dog poop. When you install a homemade dog run for your dog, she just has one area to "go," which means there's only one location for you to clean up, saving you time and effort.

DIY Dog Run Considerations

In this article we are going to be showing you all kinds of fenced dog run ideas to help inspire you to build your own, but it’s fair to say that there isn’t such a thing as a one size fits all option, and so you may need to take one - or even a few - of these easy to build dog run ideas and adapt them in order for them to work for you and your pup.

You will need to keep some important considerations in mind as you plan. The size of your yard and that of your dog are the more obvious ones, but you’ll also need to keep the weather, your budget, any HOA rules you need to abide by and even your own confidence in your DIY skills in mind.

Allow space for a dog house and or some shaded areas to make sure your pupper is protected on sunny, snowy or rainy days.

You’ll also need to think about ground cover. Are you going to build directly over a patch of lawn? Or will you add a dog friendly - and paw friendly - additional ground cover like cedar chipping? You don’t have to, but it might make for a nicer, safer place for your pup to play.

Top 5 DIY Dog Run Ideas and Designs

Now that you know more about dog yards and their many benefits, you’ll be eager to learn more about just how you can go about building a dog run in your own outdoor space. To help you get started here is a look at great DIY dog run designs and blueprints that can help you build one for your own pup.

DIY Dog Run Chain Link Enclosure

Most home stores, some pet stores, and even Amazon, offer a variety of chain link fencing sets, sold in different sizes, that can provide one of the simplest ways to add a high - as in hard to jump - sided dog run that can be set up almost anywhere in your yard.

In addition to helping provide almost instant structure, and allowing you to add a dog run over grass or concrete, this chain link DIY dog run calls for no woodworking skills, something that can be a serious challenge for even seasoned DIY fans to take on.

Check out this video for a visual step-by-step guide to building this convenient pup enclosure:

DIY ‘Wooden Dog Lot’ Enclosure

If you have a larger space to work with, and are a little more comfortable with woodworking tools, this cover dog run project creates a fully enclosed ‘dog lot’ which will give your large pup room to roam while still allowing him to see what is going on in the rest of the garden.

The materials used to craft this affordable dog run can all be found fairly easily at a local hardware store and offer a reasonably inexpensive way to build a great dog run in your yard. You can even make use of different lumber to match the look to that of the rest of your outdoor living space.

The video below details just how all of this is done.

Post and Chain Link DIY Dog Run

If you are willing to expend some energy and do some digging, but are not so keen on the idea of tackling a lot of complex woodworking, the post and chain link fence DIY dog run construction demonstrated from start to finish in this video may be the way to go.

This is a more labor intensive project in some ways, but the end product is a dog run secure enough for bigger, stronger dogs like the beautiful American Bulldog the spacious dog run was originally created for.

Under Deck DIY Dog Run


If you have a raised deck, then the chances are that you have wasted space underneath. Maybe you make use of it to store stuff, but because it offers no sun, it’s not useful for much else. Or is it?

You can, with some imagination and some simple supplies, turn that wasted space into an enclosed DIY dog run that essentially gives your pup his own deck too.

If you live in an area prone to hot summers (and/or hot weather in general) this can also be an excellent way to help ensure your pup’s outdoor time is cool and comfortable. There are lots of good ideas, and some helpful instructions, for an under deck dog run plans you can check out here.

DIY Balcony Dog Run

Apartment dwelling dogs can sometimes miss out on the free running their suburban backyard owning pups enjoy. However, as this clever pet parent demonstrates, with a few simple supplies if you have an apartment balcony you can turn a section of it into a potty and lounging area outdoors that your dog might love.

Other great DIY pet project reads you'll love:


Melanie Evans

Melanie Evans is a professional freelance writer based in Scranton, PA, who, enjoys sharing her lifelong knowledge about dogs. When not working, Melanie enjoys playing a wide variety of sports, traveling and hanging out with her energetic boxer dog Bruce.

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