5 Steps To Build a Dog Run [2020]

If you’re a dog owner, you know that sometimes you need a safe, enclosed space for your pets. It might not be something that you want to do, but there are situations when you just can’t let your dog run free in your yard and a dog kennel alone isn’t enough. Truthfully, not everybody has time to go to the dog park every day.

Maybe you’re having a barbecue and your dog keeps trying to steal your guests’ food. Or maybe, your young nieces and nephews are coming over and you’d feel more comfortable if there was some separation between them and your dog. There are practical reasons, too. Perhaps you just planted some grass or had the landscaper spray the yard with fertilizer and you would rather keep your dog away from that area of the yard for a while.

Whatever the reason, a dog run is a practical, customizable way to keep your dog confined when necessary. It’s a much nicer option than a cage, as your pooch can have doggie play dates in his own personal little dog park without tearing up your garden. Plus, it allows you to create a nice space that your dog might actually enjoy.

What is a Dog Run?

Dog RunSimply put, a dog run is a safe, fenced and gated area using something like chain link fencing or wire mesh to keep your dog short term.

What is a Dog Run Used For?

A dog run is not meant to be a permanent place for your dog; it’s just there when you need it. Usually, it’s rectangular and is long enough to allow plenty of room for your dog to run back and forth and get necessary exercise in an area of at least 10 feet long.

DIY Dog Run

By building your own dog run, you have all the control. You can make it as big as you want and add as many amenities as you want. It could even be a space that your dog enjoys. Add a dog house, a padded place to lie down, and built-in food and water bowls, as well as a bunch of toys.

There are so many easy DIY outdoor dog run blueprints available online. Try searching for patterns and ideas online to see what kind of dog run will fit your backyard the best. Pinterest has many DIY dog run ideas to get you started.


As part of the planning you will need to determine location and size of the dog run a well as materials needed.

How large Should my Dog Run be?

The first thing to do when you decide to make your own dog run is to plan according to your dog. What size is your dog? What does he like to play with? Larger dogs will require more room to run. Look a bit deeper into the kind of breed your dog is to see what specific needs he might have and how much room he needs to run around, etc. Once you have a good idea of the size dog run you’re building. Now think about the climate you’re in.


If it’s hot and sunny most of the time, make sure you place your dog run somewhere in the shade or plan to build a roof on it to protect your dog from the sun’s rays. If you live in a climate that’s rainy a lot of the time, you’ll also need to consider a roof and possibly even guttering if rainfall is going to be too much for the structure to handle.

Fenced Dog Run

Basic Elements

There are a few basic parts to every dog run. You can make them as simple or as complicated as you want as long as it’s safe and sturdy. The first thing you’ll need to consider is the frame.

Pre made Dog Runs or Permanent

It should be durable and sturdy—it’s typically made of metal pipes or bars or thick wood fencing. There are a number of dog runs you can buy online. These usually do not contain a floor. If your dog is a digger you may need to consider creating a more permanent structure and dig proofing your dog run.

Dog Run Fence

Dog run fencing comes in a lot of variations. Some people use standard thin wire fencing but you can also use thick wire fencing or even rods. If you want to give your dog some privacy, you can even use metal sheets. It’s up to you to decide what material to use for your DIY dog run fence. Roofs are optional but recommended in order to protect your dog from rain and the sun. You don’t have to cover the whole thing, but it’s a good idea to have at least a small section where your dog is protected from the elements.


If you live in a region that gets storms frequently or if you have a particularly large dog, it would probably be best to build a dog run with a frame that’s cemented or otherwise anchored into the ground. The posts should be at least 18 inches deep and encased in cement. The main purpose of the posts is to hold the fence. You can choose any kind of fencing as long as it’s durable and safe for your dog. Remember, the point is to keep your dog in and everyone else out. It’s also important to make sure your dog can’t jump over it.

What is the Best Surface for a Dog Run?

As far as the ground goes, you have a few options. Pouring concrete will keep things a little neater because it gets less messy when it rains. You can also use a bed of mulch, pea gravel, or cedar chips. You don’t have to use the same material for the whole area. For example, you can use half concrete and half mulch so your dog has some options as to where to play and where to relax.

How To Build

Level Dog Run

Here Are Some Basic Steps To Follow To Build Your Own Dog Run:

  1. Prepare the land. Use a rake or other garden tool to remove the grass and loosen the topsoil in the area.
  2. Put up your frame. This might mean digging and installing fence posts or building and laying out a simple frame and a gated area. If you’re going to be digging, make sure that there aren’t any utility lines that you need to worry about hitting. If you want to save cutting time plan your fence posts to be the same distance apart as a length as your fencing material. For instance many boards come in 6 ft lengths. If you space the posts every 6 ft you won’t have to cut these boards to any specific size.
  3. Lay the ground. Frame the area with wood first and then either pour concrete or fill the space with mulch, cedar chips, pea gravel, or whatever you’ve decided to use.
  4. Install the fencing. How you do this will depend on what you’ve chosen to use (i.e. the method will differ between chain links fencing or a wooden post fence). Sometimes it involves installing more poles into the ground or nailing the thin wire fencing in place.
  5. Add your roof. Whether you’re choosing sheet metal, tarp, or a more permanent kind of roof, it will be the last thing you do when building your dog run.

Safety and Enjoyment!

If you build the right kind of dog run for your furry friend, the time you spend on it to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for him while ensuring complete dog safety will be well worth it! Building your own dog run gives you a chance to create a space to run, sleep, and play where your dog will be safe and actually enjoy himself.

Cable Run

If you don’t like the idea of having your dog in an enclosed area, then maybe a cable run is a better fit for you and your pup. Just like a DIY outdoor dog run, it is easy to set-up your own DIY dog cable run. However, take note that in a cable run, your dog will be on a running leash for a cable run.

Teach Your Dog to Fetch

Would you like to play fetch with your dog but they are not a natural fetcher? We created an article giving step by step instructions on how to teach your dog to play fetch. Check out the article here to find out more!

Scroll to Top