How to Build a Dog Run

Kelly Roper

Do-it-yourself types will appreciate our Two Minute Dog Advice columnist Wendy Nan Rees'tips on how to build your own dog run. Read on to find out how you can complete this project in a single weekend.

Tip: How to Build Your Own Dog Run

Mission Remodel!

Hello everyone! I took the last two weeks off to handle some home improvements, but I'm happy to be back. What I thought would be a simple job has turned out to be a very big one. The real work started when my three boys came home from nineteen days at the kennel! The most important thing I had planned during my hiatus was to rebuild my dog run and to retrain my boys to go to the bathroom in one spot. We'd been having some house accident issues, and you may recall that I had fitted all three of my boys with belly band doggie diapers.

Before the boys went to the kennel I had them try out the diapers for four days just to be they worked as well as promised. Once the dogs were at the kennel, I got rid of all their old belongings that could possibly carry a remnant smell of their misadventures, and bought all new supplies, including dishes and toys. I also stocked up on treats that I could use as training rewards in the days to come. As you can probably tell, I had a plan!

Step one involved refurbishing part of my yard into a safe and attractive dog run. Step two would involve retraining my dogs to use the run and stop having accidents in the house. No small order, but totally worth the effort.

Building the Dog Run

The first step in creating a dog run is choosing the right location. Look for a safe place you can fence off on all sides, and make sure you have enough room for the number of dogs you intend to use the run for at the same time. I have three dogs, so I located my dog run on the side of my house where I have both sun and some shade. There is also a hose nearby, which will come in handy for cleaning purposes. The space I am using is six feet wide by twelve feet long on the side of my home. I have a wall on each side, so all I needed to do was install a gate at each end to enclose the space. If you do not have a wall that you can use, you can install fencing instead. I like to use picket fencing, but I have also used chain link fencing in the past. I painted the fence dark green which made it look very cute. However, you can paint it or just leave it the way it comes. The choice is yours.

I hired my gardener to help me with the next step, but you can do this yourself if you are handy and like to do the work yourself. I had him clean out the entire side run. We spread some old pea gravel, and I just had him turn the soil to mix the old pea gravel in to create a base. Next, I had him put down some peat moss as a cushion for the dogs. After that we laid down a fifty pound bag of ground lime powder to absorb all odors and help to drain the urine.

Finally we laid all new pea gravel on the top layer and installed three new urine sticks to entice my boys to potty in their new dog run. Everything looked great when we were finished.

The big test came last Friday when the boys returned home from the kennel. I immediately brought them out to the run, and I used a few words they know, "hurry up, go pee pee". The boys loved their new space, and immediately did their business exactly where I wanted them to. We are off to a great start! I gave them the treats right away with "good boy, good boy"!

House Training Revisited

As for retraining them in the house, I have to limit their water intake, and take them out every two hours to make sure they understand what I want them to do. I have to be very consistent with them because it will take a good month to retrain them. I need to have patience, but we are off to a good start.

So far the diapers work well and the dogs do not seem to mind them. I will not let the boys have full run of my new home for sometime, but I do have the kitchen set up with beds for them when I am not home. I will keep you posted on how we are coming along, but I know we can all learn how to live happily together again.

"Remember, the animals in your life are not just your pets, they're your friends." WNR

More Great Tips from Wendy

How to Build a Dog Run