Before you start to build a dog house, it’s a good idea to note down the main points to meet your dog’s requirements – and of course your own. For example, these are some of the questions you should be able to answer all of the questions below.
START BY ASSESSING WHAT YOUR DOG ACTUALLY NEEDS
What size is my dog?
A dog house needs to be big enough for your dog to turn around in, but if you live in a temperate climate with cold winters, it shouldn’t be so big that your dog’s own body heat is going to be meaningless. Unless of course you are going to go for an insulated dog house.
How much time is going to be spent in the dog house?
I’m sure you’re this isn’t your version of the naughty step for your dog – they shouldn’t ever think their home is somewhere they go if they’s been naughty in your eyes. The length of time you envisage your dog spending in here, will dictate how big you need to build it and what other features you want to consider. For example, if you have a large breed dog that is going to be left for longer periods of time, the dog house really needs to have a dog run attached to it. That way your dog can at least stretch their legs and wander around a bit.
Where is the dog house going to be situated?
If it will be exposed to the sun during certain parts of the day, you will need to consider good ventilation and a solid roof, that will offer your dog some shade and a flow of air.
Equally so, if you live in a colder climate, you might want to be able to exclude drafts during the colder months, to give the structure additional warmth.
Perhaps you need the flexibility of both of these.
But either way, the house should have a floor that is elevated up from the ground,
- to prevent moisture and rain from getting in on wet days
- to provide airflow underneath, to keep any odours away and help prevent fungal growths
- prevent cold seeping up from the ground – particularly important if you have an aged or arthritic dog, who needs to be kept warm and dry.
Are there any relevant habits my dog has?
If your dog is one who likes to be up high and on top of things, and many do, then consider they may like to sit on the roof of the dog house. Not suited to an A-frame, perhaps a flatter roof that is accessible might fit the bill and give them extra enjoyment from their house. And remember to think about the materials you are going to use on the roof – shingles or tiles may get exceptionally hot in the sun, but an exterior plywood panel treated with a non-toxic preserver could be good. Just remember also the weight of your dog on the roof – you don’t want them to fall through it!
Is the dog going to be left alone in the dog house?
If so, consider the security of the dog house. If it is situated in a secure back garden, fine. But if not, you need to ensure your dog is going to be safe and secure at all times.
Thinking about yourself
Make sure you can easily access your dog house – you don’t want cleaning it to become a major problem!
Choose a free plan for your dog house
Before you take off down to the DIY store, you will need to decide on a plan for your dog house. These are some of the best free dog house plans available to get you started – telling you what materials AND tools you will need.
Simple Dog House Plan from Lowes
This is a really smart-looking dog house that is relatively straight-forward to build. based on an average sized dog, Lowes do say it can be scaled down for smaller dogs. Just make sure you scale down all the dimensions evenly, or you will end up with something lop sided (a.k.a. like the one Homes Simpson built).
There is a list of tools, materials plus all the instructions you will need – even with pictures to help you along. More »
2. Build a custom insulated dog house, with Ron Hazelton
The best thing about this one, is it’s a step-by-step process, with video instruction for each part of the process. The house can be custom-sized for any dog and the insulation makes it a bit of a doggie palace! There are lots of blueprints to show the various angles and helping to understand the construction. More »
or Download the free plans.
3. Designer Dog House, from Better Homes & Gardens
This is a bit more advanced, so I would only recommend this one if you already have some skill as a builder or in carpentry. Comfortable and pleasing to look at, it even has a skateboarding ramp to go with it, if your doggie is that way inclined! There are no video instructions with this one, but there are still plans, a list of materials and instructions as part of the free plan. More »
4. The “Sparky1” from All About Dog Houses
More for the real DIY enthusiast, as this is a literally do-it-yourself dog house. Don’t worry there are still plans and illustrations to go along with it, but as the developer says “It took me more like 4 weekends partly because I was designing as I went.” This version was built from recycled building materials, which you could do too.
The Sparky1 is insulated and has a removable roof to make it easier to clean inside. The neatest part is the veranda! There are some optional parts to it too, depending on what you want. The full instructions and material requirements can be found here More »
5. Blueprint from Georgia-Pacific
Again, I would say that this is for the more experienced builder or carpenter. The blueprint provides a plan, materials and cutting list, plus instructions on one page. The dog house itself provides a well-ventilated and robust home for a medium sized dog. DogHouseProjectPlan
IF IT’S ALL TOO MUCH…
You may find that by the time you take into account the cost of materials and tools (if you are buying from scratch), it may be more sensible to buy a ready-made or pre-fabricated dog house.
Here are some examples I like at Amazon – with a range of prices:
Let’s see the finished results!
It would be great to see some pictures of any finished dog houses that you have built, along with what you found easy or hard. Even better if your dog is in the picture! Please send in to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will feature them on my site.
If you have any other feedback or comments you would like to make, please do so below…Happy Building! 🙂