DIY: Covered Dog Run

Wire fencing is ideal for a cheap and cheerful dog run.
Wire fencing is ideal for a cheap and cheerful dog run. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Dog runs are typically small, fenced parcels exposed to the elements, their purpose being to contain your pooch while he exercises. A covered run protects your dog from sun and rain, enabling him to stretch out regardless of all but extreme weather. If you intend to locate the run on grass, you don’t need expensive equipment or materials to build it. Using cheaper, lighter materials will enable you to disassemble and relocate the run more easily.

Things You'll Need

  • 4-inch-square timber posts
  • Hacksaw
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Wood block
  • Creosote
  • Paintbrush
  • Measuring tape
  • Landscape fabric (optional)
  • Heavy bricks
  • Trowel
  • Mallet
  • Chicken wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Staple gun
  • Gravel
  • Tarpaulin
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Hole punch
  • String or cable ties

Cut four 4-inch-by-4-inch timbers to lengths of 72 inches, using a hacksaw. These posts will form the four corners of the run. Sand them smooth.

Paint each 4-by-4 with creosote. Since the poles are going to be outside, it’s important to ensure they don’t rot. Place the painted poles on old newspaper and leave them to dry for at least two hours. An option is to look for treated timbers.

Measure out the length and width of the dog run and mark the corners with rocks. The dimensions of the run will be determined by the space you have available, but at the very minimum it should be at least four times as long as your dog’s body and wide enough for him to turn full circle without touching the sides. If you want an easy-to-clean floor, instead of having your dogs run around on grass, cut out a piece of landscape material to fit the dimensions of the run. Hold it in place with rocks for the time being.

Dig a precise hole, 4 inches square, using a trowel, at each corner of the run perimeter. Stand the first corner pole in its hole and secure it in place by driving it into the earth with a mallet. Repeat the process for the remaining three poles.

Dig a 1-inch-wide and 1-inch-deep trench between each corner pole. The trench will later hold the fencing in place.

Use wire cutters to cut out three lengths of chicken wire: two for the sides and one for the back. Each length of fencing material needs to be 73 inches tall -- allowing for 1 inch of wire to be sunk into the trench -- and at least 8 inches longer than the distance between the posts to allow for wrapping the ends around each pole.

Wrap one end of the shortest length of chicken wire around one of the back poles, staple it to the pole, run it to the other back pole, wrap it and staple it. Repeat the process with the two longer lengths of chicken wire so the back and sides are fenced.

Push the excess chicken wire into the trench and pour in some gravel to hold the wire in place.

Cut out a piece of tarpaulin to serve as cover and door. The tarpaulin's width should equal the width of the run. To determine the proper length, add the run's length by its height, then add 2 inches. Punch holes all the way around the edge of the tarp, approximately 4 inches apart, on both long sides and one short side.

Drape the tarp over the top of the run, allowing the short side with holes punched in it to seat at the back of the run. Tie the tarp to the top of the run, looping string or cable ties through the spaces in the chicken wire. Leave the tarp flap covering the front of the run unfastened. When the dog or dogs are in the run, tie the tarp covering the run entrance to the poles and place a heavy brick on the overlapping excess to prevent it from blowing in the wind.

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