How to Build Your Dog a House

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A doghouse provides shelter and comfort.
A doghouse provides shelter and comfort. (Image: tombaky/iStock/Getty Images)

A doghouse is more than a cute addition to your backyard; it provides shelter for the family dog and appeals to your dog's ancestral need for a den. Doghouses come in all shapes and sizes, but with a little ingenuity, some items lying around the garage, and a short shopping list for the local home improvement store, you can customize a house to meet your dog's specific needs.

Things You'll Need

  • One 4-by-8 sheet of exterior siding
  • One 8-foot 2-by-2
  • Measuring tape
  • Circular saw
  • Sand paper, 80 grit
  • Hammer or nail gun
  • Yardstick
  • Carpenter's crayon
  • New or recycled wood pallet
  • Nails, 8d
  • Power screwdriver
  • Wood screws, 2 inches in length

Measure your dog to determine how large your doghouse should be. Your dog should be able to stand, sit, lay down and turn around in the doghouse. A house that is excessively large will fail at keeping your dog warm during times of inclement weather. Construct the house no larger than what your dog needs.

Measure your pallet using the measuring tape. Your cut pallet needs to measure 26 inches by 20 inches. You'll be constructing a house for a medium-sized dog.

Using the circular saw, cut your pallet according to the measurements you made in step 2. Refasten any loose boards on the cut pallet.

Sand the pallet well using the sandpaper. Remove any jagged edges that may injure your dog, especially if your pallet is recycled.

From the upper left-hand corner of your sheet of exterior siding, measure out your floor piece. This pieces should measure 20 inches by 26 inches. Mark your measurements with the carpenter's crayon.

Measure two side pieces 26 inches by 16 inches. Take these measurements beginning at the lower right-hand corner of your sheet of siding. Mark with the carpenter's crayon.

Measure out your front and back pieces beginning at the lower left-hand corner. The pieces should measure 16 inches along the vertical edges and 27 inches at the center, to allow for creating a peaked roof. The width of these pieces is 22 inches. Mark the measurements and use the yardstick to connect the two measurements. Draw out the angle with the carpenter's crayon.

In the upper right-hand corner measure out two roof pieces 21 inches by 31 inches. Mark these measurements with your carpenter's crayon.

Cut all your pieces using the circular saw and sand to remove rough edges.

Using the power screwdriver and wood screws, attach the 20-by-26 piece of siding on top of your 20-by-26 pallet. Attach a screw every few inches for maximum stability. Raising the doghouse will avoid seepage of groundwater and cold into the floor of the house.

Measure an entryway on the front panel of the doghouse. The front and back panels are the same size, so you can use either one. The doorway should be as tall as your dog from the floor to his shoulder and as wide as your dog from shoulder to shoulder. Add 4 inches to each measurement to give him room to enter and exit easily. The bottom of the entryway should match up with your floor, so measure your pallet height and mark that measurement as the bottom of your doorway on the panel.

Cut out your doorway using the circular saw and sand to remove any rough edges.

Measure out your 2-by-2s to line the edges of your sides and roofline. You'll need eight pieces 15 inches long and one piece 29 inches long. Set aside four of the 15-inch pieces in two pairs. Both pairs will need to meet at the point of the front and back pieces. Measure these into an angle and mark with the carpenter's crayon. Remove a portion of the remaining four 15-inch pieces equal to the height of your pallet.

Cut your 2-by-2 pieces using the circular saw and sand to remove rough edges.

Using the 8d nails and nail gun or hammer, attach the 2-by-2s to the outer edges of your siding pieces as follows: Attach one short 2-by2 piece to both ends of both sides pieces, in a vertical position. Attach the 29-inch piece to one of your roof panels, leaving a 1-inch gap at each end. Attach the four angled 15-inch pieces to the angled edges of your front and back panels.

Using the 8d nails and nail gun or hammer, attach the front panel of the doghouse to one of the side panels. The bottoms of the panels should cover the pallets. Nail into the 2-by-2s where the panels meet. Use a nail every few inches for maximum stability.

Attach the rear and remaining side panels in the same manner as step 16.

Attach the roof panels by nailing into the 2-by-2 at the roof's peak. Place a nail every few inches at the peak for maximum stability. Angle the nails when you attach the roof to the sides, so the nails go vertically into the side panels and not into the dog's house so that nails are exposed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint your doghouse to match the color of your home.
  • Check the interior of the dog's house thoroughly for exposed nails. Remove any exposed nails and refasten.
  • Wear protective eyewear when using circular saw.
  • Keep tools away from children.

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