How to Build a Cheap Outdoor Door Dog Run

Dogs need a safe place to run and explore.
Dogs need a safe place to run and explore. (Image: dog image by Michal Tudek from

Dogs need space to run, jump and investigate. Dogs without this type of physical freedom become bored and, in many cases, destructive--digging holes or chewing on items they shouldn’t. A dog run gives your dog space to move while confining him to specific areas of the yard where he can’t get into trouble. One of the least expensive methods of building a dog run is to run a cable trolley from two posts or a tree.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 Wooden posts
  • 15 feet of cable
  • Tether leash
  • 2 eye hooks
  • Shovel
  • Quickset cement
  • Gravel
  • Water
  • Cable clamps
  • Metal cutters

Select the area for the dog run. Keep it away from fences where your dog might try to jump and subsequently hang himself. Also keep the run free of obstacles that your dog can entangle your dog, possibly injuring him.

Set your posts. If you are using two trees or an old clothesline, this part of the job is already done. If you need to set new posts, you first need to dig two holes 2 feet deep--one for each post--approximately 10 feet apart (longer if you want a longer dog run). Put a layer of pebbles at the bottom and saturate the holes with water. Position a post in the center of each hole. Mix your quickset concrete according to the manufacturer’s label and pour into the hole. Allow this to set overnight.

Screw eye hooks into each of the posts. The hook should be positioned at least 4 feet high. If your dog is a jumper, make this higher so he won’t tangle himself in the trolley line.

String the cable through the tether leash loop. Then string the cable from one eye hook to another. Pull the cable taut and loop the excess back over the cable. Place a clamp around the cable and the excess near the eye hook and tighten it, securing the cable to the post. Cut the excess cable.

Attach your dog to the tether leash and walk him along the dog run to show him his boundaries.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always make sure dogs have access to shade or covering to get out of harsh elements. Keep fresh water out for your dog while he is outside.

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