Instructions on How to Build a Dog Kennel

Dogs need a safe place to be outside.
Dogs need a safe place to be outside. (Image: the dog next door image by John Sfondilias from

Keeping a pet happy and healthy means keeping a pet contained. This isn't cruel. Wild dogs spend most of their time in their den, leaving only to hunt. A pet that has adequate food and exercise is secure in an enclosed space. For the purpose of this article, a kennel is defined as an enclosed area with both shade and open space. This plan uses composite decking. Concrete can be used, but it is hard and can get very hot or cold. Wood can also be used, but dogs as well as other animals can chew or destroy exposed wood.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 pieces of 4-by-4 wood, 8 feet long
  • 3 pieces of 4-by-4 wood, 3 feet 5 inches long
  • 12 foot-long gutter nails
  • 6 metal fence poles, 2-3/8 in diameter, 6 feet or longer
  • 4 cubic feet of concrete
  • 16 feet of chain link fencing, 5 feet high or higher
  • Fence door component with hinges and latch
  • Awning material such as canvas or tarp
  • Grommets, 3/4 inch or larger
  • 4 PVC 90-degree elbow joints, 2-3/8 inch diameter
  • 2 PVC pipes, 4 feet long, 2-3/8 inch diameter
  • PVC weld compound (a type of glue)
  • 2 fence caps, 2-3/8 inch diameter
  • 20 feet of light rope


Check with the neighborhood associations, local codes or building commission. Some areas have laws or codes regarding building outside structures.

Choose the spot for the kennel. If there is already a tree or other form of shade in the yard, placing the kennel under that tree will save several steps. The spot should be on a slightly higher elevation. This will allow rainwater to drain away from the kennel. If the spot isn't level, sections can be built up with additional dirt or gravel.

Measure the area. The kennel in this article is 8 by 4 feet. A larger dog might need a larger kennel, while smaller dogs may not need as much room.


Dig holes for the fence posts. Dig one hole on each corner, and one in the center of the 8 foot side. Place posts in the holes and fill with concrete. Use a level or a plumb line to make sure the posts are straight. It may be necessary to to prop the poles until the concrete cures.

Place both long 4-by-4 boards and both short pieces on the site to form a rectangle. Place third short piece of wood in the center as a support. Drill holes every foot or so and drive the gutter nails through the wood and into the dirt. Be sure to leave a half inch to 1 inch between the fence post and the frame.

Cut composite decking into 8-foot lengths. Nail decking to the underlying 4-by-4. Leave small spaces between the decking to allow water to flow through.

Attach fencing to poles along both 8-foot sides and one of the 4-foot sides. Make sure the fencing is between the fence posts and the decking floor. Secure fencing to the posts. Install door component to the last 4 foot side. Make sure that the door opens to the outside and latches firmly.

Shade Awning (optional)

Place the 90-degree elbow joints on either end of the PVC piping. Make sure that both joints are pointing in the same direction. Apply the PVC weld compound and allow to dry.

Place the PVC joints of one of the structures on the top of the center fence posts, spanning the the kennel. Put the second PVC structure on the top of the fence posts on the end opposite the door to the kennel.

Put grommets every four inches on both ends of the awning. Make sure that all of the raw edges are hemmed.

Cut the rope into 18 in lengths.

Thread rope through the grommets and tie the awning to the PVC spanning the kennel.

Tips & Warnings

  • The awning is designed to be removed in the event of bad weather. But this also means that it can be changed simply by tying new material to the PVC pipes. It can be fun to change the look of the kennel with seasonal awnings.
  • It is a good idea to spray the ends of the composite decking with a chewing deterrent before the dog is introduced to its new kennel. This will prevent the animal from developing bad habits.
  • Wash the decking and the bottom of the fencing often to keep the kennel healthy.

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