Should I Build or Buy a Dog Kennel Run?

Updated on February 15, 2016

Dog runs are a wonderful investment for pet owners to allow their furry friends outside to play and expend energy without being under constant supervision. They allow a pooch who would otherwise be alone in the house all day to be outside in a secure area. By providing their canine friends with a secure outdoor exercise pen, owners can leave dogs alone guilt-free, knowing that the dogs are getting some much-needed fresh air and play time. An outdoor dog run also lessens concerns about pets being hurt by cars, wandering off, or tearing up gardens or property.

There are many options to consider when choosing the best fenced dog run for your needs. Considering the size and breed as well as the space available in your yard will help you determine the kennel for your needs.

  • Some can be purchased with special features to cater to specific breeds.
  • Kits are also available for various configurations.
  • You can find plans online if you want to make this a DIY project.

Whether you choose to buy readymade or do-it-yourself, this article will introduce all the features to consider.

Standard Off-the-Shelf Dog Run.
Standard Off-the-Shelf Dog Run.

Does a Kennel Need a Roof?

One important thing that you don't want to overlook is your dog's tendency to jump or climb. If you are unable to train you pooch to stay within the boundaries of her dog run, you will need to consider getting an enclosure with a secure top. If you are uncertain if you pet has jumping or climbing tendencies, make sure that you will be able to add a top if the problem arises down the road.

Fenced Dog Runs are Available with Weather Resistant UV-Treated Tops.
Fenced Dog Runs are Available with Weather Resistant UV-Treated Tops.

A tarp type of cover may be good for sun protection but may not stop a determined "Houdini Hound" from escaping her exercise kennel. Some pets are quite adept at scaling walls, and as the saying goes, it's hard to keep a good dog down!

A Backyard Dog Run Complete with Make-Shift Sunroof and Dog House.
A Backyard Dog Run Complete with Make-Shift Sunroof and Dog House.

What Shape of Kennel Is Best?

Square pens may take up as little as 6’ by 6’ of space, but if your back yard is longer than it is wide, you may look into modular dog runs that are rectangular in shape to better accommodate your four-legged friend. If you have a dog breed with specific needs, be sure to research which types will best accommodate those needs.

This Outdoor Dog Run Needs a New Top and a Good Kennel Flooring Solution!
This Outdoor Dog Run Needs a New Top and a Good Kennel Flooring Solution!

What Kind of Floor Is Best?

Don't overlook flooring. Good options are stone or gravel, patio blocks, or a concrete slab. Even when dog runs are placed on a nice grassy area, in time they usually wind up being turned into muddy messes!

Nice DIY Dog Run Project Complete with Low Maintenance Kennel Flooring & Dog House
Nice DIY Dog Run Project Complete with Low Maintenance Kennel Flooring & Dog House
Outdoor Dog Run with Stone Kennel Flooring
Outdoor Dog Run with Stone Kennel Flooring

Pre-Fab or DIY?

Buying a pre-fabricated dog kennel and run is definitely the best option for people without much experience in building or without enough time on their hands. Although it may not be the most economical option, it may be worth it, considering the large amount of time and energy you will save and the peace of mind you will have knowing that it was properly built and is safe for your pet.

Assembling a Backyard Dog Run

What's Involved in Installing Pre-Fab Fenced Dog Runs?

You'll need a buddy to help you with this project, especially if you get a dog run with a top. Watch the video here, where Andy shows us how to build an outdoor dog pen that includes an access gate and a weatherproof UV-treated cover. This type of exercise pen will protect your pooch from the sun during the day and provide some shelter from rain and snow.

Pre-fab Dog Run with DIY Wooden Platform
Pre-fab Dog Run with DIY Wooden Platform

DIY Kennels

Owners who have the skills and time available can save money by doing the research and building backyard dog runs for their pets. If you chose this route, make sure that you have detailed plans including a material list and all the necessary tools before setting up to build your enclosure.

Building your own gives you the freedom to choose the best design and consider your space constraints as well as your particular dog's needs. It will allow you to make modifications that would not be possible with an off-the-shelf unit. You will be able to add many of your own unique touches along the way. A builder with imagination can create a dog run that will be unmatched by anything that can be purchased from a store as a kit.

Backyard Dog Run with Slanted Roof
Backyard Dog Run with Slanted Roof

Store-Bought Dog Runs

A pre-fabricated kennel and dog run is definitely a good choice if you’re just looking for a standard size enclosure that will get the job done. You will just need a minimum of skill and be able to follow some basic instructions and your pooch will soon be enjoying his new enclosure.

Happy Canines Romping Together in Their Outdoor Dog Run!
Happy Canines Romping Together in Their Outdoor Dog Run!

What If I Have More Than One Dog?

Do you need an option for multiple pets? If you have more than one pooch and you will like each one to have his own space, try placing two separate dog runs next to each other. This way they will not get too lonely, but on the other hand they won't be able to annoy each other and get into little tiffs when you're not there to supervise them.

It's also a good idea to place your dog's run on a raised platform. This will provide some protection from pooling water and keep their dog house nice and dry.

Adjoining Dog Runs on a Raised Wooden Platform Built to House Two Pets
Adjoining Dog Runs on a Raised Wooden Platform Built to House Two Pets
It can be very dangerous to leave your furry friend chained up! If you can't provide your pet an exercise pen, try an aerial dog run.
It can be very dangerous to leave your furry friend chained up! If you can't provide your pet an exercise pen, try an aerial dog run.

Aerial Dog Runs Are Better Than Using a Fixed Chain

Fenced-in dog runs are always the best option, but if you must compromise, use an aerial dog run. This is basically a leash that dangles down from above, giving the dog a wide area to walk in. It's much better than chaining your animal to a fixed spot. But just how much better will depend on how and where you install it.

  • Do not install it near a fence. If your animal is close enough and tries to jump the fence, he could hang himself!
  • Make sure the system you build or purchase incorporates at least one swivel mechanism to eliminate tangling of the lead.
  • Consider using a dog harness instead of a regular collar. A dog that constantly pulls on its lead may damage his throat over time.

If you are unfamiliar with aerial dog runs, here's a short video that lays out the typical components and shows you how to install one. Make sure to watch to the end of the video for important safety tips for using a dog cable run. Before you decide to use a fixed chain or a pet tie-out system, read a little more.

How to Install an Aerial Dog Run

Do Dogs Really Need to Be Outside?

Now that you decided to put the dog out, you may want to check in to see if you're doing it for all the right reasons. Have you asked yourself is there such a thing as too much fresh air and sunshine for Fido? Hear what one expert from the ASPCA has to say about keeping your dog outside.

Pooch in Pre-Fab Chain-Link Dog Run
Pooch in Pre-Fab Chain-Link Dog Run


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    • profile image

      sue 14 months ago

      Great advice , thanks, i will tell my boss as he wants a dog run

    • profile image

      Callie 16 months ago

      Didn't see anything about diggers!

    • profile image

      Bill 2 years ago

      Thanks so much I am so shocked at the amount of information and it's also so useful but what are the costs and sizes thanks.

    • profile image

      Michael 2 years ago

      Thank you so much, we have gone through nearly a million hubs and videos and found nothing helpful. But we eventually came to this page and there is just good useful information here popping out at us. So once again thank you very much.

    • profile image

      Rafael 3 years ago

      they'd give him until May but he's lived longer and I think bsaucee of the diet and supplements that are similar to yours I highly recommend K9 Immunity with transfer factor treats. Good stuff. It is a heart-breaking diagnosis for sure but we can do things to make their lives better quality for the time we have left. Good luck to you and Diego.

    • profile image

      chris 3 years ago

      what are the prices and sizes? Cost of freight?

    • Allie Johnson profile image

      Allie Johnson 7 years ago

      This is a great Hub - very detailed info. I have two dogs, so this is really helpful!

    • profile image

      Brumnick 7 years ago

      Great Hub - very well put together and very informative - thanks

    • cocowboy profile image

      cocowboy 7 years ago from Colorado

      Great info on dog pens thanks...

    • Stuart Barnes profile image

      Stuart Barnes 7 years ago

      Boy, there is a lot of information on dog kennels here. My brother and sister and I have small kennels we sleep in at night but during the day we have about an acre of ground to run around on even though most of the time we sit and look through the fence and try to make our owner feel guilty.

    • n8blls profile image

      n8blls 7 years ago from Austin

      That is one great hub, I am impressed. Dog runs can save your pets life.

    • Shaunelle Tansy profile image

      Shaunelle Tansy 7 years ago from a galaxy far far away

      Wow, very informative hub! We recently looked at fencing our whole acre so that our dog wouldn't wander, but one of these looks like it would be a lot more cost effective. I might have to hit my local paper and see if there's any dog runs for sale. Thanks for the info :-)

    • jecrawlipp profile image

      jecrawlipp 7 years ago

      I'm with the others - there is an amazing amount of information on dog stuff in this HUB - very nice.

    • profile image

      Bill 7 years ago

      That is what I call a lot of information about dog runs!

    • Helen Straw profile image

      Helen Straw 7 years ago from Tasmania

      Great idea for outdoor dog runs! I like how easy they are to assemble! Nice hub.

    • Home and Garden profile image

      Home and Garden 7 years ago

      Great article, you covered every imaginable scenario with the pictures.