How to Make a DIY Dog Pen: 8 Spicy Ideas You can Try Today

diy dog pen

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If you have a dog that you can’t constantly supervise, you might want to keep them in a dog pen. A dog pen is a humane and effective way to manage your dog while providing them with enough room to roam around and play.

In this article, we will discuss what dog pens are as well as their benefits for you and your pet. We will also suggest eight plans for making a DIY dog pen if you want to make your own rather than buy one commercially.

What is a Dog Pen?

A dog pen is an enclosure to contain your dog in order to keep them safe as well as preventing them from getting into mischief when you are not home or otherwise are unable to supervise them. Pens are larger than crates, which are intended to help with housetraining, and provide a place where the dog can go to feel safe. Dog pens with more space are also known as dog runs since the dog has space to run around inside.

Dog pens are made from various materials ranging from plastic to metal and are available in various sizes. They can be bought at pet shops and various other outlets. However, if you have the time and the skill, or are simply up for a challenge you might want to make your own dog pen.

Building your own pen allows you to customize it to the space that you have available, as well as the needs of your dog. It also saves you money since the cost of buying the individual materials needed may be less than buying a commercially made pen.

Eight Best DIY Dog Pen Plans

In this section, we will list our suggestions for the eight best DIY plans for making your own dog pen at home.

1. DIY Dog Pen (DakotaBusy)

This indoor pen was designed for puppies and uses scrap wood so it is very affordable to make. You can view the instructions in a five-minute video that shows you exactly how to make the pen, which features a hinged door. This makes it easy for your dog to get in and out of the pen.

Difficulty Level: Moderate.

Materials Needed:

  • Scrap wood
  • ¾-inch plywood
  • Hinges
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper

You will need the following tools:

  • Tape measure
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Screws

You can find the video here:

2. Shaded Outdoor Dog Pen (DIY Network)

This outdoor dog pen allows your pooch to play safely outside when you can’t watch them. One good feature of these plans is that it provides shade in one corner of the pen. This allows your pet to seek shelter from the hot sun or a sudden rainfall.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Materials:

  • Plastic-coated Wire Fencing
  • Lumber
  • Rubber Floor Mat
  • Gravel
  • Corrugated Vinyl
  • Hinges and Latch
  • Screws

Tools:

  • Drill
  • Sledgehammer

The instructions are very detailed and even include a lot of pictures so you can get an idea of what the finished pen should look like.

You can find instructions here: https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/structures/how-to-construct-a-shaded-dog-run

3. Playpen With Built-in Doghouse (DIY Network)

This dog pen is more elaborate and includes a little house for your dog to rest in. It also has high walls to deter your dog from escaping by jumping over them.

Difficulty Level: Advanced

Materials:

  • Wire Fencing
  • Lumber
  • Door Handle
  • Screws
  • Hinges and Latch
  • Nails
  • Staples
  • Shingles
  • Roofing Felt
  • Wood Glue
  • Silicone Caulk
  • Paint or Stain

Tools:

  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Hammer
  • Staple Gun
  • Drill 
  • Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Clamps
  • Right Angle
  • Pocket Hole Jig

DIY Network provides detailed step-by-step instructions on how to make this dog pen, and even includes a few pictures and diagrams. These images make it easier to follow the directions and make it more likely that the final product will be satisfactory.

You can find the instructions here: https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/structures/how-to-build-a-dog-run-with-attached-doghouse

4. PVC Puppy Playpen (Dreamydoodles)

If you have a new puppy, keeping them in their own pen allows them to play in a safe environment while they’re still getting used to their new home. This dog pen is easier to make since it only uses PVC pipes for the walls rather than wood.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Materials:

  • PVC Pipes, Caps, Crosses, Corners and T’s
  • Optional: Tarp (you also need to buy Masking or Duct Tape)

Tools:

  • PVC Pipe Cutters
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Tape Measure
  • Optional: PVC Glue

The instructions are designed to be easy to follow for those who have little carpentry experience, although if this is your first project you may need some trial-and-error before you get the desired result.

You can find the instructions here: https://www.dreamydoodles.com/how-to-make-your-own-puppy-pen/

5. Custom Indoor Dog Playpen (Instructables)

This indoor playpen includes a provision for flooring that will protect your carpet or floor. You can also follow the example given in the plans and position your pen against an outer door. This allows you to quickly let your dog out when they need to pee or poop.

Materials Needed:

  • Lumber
  • Plywood
  • Screws
  • Staples
  • Linoleum
  • Chicken Wire

Tools:

  • Circular Saw
  • Chop Saw
  • Drill
  • Box Cutter
  • Staple Gun

You can find the instructions here: https://www.instructables.com/Custom-Rescue-Dog-Pen/

6. Chain Link Outdoor Pen (Family Handyman)

This outdoor dog pen uses chain link fencing as its door and walls, which is easy to assemble and affordable to boot. The plans also include provisions for the flooring to protect your lawn as well as protecting your dog. The pen also has a doghouse to provide your dog with shade and protection against rain and wind.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Materials:

  • Chain link fencing (premade door and wall sections are available to make assembly easier)
  • Pea gravel
  • Concrete
  • Sand
  • Landscape fabric
  • Treated 2 x 12s
  • Privacy slats
  • Dog house and/or sunscreen

Tools:

  • Hacksaw
  • Circular saw
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Lineman’s pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Posthole digger
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Gloves

Get instructions here: https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/how-to-build-a-chain-link-kennel-for-your-dog/

7. Cheap and Easy Dog Pen (Instructables)

This outdoor dog pen is easy to build and uses affordable materials that you can get at your local hardware. You may even have some of the materials in your workshop.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Materials:

  • Livestock panels made of heavy gauge wire
  • Standard chain link fence
  • Gate
  • Aluminum wire
  • Metal fence posts (only if you want to strengthen the dog run or make it more permanent)

Tools:

  • Pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Wrench
  • 4-pound sledge hammer
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Oil
  • 9 clamps or safety latches

Get instructions here: https://www.instructables.com/Cheap-Easy-Portable-Dog-Run-to-Build/

8. PVC Puppy Pen (Making It Work)

This short video shows you how to make an indoor dog pen for your puppies. The pen can be customized to whatever size is required. However, the video is not that detailed and it would work best for those who already have some DIY experience.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Materials:

  • ¾-inch PVC 90’ elbows
  • ¾-inch PVC 90’ elbow with outlet
  • ¾-inch PVC tees
  • 1-inch PVC tees
  • ¾-inch PVC couplings
  • ¾-inch schedule PVC pipe
  • Drywall screws 
  • Galvanized L brackets
  • 2×4 treated lumber
  • Vinyl remnant

  Tools:

  • Tape measure
  • PVC pipe cutters
  • Hacksaw
  • Rubber mallet

You can get the instructions from this youtube video here:

What Do I Put in My Dog’s Pen?

What to put in a pen depends on how long the dog will be enclosed in it. Basically, you have to ensure that your dog is comfortable and occupied while they are in the pen.

Hence, you have to put in their favorite toys so they can play while they are confined. This is to prevent your dog from becoming bored while in the pen and associating it with unpleasant experiences. You should make sure that your dog would want to stay in the pen when you have to confine them there.

Of course, there should also be a water bowl with fresh water for them to drink. If your pen is located outside your house, the bowl should be placed in a shady spot.

In addition, if you have to keep your dog in the pen for an extended period of time, you should include some food as well. The best choice is dry kibble since these will not spoil as quickly. And, of course, there should always be plenty of freshwater for them to drink.

Finally, there should be a comfortable place for the dog to lie down and sleep. The ideal choice is to put in a dog bed. However, even a blanket will do as long as you keep it clean by washing it regularly. 

What Kind of Ground Cover Should I Use in My Dog Pen?

This is only a consideration if you keep your dog pen outdoors. If the pen is located inside, you can just use the floor or carpet. However, you may want to place old bedding or blankets on top of the carpet to protect them. You can even use a sheet of linoleum or vinyl to act as the pen’s flooring.

If you place the dog pen outdoors, ground cover is an issue because the dog may simply dig underneath the pen to escape. The best and most affordable ground cover is grass; however, it can be damaged by your dog’s pee or poop, or by their physical activity.

However, there are certain types of grass that are more ‘dog-friendly’ than others and you may want to take this into consideration if you are landscaping your yard. A good type of grass to use is Kentucky Bluegrass because it is very robust and grows very rapidly. If you live in a cooler climate, a better option might be perennial ryegrass, which also has a rapid growth rate and robust roots.

Aside from grass, you can also consider clover or mulch. However, cocoa mulch can be toxic to dogs if ingested; use cypress or pine bark mulch instead. There are also artificial options that you can place over the ground, such as interlocking tiles or pea gravel, or even artificial turf. 

The Benefits of Dog Pens

Here are some reasons why a dog pen can be beneficial for your dog’s wellbeing:

  • They allow dogs to enjoy the outdoors safely and securely. Being confined in a safe space such as a pen allows them access to fresh air.
  • They provide mental stimulation. While they are confined in the pen, you can provide your dog with activities such as toys. They also have the opportunity to enjoy new smells and sights.
  • They can enjoy playtime with other dogs. Depending on its size, a pen can hold several dogs so they can play together safely.
  • They provide a safe place where your dog can dry off after baths.

Dog Pen FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions many dog owners have about dog pens. We hope they will provide some of the answers you’re looking for.

CAN YOU LEAVE A DOG IN A PEN UNATTENDED?

It depends on the character of your dog and its personality. Based on these considerations you will have to construct a specific pen that will keep them safe.

For instance, indoor pens should be located in places away from cables or other items that might be hazardous if your dog chews on them.

For outdoor pens, you should consider the safety of your surroundings, the climate in your area as well as the security of the pen itself.

DOES A DOG PEN NEED A ROOF?

It depends on your requirements. If you are using the dog pen indoors then a roof is unnecessary. However, if the pen is located outdoors then a roof may be necessary.

If your pen’s fencing is relatively low, a roof can prevent your dog from leaping out. However, you may choose instead to make the fence high enough to avoid this.

A roof will be necessary if your area is subject to sudden showers, to prevent your dog from getting wet.

WHAT SIZE SHOULD A DOG PEN BE?

The main considerations when deciding what size the pen should be is the size of your dog and what you are planning to put inside. Basically, there should be enough room inside the pen for your dog to walk around a bit and bedding for them to lie on as well as their toys and water bowl.

What Can I Use for a Dog Pen Floor?

If you are planning to use the pen indoors, you can simply place it on your floor without the need for additional ground cover. However, if you have carpeting, you may want to place down old bedding or other material inside the pen to protect your carpeting.
For outdoor pens, you have a lot of options for ground cover. If you have a grass lawn, this is sufficient. Otherwise, you can use materials such as mulch or clover, as well as artificial options like interlocking tiles.

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