How to Build an Affordable & Easy Dog Run

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If you have a dog, a fenced-in backyard solves a lot of problems. Many rescues require adoptees to have an enclosed yard, but not everyone has a fenced yard, and sometimes, letting your dog have the entire run of the yard isn't a good idea.

Not all yards have safe fencing.
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If your dog is digging up landscaping or putting holes in the lawn or if you have potentially toxic plants in the garden, you might need a dog run. Dog runs keep your pup confined to one part of the yard, and they vary in construction and size depending on your specific needs.

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Benefits of a backyard dog run

The benefits of a dog run are numerous for both you and your pup. Dogs need room to move and sniff freely without becoming tangled in a tie-out, and you need to keep your garden intact. An enclosed dog run keeps your pet safe from getting lost, and it keeps him protected from other animals that might wander into your yard.

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One cheap dog run idea is to use long, narrow chain-link fencing with mulch, pea gravel, or grass ground cover. Others are more complex wooden enclosures with roofs, shaded areas, and even dog houses contained within. What's important is that they are safe and secure and allow your dog to move around.

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Determining dog run size

The size of your dog run depends on the size of the space you have available.
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Clearly, the size of your dog run depends on the size of the space you have available. Keep in mind that narrow rectangles are better than smaller squares because they allow dogs to run back and forth and turn around easily. A size guideline is to make the dog run a minimum of 3 feet wide and 10 feet long. Larger dogs need more room than smaller ones, so that's a secondary consideration when measuring out the dog run footprint.

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The height of the dog run depends on how high your dog can jump. Chain-link or wooden-frame fencing should be at least 6 feet high. Covering the run with a permanent roof will solve the jumping problem. However, using a removable tarp will give you the option to remove it on cool days. On hot days, a cover provides shade.

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How to build a cheap dog run

Ideally, select an area of your yard that is shaded and away from wind with good drainage. Measure the length and width of the dog run and mark the perimeter with a chalk line or twine. Level the ground with a rake or garden tiller. Determine which end will have the gate.

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Chain-link fencing is a way to build a dog run that's cheap. You'll need to dig a fence pole hole in each corner that's about 12 to 24 inches deep. Then, dig post holes at equal intervals along the edge of the run. You'll need to fill these holes with 2 inches of gravel and then wet cement. Fence poles need to be secured into cement. For extra security, dig a groove that's 1 foot deep along the chalk line to bury one foot of the fence below ground level, as this prevents diggers from getting out.

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To install chain link, start at one corner and use pliers to attach ties to the chain link to each pole. You'll have to stretch the fence tightly as you go. In the opening remaining, attach the fence gate using hinges. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for details when installing both the fence and gate.

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Dog run considerations

Chain-link fencing is a way to build a dog run that's cheap.
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Select the gate latches carefully. Latches with an extra clasp that drop down are safer than other simple slide latches that some dogs can learn to open. If installing your own fencing is a challenge, many hardware stores have ready-made long, narrow dog runs that are easier to assemble. Ultimately, dog runs are for temporary confinement and not for all day. Otherwise, dogs might get lonely or bored and become neighborhood barkers.

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