Everything You Wanted to Know About Building or Buying a Dog Run

My new puppy (Eevee) is a handful!  After constantly running inside and outside the house, we needed to get her a fenced in area to play. That is how we found a dog run. Our new puppy is an energetic labradoodle that needs room to play. She was by far the largest of her litter and at six months old is a whopping sixty pounds! This means she will be a HUGE dog. What is worse? She has endless energy. She barely sleeps. All she does is run, play, and eat. This is why my husband and I needed a solution. We found dog runs. There are two types of runs, and both can be excellent choices for an excited pooch.

What is a Dog Run?

Dog Run

A Dog Run is a miniature fenced in the area designed to be a play or relaxation area outside. The size, shape and construction can vary wildly. This causes most people to know what they are looking for. If you have even been to a Dog Park, you know exactly what a Dog Run is. Normally, a park will have a main fence, and then inside will be a segregated run for dogs to play without a leash. Perfectly shaped to give a dog room to run around and play. The main perk is you can leave toys or obstacles inside the dog run and let your furry buddy play all day.  Dog Runs have a huge advantage over just a regular fence.

The Dog Park type of Dog Runs are often large. It is the fenced off section of a public park that allows a dog to run unleashed. Nearly every local dog park will have an outdoor dog run. Ten years ago runs were uncommon. You would have to search out special parks to find a dog run. Now? Every major city has one because they are safe and more enjoyable for dogs.

But if your dog is anything like my dog, a daily run and bi-weekly trip to a dog park just will not suffice. This is where a personal dog run comes into play. You can build a run for your dog at home which is safe, secure, and allows you to not worry about your dog running amok.

Dog Run Ideas – DIY or Buy?

Dog Run Ideas

Hyper active dog? Check. Huge yard without a fence? This second question will direct you to either buy a dog run or start looking for run ideas. You realistically have three options when building your own run. Each option has unique advantages which depend on your dog size, yard size, and obstacles in your yard.

  1. DIY Puppy Run
  2. Dog Run Cable
  3. Or Find a Puppy Run for Sale

Be honest here. If you have a large yard, have a large breed dog (Or a very energetic mid size dog) and are willing to build your own run, I would always suggest you do it yourself. When building it yourself, you have to stick to the basics. A dog run is usually very tall chain link fence. The DIY Run has the main perk of being far cheaper than fencing an entire yard. An at home run will also have at least a floor and most likely a ceiling.

The floor be build out of anything, even dirt. But want a material your dog will not bite or dig through. I normally use composite board, or pebble stone that I pack in. Some people use metal, but I find this dangerous if you have a dedicated chewer. You can also use concrete but that is expensive and I am not too keen on my dogs running on concrete all day, especially in the heat.

If building your self, you absolutely want a great cover. Depending on climate, a plastic tarp can do. You just want to have at least some of the run shaded, and out of the sun for the hot days.

Dog Run Size Matters!

Get your mind out of the gutter – although size does matter. For dog runs, one that is too small will be uncomfortable for your furry friend. If you’re keeping your pup locked away in an area that’s too small, it can be considered cruelty, especially if left outside for extended periods of time. Extended time, in boredom or unsavory conditions (Read: Heat or Bad Weather) and you have a determined dog trying to escape. 

Lucky for us, the Humane Society has Dog Run requirements. 

The average run should be:

  • 3 feet by 10 feet long
  • The height should be at least 6 feet

If your dog is over 100 pounds, the width should be increased by one foot. While dogs that are over 200 pounds aren’t typical but exist, you should increase by another foot if they appear to be over this number on the scale.

Not pleased with these figures? Another way of determining the best size run for your pooch is to multiply their length by 5. There are laws to abide by when it comes to the scale of a dog run, and it should fit within the regulations of the Animal Welfare Act.

If the space you give them does not allow them to sit, stand, lie comfortably, and walk in a normal way, then your space is not big enough for them. They should be allowed exercise and to rest comfortably accordingly to the regulations given by the humane society.

These rules are like kennel or cage rules. The height is entirely designed to prevent even the best jumpers from escaping a dog run. The roof absolutely helps here. The last rule of a DIY run is to have enough shaded space for your puppy to lie down at any time of the day and be out of the sun.

What about a Dog Run Cable?

A Dog Run Cable is essentially a metal woven cable with a stake you drive into the ground. This is is my least favorite option, but are the least expensive. You can get dozens of feet with a Dog Run Cable, but an aggressive or excited dog can pull the stake out of the ground. But when you can’t build it yourself or do not have the room, this is a decent option.

You must make sure the yard you have the dog run cable void of any obstructions your puppy can wrap around. Putting the stake in concrete also helps vastly. I discourage using a dog run cable if you do not already have a fenced yard. Worst case scenario is your dog will break free.

Advantages of buying a Dog Run


Dog Run for Sale

The advantage should be pretty clear. When buying you always get features such as:

  1. A built in warrenty
  2. Easy of installation
  3. Included instructions
  4. Customer support
  5. Measurements already handled
  6. Proper material
  7. Saves space over a DIY

Those are just the basics. Your average DIY’er is not going to be able to properly weld the corners of the chain link fence and will most likely skimp. The best part of Dog Run for Sale is the pre determined measurements. Just like a kennel or cage, every Dog Run you buy includes recommended dog sizes. Rather than doing the math yourself, you are guaranteed to get a good one.

Plus, I enjoy the reviews I get from big online retailers. I can pick one of many that fit my needs. Buy buying is not for everyone, far from it.

Wrap-up – My Recommendations for a Dog Run

When all is said and done, you need a great dog run that will fit your sized dog and provides them with the appropriate outdoor shelter. Each common type has it’s own benefits. 

The public dog park run is the perfect option for people with no yard or a small yard. Or with young dogs that need socialization. Do not forget the puppies who hate to be alone. Since most cities have dog parks now, this should not be a big deal to find one. Most city parks require a dog to be fixed and licensed to go to a park. In my area, you need to pay for admittance to several near by parks but they have an even better run, doggie water areas and plenty of shade to cool down.

If you have a big yard, have out door dogs, or a dog that keeps jumping over your regular fence, a DIY Dog Run is a fantastic option. You do need some basic handy man skills, a truck or large vehicle for supplies and a lot of tools and skills. But if you are handy at all, it can be done.

After that you have the dog run cable. I consider it crude, but it is far better than nothing. Designed with the strength to withstand a teething puppy, and coming in various lengths, you can find something for your needs.

My Favorite Run

My personal favorite is to buy a dog run. I am slightly handy, but my husband would be the one to install a dog run for us. We have a small yard. All the indicators point to buying a run. But the real reason why I lean this way is I want to guarantee my run is built right for my fur baby. My puppy, Eevee, will be a big dog, she is teething, she can already jump over three feet, and is expected to be 100 pounds and lean. Although a cable may be designed to withstand teething, I have seen my puppy chew through lite metal (She went through a phase of enjoying it) and anything wood or plastic like.

She is also a digger. Knowing I have a properly enclosed run from top to bottom, that is shaded and she can grow into is all I need to know. It is the best option for my family. But as long as you get your dog an outdoor play place, all is good. Just like a kennel or cage, a dog wants their own safe place. Add in the fun exercise a reprieve from bad weather, a run will be the best gift you ever got your puppy.