Main > Best way to build a dog run? (25 replies)

by EKvonEarnhardt on 22 January 2012 - 22:01

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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 12:06 am
 We are wanting to biuld or buy kennels but have some problems with fence fighting
, we need a roof and want a surface  easy to clean or kept clean but don't want to use concrete. Has to house 6 dogs.

Any thoughts, opinions are welcome

PS pictures would be great :)

EK

by gsdsch3v on 22 January 2012 - 22:01

Posts: 234
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 06:01 am
Looking forward to what others have to say on this topic.  I want to redo mine in the future.  I was thinking of getting a steel building and modifying it for kennels, and adding outdoor runs with it.

by Donald Harris on 22 January 2012 - 22:01

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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:33 pm
Look at the horse mats from tractor supply. They are very nice for kennel flooring. There are company's that sell kennels online like you want. They have dividers for them to. Not sure of the website.

by Jenni78 on 22 January 2012 - 23:01

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Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 03:24 pm
Where do you live, EK?

I almost had some custom made like the Amish make. I lived too far away to have the shipping be worthwhile, but I had a lot of plans drawn up and got some good ideas. http://www.amishbackyardstructures.com/dogcabins.html
http://www.barnraisersheds.com/animal-shelters.html
I took an idea like this and modified it greatly. I turned it into a square building w/2 runs on each side. I was going to have solid wood between the dogs, so they had 2 open sides and couldn't see each other. Composite decking is used on the outside part. There are a lot of pictures of similar structures online; you could show them to a carpenter and I'm sure get them built reasonably. I was going to use my panels from the kennels I already had instead of the chainlink. I don't use chainlink. I have Options Plus Platinum and Ultra series kennels. No complaints. 

http://www.helmuthbuilders.com/_images/animal-shelters/dog-kennel/kennel-9.jpg

by northwoodsGSD on 23 January 2012 - 00:01

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We just redid our kennels this past summer. Even tho I don't have any fence fighters at this time, I planned the possibilty of a future one into the plans.
As you can see the kennels from our house, I wanted something that was both secure & nice to look at. We ended up using cedar privacy fence panels for the main outside walls & also for the dividing walls. We made our own front pieces/gates to fit the front of each run. 
For the ground, we graded the whole area where the kennels are & compacted the dirt completely. We put down road fabric then crushed limestone. We compacted the limestone, waited until a good rain, then compacted it again. 
We now have a super firm, but non-callous footing in the runs. The dogs seem to really like it. It held up great all summer & is continuing to impress me through our ice, snow, freezing temps winter.
I did put down a rubber horse stall mat in each kennel(for dogs to lay on) in the same area their dog house & water bucket is. This is all under the roof area. We also ran an outlet to each kennel, all dogs have heated water buckets in winter.
My kennel runs are each 8'x25'. 

by EuroShepherd on 23 January 2012 - 03:01

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In my experience, the roof is more important than the flooring.  Keeping the kennel dry makes it much easier to keep clean.  Second most important is floor with good drainage.  Some kind of drainage is a must so the dogs stay dry and clean. 

If you don't want to use a building then Car ports or clearspan structures are ideal for small kennels with outdoor runs.  Open metal barns like what Elephant Barns sells can be attractive and fairly priced.  You can get goat/sheep fence panels which are very strong (stronger than most kennel panels) for about $55 each.  They are 4 ft tall and 16 ft long, so either stack them on top of each other for an 8 ft. tall kennel run or use a less expensive material 2ft or taller to run along top of the fence panels. 
If you have an issue with fence fighting than use something to block the dogs from seeing each other; wood, solid color hard plastic sheets or metal sheets (be careful of sharp edges) between each run to block vision. 

I've cleaned all kinds of kennels; concrete surfaced, special resin/sealed surfaces, asphalt, big gravel, small gravel, mulch, dirt, stone pavers and concrete pavers.  My favorite by far is concrete pavers.  They drained well, dogs never slipped on them, they keep the dogs nails well filed so their nails don't need trimmed (except dewclaws), they are easy to thoroughly clean and they sanitize well. 
Concrete pavers need to be laid very well, need to dig 1-2 feet down, put down a layer of filler then a layer of pea gravel and then the paver need to be fitted very tight so there are no gaps that nails or toes can get caught in.  It's less expensive than poured concrete but more expensive than some of the other options. 
Dogs will need beds/cots or some kind of softer surface that they can lay on if they wish if you use any hard or rough surfaces. 

Northwood's kennel surface sounds very interesting, never seen it or cleaned that kind of surface but I would like to try it too.  Sounds like it may be less expensive than the pavers. 

by Leslee on 25 January 2012 - 05:01

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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 04:44 am

What Makes a good Dog Kennel or Dog Run?

I am a kennel expert who has been designing and building dog kennels for many years now full time and wanted to share the information that I have learned over the years to my fellow dog lovers. If you still have a question on how to build the perfect environment for your dogs to live in, then just ask and I would be glad to help you out. So I have listed below the most important feature a kennel must have.  

Please if you feel I have left something out let me know?

***NOTE*** I have underline products with a video demonstration on youtube.

What makes a good Dog Kennel or Dog Run?

·         Easy Cleaning, Sanitation & Comfort

·         Easy Feeding

·         Escape Proof

·         Enough Room for Exercise

·         Protection Shaded from the Sun and Sheltered from the Rain, Snow and Wind.

Ease of Cleaning:

Dogs like to do their business in the end of the run furthest away from his sleeping area. That usually means the end where the gate is located. Nothing is more disgusting than going out to feed and water your dog and stepping right in dog feces or even having your dog step in it and then jump up on you. Putting the gate on the dog house end makes it hard to clean the kennel and also makes it hard to get past the house to make your entry and exit. Putting the door in the middle of the run makes it easy to Come and go, feed, and fetch him through the nice clean walk way of the side gate. Not having to step through the doggie land mine field.

The best way to keep your kennel clean is to build it on a concrete pad with an outer perimeter of gravel (discussed above) for catching water run-off. Gravel runs cannot be adequately disinfected. Concrete is much easier to disinfect with a bleach solution or other disinfecting product. Most dogs will run the grass down over time and you will find your dog kenneled in dirt or mud. Your run will be easier to clean if it is set on a concrete pad. However, if concrete is undesirable or impractical for your backyard kennel. Kennel flooringis the next best thing. There are two types of flooring for dog kennels. The first is tile kennel flooring which is easy to spray off and helps prevent weeds from growing throughout the kennel. The next type is raised kennel flooring which I prefer is both easy to clean but creates an air-flow underneath the floor and is very easy to clean. (Kennel Flooring is less expensive and can be installed in just minutes plus it is portable) and then using pea gravel at the end of the run. Put pea gravel in the last 4 feet of the elimination end. Dig the soil out about 8 inches deep. Put a layer of lime on top of the dirt (to neutralize the odor of urine), then spread a deep layer of pea gravel on top. It will be good for your dog's feet. It is easy to clean.

Doggie Septic: Consider a Dog Septic system and a Pooper Scooper Install it in the end of the run and hang the scooper close by on the kennel. Scoop the run and deposit the "deposits" directly into the in-ground septic container and never think about it again. These are great in areas where the ground is dry. It helps eliminate order in the garbage cans which we all know is not pleasant at all. It is easy to use and if installed right outside the kennel makes it convenient to dispose of waste without having to carry it all the way to the garbage can.

Enough room for exercise:

For exercise, it is often more important to have length than width. If you have a choice between a 8' x 12' run or a 6' x 18' run, or even a 8’ x 24’  the 24' run is better for the dog. It gives your dog more getting-up-to-speed running in its kennel. It also allows him to do its business in an end far away from his housing and feeding quarters. 

Protection Shade & Shelter:

Most dog kennel come with some kind of cover (I do not recommend the plastic tarps they weather and tear quickly,Dog Kennel canvas cover tops or Dog Kennel corrugated metal tops will last for years.) If not they should as dogs quickly overheat. Their cooling mechanism is not as efficient as a human. If you expect the dog house or a shed to be the only shelter from the sun, it must have a LARGE bottom air gap through which air can pass freely, and very few dog houses have such a ventilation system because dogs do not sweat. So any kind of top on your kennel would help keep the temperature down.

Easy Feeding:

There are several options for feeding and watering the dogs in the kennel. For backyard kennels, it is easiest to use an automatic water bowl. Attach it near the house where the dog can go directly to it to get his drink. Food bowls should also be placed near the house end.

Kennel mounted food and water bowls are really nice. This will keep your dog from knocking over its bowl and making a mess. Also it lets you raise the bowls off of the ground - a good idea to deter ants and animals such as rats and mice. Even better is a Swivel Bowl system which allows you to feed your pet from the outside of the run for convenience. This is an especially attractive option if you have children feeding your pet or you are dressed for work and need to make sure the dog is well-fed before you leave.

Escape Proof:

Anti-Digging Bars or Kennel Flooring Systems and Tops Covers; If you have a dog that enjoys digging you know how frustrating it can be--especially if they use that "love of digging" to dig out of their kennel or fence.  Short of pouring cement in your back yard there hasn't been much one could do to prevent this problem; but no more!   Now they have a Digging Prevention System.  The Digging Prevention System is simple: Anti-digging bars surround the interior panels of the Kennel; these bars attach to the kennel itself and act as a simple "stopper." Dogs can't chew or claw through these bars and they certainly can't fit through them.

 

Multiple Kennel Systems:

Three items to consider when you have multiple in-line kennels:  Anti-Fighting Partition PanelsRaised Kennel Flooring and Swivel Bowl Systems.

 

If anyone feels that I have left out any major or minor things for the best way to build a dog kennel, I would really like to hear your opinion?

 

by Sunsilver on 25 January 2012 - 15:01

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Thank you, LeeLee! That's REALLY good info! And you did it all without tooting your own horn too much, so I really hope the mods won't see it as advertising, and remove it.

I run a boarding kennel. One thing I can tell you from experience: if you have a indoor or outdoor kennel, with a centre aisle, and runs/kennels on each side, it will save you TONS of time if the gates to the runs and kennels are wide enough to block off the whole aisle when open.

Let me explain: because of our cold climate, we do not use the sliding doors in the winter. Instead we run the dogs in and out. We only use leashes (nooses, actually) if a dog is unco-operative, and doesn't know where to go. Most of them learn pretty fast.

Having the doors block off the whole aisle prevents the dog from running past its designated spot and possibly starting a fence fight with the dogs further down the kennel or run. And it saves you the aggravation and time of having to herd it back to where it's supposed to be.

Also, make sure you think carefully about which way you want the doors to swing when designing your kennel. Once section of our kennel has the doors swing so the dog has to go around them in order to get to its designated spot. (This section also dioesn't have guillotine doors inside the kennels.) If I were redesigning the kennel or building a new one, this is something I would definitely fix!

I inherited this place from the previous owners, and it was definitely NOT designed very well. Some parts of it serve as a wonderful example of what NOT to do. For instance, a drainage channel runs through the middle of the largest runs, meaning the pee from one run goes into the next. This channel should have been placed outside the run fence, in the centre aisle.

Also, there is no separation between runs other than the chain link, which means male dogs can pee from one run into the other, and can fence-fight. We get around that by being careful which runs we put problem dogs in. And one of these days, I will buy panels to attach to the chain link to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, other things take priority, like installing shade panels for some of the outdoor runs and fixing leaky roofs! Since clients these days watch Cesar on TV, and expect all dogs to play together like one big, happy family, I've stopped worrying about the pee problem quite so much, though I do plan to do something about it when I can afford it. Right now, I am trying to put my money into things that will make the clients happy, in order to build up the business.  If I made my money from breeding dogs, I would be much more worried about dogs catching things from one another.  Not that I don't spend most of my day doing cleaning and maintenance on the kennel as it is...

I would love to have a doggie septic system. I am not allowed to put the poop out to the curb, and have to haul it to the dump, and pay to dispose of it. My last dump bill was $17.00!  It really adds up over the course of the year.

Just curious to know what the rest of you do about winter sanitation? With temps below freezing for days at a time, and drainage channels blocked with ice, I obviously cannot hose down the runs. The previous owners told me they would leave the snow on the runs, and it would serve as a blotter to absorb the pee. Not an ideal solution, but it's better than having the concrete covered with a layer of frozen pee!

When I am rich and famous, I will redo the runs with electric heating cables running underneath them. Right now, I'm having enough trouble paying the electricity bill for heating the kennel during winter!

And LeeLee is right: pee....er, PEA GRAVEL SUXS!  One of my biggest expenses this year was re-doing the large pea gravel exercise yard where we turn out our own dogs. Between my business partner and myself, we had 7 large dogs using that area, and despite frequent bleachings, and the application of other more expensive deodorizing solutions, by mid-summer, the area stank something awful.  Hosing it down did nothing. As a matter of fact, it was at its worst after a heavy rain!  And all those dogs out there packed the gravel down to the point where some areas of the yard wouldn't drain properly, and there would be large puddles after a rain.

In the fall, we rented a bobcat, and had some fresh gravel delivered. As we dug down, we found the problem was there were deposits of clay mixed in with the sand that was underneath the yard. The clay absobed the pee, bacteria went to work on it, and that's what was causing the odor. We remove a LOT of gravel and soil, graded the yard as best we could, and then sprinkled lime before laying fresh gravel. It took a total of 13 hours, but we've had no problems since. (Crosses fingers!)  We used a larger type of stone, like the sort they put on gravel driveways, and I hope it won't compact the way the pea gravel did. In the heavy traffic areas, the pea gravel was compacted into a very hard layer about 8 to 10 inches thick! 

by djc on 25 January 2012 - 17:01

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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2003 03:16 pm
Will be re-doing mine soon. I've had a terrible experience with the welded wire panels! DON'T BOTHER WITH THEM if you have large active dogs. Most of mine slam the sides when excited and it breaks loose ALL of the welds, breaks many of the wires so that many of the panels are falling off of the frames. This all in less than a year! I got the thickest most durable and approved for GSD's, but it was totally useless in a few short months. I could have gotten them warranteed, but they would only replace them and not give me my money back. I will not use them ever again! I am going back to chainlink!! It flexes when they slam but does not give way. I got away from chainlink because it is so easy for GSD's to climb, as their feet fit right into the rounded openings, but my climbers still climbed the welded wire. So there will be top panels on at least a few of them.    
     The best divider would be the 1/2 size concrete block, but since you are not going to use that, the next best is thin solid aluminum panels that attach to the chainlink/pipe frame very similarly to how the chainlink attaches to the frame.
     I do know that others have told me that you need AT LEAST 6 inches of drain angle to get the best drainage. Horse matting is good but VERY heavey to move and clean under.
Hope that helps some anyway...
Debby

by Jenni78 on 25 January 2012 - 17:01

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DJC, what welded wire kennels did you have that gave out? 

by djc on 25 January 2012 - 17:01

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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2003 03:16 pm
Can't remember the brand but I did research on what were the most durable and heavest and ended up getting them at TSC.  It is whatever their best is, which is very much the same as all the other tough ones I looked at.  I think the wire it's self was 9 gauge.
Debby

by Jenni78 on 25 January 2012 - 17:01

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Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 03:24 pm
I know what they were, then. Thanks. 

The ones I have "give." Only the wire is welded, and it's got a soft coating on it, but it is affixed to the frame very differently. It goes into holes in the frame and wraps around so it can't be pulled out (easily, anyway) but flexes. My Pit Bull did manage to pull a few strands loose, but he worked on it overnight and he is by no means an "averagely" destructive dog. He has destroyed solid metal crates, as well. I like the soft wires because they don't ruin their teeth as badly if they do pull on them. They're 8 gauge. 

I don't use my kennels like most people, though. They are for occasional use only, though my dogs are harder on them than most. 

by Two Moons on 25 January 2012 - 18:01

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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 07:21 pm
Perhaps you should visit a modern zoo and look at some of the latest technology that they use.

by Sunsilver on 26 January 2012 - 14:01

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Deb, 6 inches of drain angle? You mean that's how much the kennel should slope from one end to the other, in order for the pee and wash water to drain off properly?

by djc on 26 January 2012 - 14:01

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Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2003 03:16 pm
Yes, but that is over the length of a 10+ foot run, not the inside area.
Debby

by Sunsilver on 26 January 2012 - 16:01

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Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 09:04 pm
DUH! Of course, I meant to say 'run', not 'kennel'!

My runs are arched in the middle so the water drains onto grass at one end, and into a drainage channel at the other.

by Avery Hill Kennels on 26 January 2012 - 20:01

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Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 06:01 pm

I also have the heavy ones from TS and they SUCK
I have had three dogs so far that have busted the welds out and impaled their foot on the wires that were now sticking out from the busted welds.
I wouldn't recommend these to anyone with high drive dogs that fence fight.

by djc on 27 January 2012 - 16:01

Posts: 1267
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2003 03:16 pm
Exactly Avery Hill!!!
I REALLY want to get the vertical bar pannels like they have in Germany. Does anyone know if we can get them here in the USA?
Debby

by seby on 27 January 2012 - 19:01

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by dogshome9 on 28 January 2012 - 08:01

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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 05:06 am

Here are a couple of shots of my indoor kennels built using heavy duty mesh panels with a rolled over edge top and bottom and the doors were custom made. We had one end erected by a trades man 5 kennels in all and at the other end of the shed my OH built 4 more himself and saved a fortune.These are inside a shed 60ft x 30ft with full height sliding farm doors that are open during the day revealing 6ft mesh gates. These kennels are used at night or when the weather is bad during the day.
I was very lucky the shed was already here when we bought the property.
I know that you are looking for strength and these are very strong and I am sure that you could customize these into your indoor outdoor kennel block.




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