Need a DIY, cheap way to safely entertain an energetic dog without a 6 foot fence? Do you need to keep your dog out of the garden? Try installing a dog run! We recently adopted a Siberian Husky puppy (who we named Chloe) and let me tell you, she MUST run, dig, and get herself into trouble daily. It is a Husky’s nature. While a dog run is by no means intended to replace a good, long, healthy walk every day, it does provide an added layer of safety during those times when we just need to be out in the yard. I am not sure where Eddie got this genius idea, but we thought we would share it with you. And it is so simple, it will blow your mind. Here is a quick video to show how happy she is on her dog run and how well she entertains herself when I cannot play!
What You Need For Installing a Dog Run:
- 1 or 2 fence post holders/brackets similar to this (affiliate link). Whether you need one or two will depend on whether you have a good solid structure you can use as the second post, like we did. Read on.
- 1 or 2 6 ft, 4 x 4 pressure treated fence posts
- Two heavy duty three inch eye bolts like these (affiliate link)
- A long, sturdy rope or steel cable. Whether you need just rope or a steel cable depends on the breed of dog and how strong he or she is. We are using a rope for now, but when Chloe gets big, we will change over to steel cable.
- A lead, leash, or chain depending on the strength of your dog and his or her pertinacity to chew through them. For puppies & small breed dogs, you can likely get away with a long leash. For adult large breed dogs, consider something sturdier that they cannot chew through.
How To Approach Installing a Dog Run:
Well, there are two ways you can come at this … you can do what we did and just wing it. We determined the space to which we wanted to allow Chloe access, visualized it, and guestimated the measurements. Had it not worked as we intended, we could always make adjustments in the lead/leash length. However, if you have some heroic need to be precise and to put all those hard earned college degrees to good use, you can always … wait for it … USE MATH! I am hard pressed to see the point in all that when guessing seems to work just fine, but according to Eddie, you can employ a right triangle calculator like this one and your equation would look like this:
A is the height of your posts, B is the maximum distance your pup can travel outward from the rope or steel cable, and C is the hypotenuse (whatever that is, but it has to do with the length of the lead/leash and its angle). Personally, I think it is all over kill, but if you are curious and good with math … have fun with it. I am neither curious nor good at math. So, winging it works for me.
The Steps For Installing a Dog Run
- Pick a spot where it is both safe and convenient to allow your dog to run, go potty, and play. Measure that space. Take any nearby obstacles or low rise fences (fences your dog can jump over) into consideration. You do not want to get too close to any low rise fence lines and have your buddy jump that fence and hang himself. Make sure there is plenty of clearance. Here is an aerial diagram using the example of a 20′ run with an 8′ lead (note that either of the two posts can actually be a stud in a permanent structure which is what we did):
- Pound the first (or only) fence post holder deep into the ground on one end of the space you have allotted. Remember that your pup will be able to go just beyond that post and how far will depend on the length of the lead/leash.
- Also note, the dog is likely to wrap itself around the post and get stuck. You could put some sort of barrier in place so he cannot go around the post to begin with or you could install a “stop” on the rope or cable so that the dog cannot reach the post. What kind of “stop?” I have no idea. Get creative. What are we doing? We are trying to teach Chloe to “go back” and she will unwrap herself most of the time. My dad’s dog understands “go back” so we figure Chloe can learn it too. Besides, she is rarely out unsupervised for more than a minute or two.
- Pound the second post holder (if not using a structure) into its respective spot.
- If using a structure, drill a pilot hole and install one eye bolt in to a secure stud. If using a second fence post, drill a pilot hole and install it into the top of the fence post.
- Install the other eye bolt into the top of the other fence post.
- Place the post(s) into the post holder(s) and tighten at the base(s) or secure with large bolts.
- Thread the rope or steel cable through either eye bolt and tie securely.
- Slip the lead/leash onto the rope or cable.
- Thread the other end of the rope or cable through the other eye bolt. Tie securely.
- Attach dog to the end of the lead/leash and throw a ball or Frisbee to her.
- Now just watch her run … without fear she is going to run off!
In our case, we put the second eye bolt deep into a stud attached to the house itself near the porch door (very convenient when it is raining, sleeting & snowing). But if that will not work for you just get a second post holder & post. Here is our usual photo montage to illustrate.
I stress, however, not to let having a dog run spoil you. It is NOT intended as a replacement for your dog’s daily walks & runs. You still have to do that just like always. But it does come in handy when you need to work outside and for those 5:30 AM raining/snowing mornings (when you are still in your jammies) and somebody needs to go potty right NOW.
So far, it has worked out great. Like I said, she is never unattended (for more than a quick refill on my coffee) but it lets her “feel” reasonably free, prevents her from jumping our 4′ fence (we will get a 6′ next year), and I can still work in the garden while keeping an eye on her. She can see me so she does not feel alone and entertains herself with a chew toy, chases the crickets in the grass, or relentlessly harasses Frankie (who is learning to actually like her … a little bit).
What other ideas do you have to keep a big dog safely contained and entertained?