Dogs love to play around. As any dog owner knows, their beloved furry friend never tires of going on walks, playing catch, fetching the ball, or whatever their favorite game is. But whether your pup is a mountain dog or loves long walks on the beach, there are inevitably going to be times when you just can’t take your dog for a walk out of the house.
So, what to do?
If you have a backyard, your dog may not immediately engage with the private outdoor space. They might need just that extra bit of prodding to play around. So, what if your dog could be entertained in your very own backyard for hours? That’s where your DIY project comes in. With a little creative recycling, a little engineering, and a portion of ingenuity, you can easily craft the ultimate dog park in your very own backyard.
Let’s look at how.
Before you begin building your dream doghouse and backyard play park, you may want to take the time to sketch out your plan first. Take measurements of your backyard space to see how much equipment and how many stationary toys you can fit. Do you want to build an elaborate obstacle course, or just one simple challenge element to spice up your backyard ball toss?
Make measurements, take notes, and do some research for inspiration. The sky is the limit when it comes to the creative refurbishing of your backyard space. Try browsing through DIY blogs online, check-in with pet owner’s forums on the internet, and borrow some books on DIY building and backyard design from the library. Books like this can be an especially valuable resource if you are a beginner with power tools and construction. Just follow the maxim: measure twice, cut once. Or measure three times, just to be on the safe side.
Once you have your backyard puppy palace all sketched out, you can start to gather materials. Some people might prefer to gather materials first, and then brainstorm what can be made from them. If you have easy access to old car tires, for example, then you might be inspired to create a tire slide, a crawl tunnel, or a hoop for your pup to jump through.
Make your plans and then let your materials inspire your designs and ideas. One great source of materials for creating puppy play spaces is the local junkyard. There you will be able to find all kinds of odds and ends that you can reuse, and often those materials are free. Look for sturdy timber, rubber tires, and old outdoor furniture. Broken down with the proper tools and reassembled, those raw materials can create some fantastic play areas for your trusted canine companion.
Assemble Your Structure
If you are looking for a classic idea for a structure made of recycled materials, try your local shipping yard. A shipping container makes an excellent foundation, inside of which you can build a complicated obstacle course, a cozy doghouse, and more.
Just make sure you have cleaned it thoroughly and removed any potentially harmful chemical coatings or lead-based paints. Not all shipping containers have harmful materials, but some do, so be sure to check with your shipping container provider and take extra precautions just in case.
Line the bottom of your shipping container with cozy materials to make an attractive soft playpen for your pup. Or for more active uses, like a dog run or obstacle course, try to fill in the bottom with a material that is soft on dog paws, like limestone or gravel chips, or wood chips.
Here are a few more ideas for how to repurpose a shipping container to make a backyard puppy playpen:
-Make a dog run
If you can’t make it to the public dog run, then providing an enclosed space for your dog to run wild can be a great alternative. This is probably the simplest way to repurpose a shipping container for your dog, since the enclosure is already there, and provides its own shade. All you need to do is make sure the floor of the container is filled in with dog-friendly materials. Then encourage your dog to run wild inside the enclosure.
-Set up a dog washing station
If you have kids, this can be a great way to keep your pups clean, and your kids occupied. Set up a dog washing station with all the supplies- you can even encourage your children to make this their local neighborhood business. That way, any of the neighbors can come by, drop off their dog, and pay your kids a small amount to wash, shampoo, dry, brush, and style them. It beats the traditional neighborhood lemonade stand by a long shot.
-Create the ultimate dog park
Using wood, tires, metal shelves, or other stable materials, you can create the dog-friendly version of an at-home skateboarding ramp. Cobble together an obstacle course that will keep your pup challenged, with jumps, crawl tunnels, obstacles to leap over, and even a slide. Just make sure the structure is safe and secure, and that there is no way for Fido to get stuck. The last thing you want is to have to conduct a rescue mission in your own obstacle course.
-Deck out the doghouse
If you are one of those families that keep the dogs outside to sleep, consider upgrading the doghouse. A shipping container is a spacious, inexpensive building material, making it perfect for a luxurious doghouse. You can arrange sections with your dog’s favorite pillows doggie beds, blankets, and toys. You can even include a dining area, with food and water bowls. It will be like your pooch has its own private backyard apartment.
The great thing about starting with a shipping container to build your ultimate doggie playpen or backyard dog park is that it is a self-contained, enclosed, secure structure. Plus, it provides its own shade. Easy to assemble, clean, and maintain, it can provide a solid foundation for whatever kind of doggie exercise for your emotional support dog.