When building a multi-dog kennel you must consider two priorities: safety and containment. The animals must be afforded safe, clean housing without being able to escape. Many building supply stores and feed stores now offer panels for assembly into kennel pens. This will offer a method of building the kennel using building materials and your own labour. The concept is to provide maximum containment and safety for any dog, even large breed or aggressive dogs.
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Things you need
- 9 each, 10" x 4" x 4" treated wood posts
- 11 each, 2" x 4" x 16' treated wood boards
- 0.454 Kilogram, 1 1/4" galvanised fence staples
- 5 each, 16' L x 5' H - 2" x 4" galvanised livestock panels
- 2 bags, 80-pound ready-mix concrete
- 10 each, 3/8" x 3" lag eye bolts
- 0.907 Kilogram, 4" galvanised nails
- 6 each, 16' x 36' sheets galvanised corrugated steel roofing
Design the steps you will take. The material list will provide two 8' x 16' covered runs. Choose a site that is convenient to observe and to access especially in poor weather. Confined dogs must be cared for every day so your convenience to access the kennel must be given some priority, as well. Water supply and feed storage concerns are also priorities for ease of management. Easy access to cleaning tools, grooming kits, leashes and other items are important, as well. So, choosing a site near an existing storage building or garage may be more desirable for water supply access and storage.
Dig nine holes for corner posts and support posts. Set posts at least 2' deep and put either front or back posts 1/2' lower to provide slope for the roof. Add concrete to each hole and set posts. Nail front and back 2" x 8" x 16' boards to support posts at final roof height, recalling the slope desired. Nail roof support boards at 2' intervals and attach to the front and rear roof frame boards. Complete the roof by nailing corrugated sheeting to the roof boards, overlapping six inches on each side of the kennel.
Attach galvanised livestock panels to the rear, sides and divider by nailing staples into the wood support posts. Attach the side panels and back panel to the outside of the structure. Use sufficient staples to securely attach the panels especially where a dog can reasonably push against the panels.
Cut the remaining panel in two 8' sections using a bolt cutter. Screw four of the eye bolts into the front wood support post on one side of the first opening. Screw one eye bolt midway from top to bottom on the opposite front support post. With a hammer, open the four bolts enough to attach the 8' livestock panel. Check the swing of the panel to assure clearance of the gate opening prior to closing each eye bolt with the hammer. Using a clamp or leash clasp, close and secure the gate to the eye bolt on the opposite front support. Repeat for the second opening to complete the enclosure. You are welcome to add as many runs as desired by adding three 4 x 4 posts; two livestock panels; two 2" x 8" x 16' treated boards; and three sheets of roofing steel for each section. The material list provided here will build two units.
Dogs must have a place to hide from wind and blowing rain, and to get off the ground. This can be done simply by purchasing a simple plastic barrel. Cut one end out of the barrel and attach the other end to a support post to keep it from rolling. The dog will have a place to escape from wind. Another simple, but effective, house is using your existing transport container as a house for the dog. Instead of storing the container (crate) when not in use, use it as the house within the fenced run for housing your dog will need.
Add siding to make the entire kennel into a dog "house." Add treated 2" x 4" x 8' boards to support plywood, corrugated metal (less maintenance) or metal covered plywood. For each 8'-section you convert, you will need three support boards, three metal sheets and nails or screws. Once the initial frame is completed, options to enclose all or part of the fenced kennel are limitless. You can match siding to your existing home (even brick) or add windows and personnel doors. Different roof designs can make the kennel more consistent with surrounding structures. Landscaping can be added for shade, visual continuity or for personal reasons. The choices are yours since the initial priorities have been met. Everything you add beyond this point is a reflection of your own taste and budget. The dog is safe, secure and contained.
Tips and warnings
- The method offered here provides greater strength and flexibility than commercially available pens. Most of those are built using 20-gauge materials rather than the nearly "pencil thick" 8-gauge or stronger steel-welded panels. By purchasing the materials and building it yourself, the cost is less, using much stronger materials.
- Flooring was not a part of construction. But, you may wish to pave or gravel some of the kennel area. Paving is easier to clean (just hose it) while much can be removed from gravel using a pitchfork. Grass, mud or sand is the least desirable since bacteria and parasite control is limited.
- Some dogs are just determined to get out and will dig under, climb over or eat through the containment. The method offered here will prevent the dogs from climbing and chewing their way out. Obviously, paving will eliminate any chance to dig out. But you may wish to dig a trench and actually lower the panel below the surface of the gravel or other flooring to mitigate against dogs who dig. Compromising to secure a "digger" may reduce the height of the perimeter to entice climbing. Use your own judgment based upon the breed characteristics of your own animals.
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