Did you like to read Charlie Brown comics as a kid, or enjoy watching Charlie Brown television specials? Then you probably remember Charlie Brown’s trusty beagle and best friend, Snoopy.
Snoopy got into many adventures, from writing letters to fighting against the Red Barron in the First World War, but the one constant for Snoopy was his dog house. The image of Snoopy sleeping, sitting, or holding meetings on top of his dog house became iconic to his character.
But dog houses aren’t just for cartoons. A dog house can be a great place for your favorite furry friend to hang out during the day.
Now, chances are your dog won’t turn his dog house into an office, or a fighter jet, like Snoopy did. But that doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t deserve a special place to retreat.
If you’ve always dreamed of building a dog house for your dog, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at how to build a large dog house for the dog you love.
Why Build a Dog House?
Before we get into how to build a large dog house, let’s discuss why a dog house is a great idea for your dog.
Here are a couple of reasons why we think a dog house is a great investment.
1. Dog houses provide necessary shelter
Some dogs spend a large part of their day outside. They like smelling new smells, seeing who’s in the neighborhood, and listening to what’s going on around them. Also, it’s good for large dogs to run around outside and get exercise.
If your dog is anything like mine, then she probably bugs you to go outside several times a day!
While our dogs love spending time outside, it is our job as our owners to make sure they’re safe and healthy out there.
In the summertime, dogs who spend too much time out in the heat can suffer heat stroke. Or, a dog that gets caught out in the rain could catch a chill and get sick.
Learning how to build a large dog house can provide some shelter to your dog, shielding them from the elements. This way, they can continue to spend time outside without adversely affecting their health.
That said, keep in mind that a dog house is not intended to be a permanent structure for your dog. Dogs who are kept outside tend to be unhappy and unhealthy. A dog house should be a place outside for your dog to retreat to, not where they sleep every night.
2. Dog houses provide a sense of security
Most dogs–even large dogs–enjoy curling up in cozy spaces.
For example, many dogs like sleeping under beds, or couches, or tables, because it makes them feel secure.
This is why many vets and dog trainers recommend crates for dogs. A properly sized crate provides a dog with safe and dedicated space they can relax in.
Essentially, a dog house can provide dogs with the same benefits.
As people, we tend to use the phrase, “in the dog house,” in reference to a negative situation. For instance, we use it to describe a spouse who has done something to upset their partner.
This connotation, however, misrepresents the purpose a dog house serves. The dog house isn’t a place to send your dog to when you’re upset with him. Rather, it’s a safe haven for your dog to enjoy.
When you take the time to learn how to build a large dog house, you’re taking the time to help make your dog feels secure.
If your dog already likes using a crate inside the house, then he’ll likely take quickly to a dog house.
How to Build a Dog House
If you’re convinced that a dog house would be perfect for your dog, then it’s time to learn how to build a large dog house. Let’s take a look at what that process will look like.
Have a plan
Whenever you build something, it’s important to start with clear building plans. That’s why the first step is getting a pattern that will work for your project.
This is especially important if learning how to build a large dog house is one of your first building projects. You don’t want to just guess what your sizes and measurements will be. Instead, you want to model your project off of plans made by a more experienced builder.
Make sure to find plans for a dog house big enough for your dog. Even if your dog is a puppy now, she’s eventually going to get bigger. Build a dog house that will be a good fit throughout her life.
Additionally, make sure to choose a plan that fits your skills level. Dog house projects can vary widely in complexity.
For instance, when most people think of a dog house, they picture the traditional A-frame style. This is a fairly simple project and a good choice for builders with beginner to moderate skill levels.
If you’re a handy person, however, then feel free to get creative with your plans. Plenty of enthusiastic dog owners have built their dog’s unique houses. For instance, you can build your dog a house with a rooftop veranda, or a house that looks like a log cabin.
The only limit is your imagination.
The key is, to be honest with yourself about what you can accomplish. If you try to take on something too complex, you may get frustrated, and quit halfway through.
Luckily, the internet makes it easy to find and print dog house plans online. You can find a plan that meets your specific needs.
Get the tools you need
The next step when learning how to build a dog house is to gather the tools you need to do the job.
There’s nothing worse than getting started on a project, and then realizing halfway through that you’re missing a crucial piece, or tool. Leaving the project to get the missing items can break your focus, or make you lose your momentum.
For this reason, we recommend making a list of everything you will need to complete the project. Then, before you make the first cut or measurement, make sure that you have all of these materials.
The tools you’ll need to build a dog house are basically standard tools that most homeowners should have on hand.
For example, you’ll want to make sure you have measuring tape for measuring materials to the sizes specified on the plans. Additionally, you’ll need a wood saw to cut the plywood down to the measured size.
To hold the dog house together, you’ll need a combination of wood screws and nails. The wood screws will hold the framing and siding of the house together. Meanwhile, the nails will be used to attach the roof.
Finally, you’ll need a drill to work with the screws, and a hammer to work with the nails.
If you plan on painting the dog house, you’ll also need standard painting supplies. We recommend both a paint roller and a paintbrush, as well as a paint scraper.
Again, if you don’t already have these tools in your home, learning how to build a large dog house is a good excuse to get them.
Keep all of your tools in one place. This will allow you to easily access them during the project. And, when the project is over, you’ll know exactly where to find your tools when you’re ready for the next project.
Gather the materials
Once you have the proper tools, you’ll also need to gather the necessary building materials.
For most dog houses, the primary building material is plywood. Plywood provides a good balance in terms of being a material that is affordable, easy to work with, and sufficiently durable.
While plywood is good for the sides of the house, the roof should be made out of sturdier materials. This is because the roof will bear the brunt of standing up to the elements. Depending on the climate you live in, the roof will be responsible for shielding from sunlight, rain, ice, snow, or some combination of these.
You can purchase roof framing at most hardware stores for a reasonable price. Often, you can also get the framing cut down into panels. This will allow you to give a shingled look to your dog’s house.
Finally, you’ll probably want to get paint for the dog house. painting the plywood will make the house have a more finished look. Not to mention, it will also add a nice touch to the design!
Keep in mind, also that painting is a little bit easier than constructing. So, if you’re building a simpler dog house, you can make it more unique by painting it.
Depending on what plans you have for how to build a large dog house, you may need to add some more tools or materials to this list. Or, you might need completely different materials altogether. As a general rule, however, these pieces provide a good base for most dog house building projects.
Measure twice, cut once
We’ve already mentioned that you will need plans for your project, and materials to complete these plans.
Keep in mind, however, that the materials you purchase will probably not come in the sizes you need. For instance, you’ll likely be able to get one sheet of wood that can be cut down into the four walls of your dog house.
So, if you’re going to learn how to build a large dog house, you’ll have to cut materials down to size. If you are comfortable doing this process yourself, you can use a wood saw.
Make sure to double-check your measurements. You don’t want to measure incorrectly, and then end up having unusable pieces that are cut to the wrong sizes.
That said, you don’t necessarily have to cut down the wood on your own. Perhaps you’re uncomfortable working with power tools. Or, maybe you simply don’t want to invest in power tools for just one project.
In these cases, you can often have the materials cut down to size at the hardware store. Just make sure to be clear with the associates you work with about what sizes you need.
Lay a strong foundation
One of the most important features of any house is a sturdy foundation. This is also true when learning how to build a large dog house.
Without a strong foundation, the house is at risk of collapsing, or of being insecure.
We recommend building a base that elevates the floor of the dog house slightly off the ground. This helps insulate the floor of the dog house. It also helps to keep it dry.
So, if your dog is outside on a rainy or chilly day, she can retreat into her dog house to be warm and dry.
Additionally, when you build your base, make sure that all of the pieces are flush, and that you place it on an even surface. Otherwise, your pooch might end up with a house that is a little bit lopsided.
Assemble the house
Once the foundation is laid, it’s time to put up the walls and install the roof.
When the hard work is completed, you can start adding some finishing touches, like paint or lighting.
Before you know it, your pup will be enjoying an awesome outdoor retreat that is all their own.
Do you have experience with how to build a large dog house? What’s your advice for beginners? Let us know in the comments!
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A big-dog lover, successful marketing executive, and website developer, Brian founded Canine Weekly in 2016. Brian lives just outside of Seattle with his wife and child. Brian grew up with labs and the family is eager to get another Labrador once their newborn is a little older. Brian is the former owner of Canine Weekly.