The Ultimate Guide to Buying The Perfect Dog Run (+ Infographic)
A dog run is the perfect solution for mutts who might be mild or mischievous.
They're economical, safe and they keep your pet happy and healthy when they're not under your watchful eye.
This complete guide will take you through everything you need to know about buying a dog run.
What is a dog run?
A dog run is a fenced off space in your garden or on your property where your dog(s) can play and get some exercise. Generally, they are larger than a kennel – it's like your dog having his or her own little garden. Dog runs keep your dog safe and confined, offering a great temporary solution if you need the pooch out of the way for a bit.
Infographic: Buying a Dog Run
Here's a summary of the key aspects you're going to learn in this guide in the form of an infographic.
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6 Benefits of a Dog Run
Here are some of the many ways a dog run could benefit you and your dog:
1. Keeping your pooch out of the way
Although you'd probably love to have your best friend by your side as often as possible. Unfortunately, there are times when he or she needs to be confined. Let's say you're having some construction or landscaping work done at your home. You can't have your dog running around amongst the rubble and hazards. It's just not safe.
Sometimes convenience factors in too. If you're having a party or barbecue for instance, then you might want to keep your furry pal out of the way. Some people, and children especially, aren't comfortable being around dogs they don't know. Kids might even be a little scared, no matter how lovely you know your pet is. So popping your pooch in the dog run for the duration of the party might be a good idea.
3. They're spacious
Dog runs are sizeable. Although your dog is confined, he or she isn't locked away in a little crate. The whole point of a dog run is that your dog still has space to hop around and play to their heart's content. We'll delve into the specifics of getting the size right for your dog run later.
4. They're out in the fresh air
Another nice thing about a dog run is that your dog can be outdoors in the fresh air. As you're probably well aware, canines can't be cooped up inside a building all day, it's not in their nature. With a dog run they get to enjoy the stimuli of the outside world. During the summer months, it's especially important for your dog to be outside, feeling the cool breeze.
5. They're made to suit your dog
You can make a dog run that suits your furry friend perfectly. There's enough space in the dog run to put all manner of amenities. If you're concerned about his or her happiness then you can pop some things that they find comforting in there, such as their favourite toy or dog bed. You can even make it a fun place for them to be by adding a mini obstacle course for example.
It keeps your dog safe if you have to leave them in the garden unsupervised. Lots of dogs have mischievous personalities that we love. But this also means that when you're not watching them, they can get up to all sorts of hijinks like digging under your fence or eating things they find in the garden that might make them poorly. With a dog run however, you know that they're in a safe space.
Why buy a bespoke dog run?
Building your own dog run could be beneficial. You don't have to build it from scratch necessarily but buy a kit or dog run panels which you can assemble in your garden. Or have the experts install a bespoke design for you. The great thing about doing it this way is that you create a tailor-made dog run according to your dog's needs and the size and shape of your garden.
There are some things you need to take into consideration when installing a dog run, like the size and strength of your dog. A ready-made dog run might not be up to scratch for your pet. Plus, if your garden is longer than it is wide, then perhaps a pre-made, square-shaped dog run won't suit your garden.
This could be the more economical option, too. Let's face it, we would all rather save money if we could.
What to Consider When Buying a Dog Run
Here are the key elements to consider:
The first important element to consider when building a dog run is the size of your dog. You don't want your dog to be uncomfortable in a dog run that's too small, obviously.
The average dog run needs to be 3 feet by 10 feet, and 6 feet high.
Those are the minimum requirements. If you want your dog run to be bigger, go all out. And if your dog weighs more than 100 lbs, they're perhaps a golden retriever or Alsatian for example, you'll need to increase the width of the dog run by 1 foot.
Ultimately you want Fido to be happy, healthy and safe, making climate an important factor you need to consider when designing a dog run. It absolutely needs a roof, to protect your dog from cold, rainy weather and shade them from the sun. You might also want to put a dog house inside of the run as well, in case your dog wants to get warm and cosy inside.
Your dog's needs
You need to take your dog's specific needs into account. Some breeds need more exercise than others for instance, so you may want to give a dog that needs to run around more space to do so. Another vital need for any dog is socialisation. A dog run isn't a permanent home for your dog. They need to be taken out, exercised and introduced to other dogs and people as well.
When considering the location of your dog run, you have to choose an area of your garden or property that you don't use often. In other words, you don't want to choose an area where you like to sunbathe or where the kids like to play etc. because you'll be giving that area to your dog. At the same time, you can't choose a location that's tucked away or too far out because you want to be able to check on your dog easily.
You should also consider the type of floor you want your dog run to have. Perhaps, you don't want it to be lawn because your pooch might dig it up. Essentially, you want a surface that is easy to clean, won't absorb the summer's heat, is cost-effective and kind on your dog's paws.
What Materials to Use
The materials you use to create the perfect dog run need to be strong, durable and secure. That's why we recommend using bars or mesh panels made from galvanised steel. They can be bolted together to make a dog run that's your ideal shape or size and topped with a roof sheet to protect your pooch from the elements.
What's really cool is that you can add a number of accessories to your dog run. You might want to try some bowls that clip on to the bars of your dog run or a feeder that you can pop inside. You can add a raised sleeping area and perhaps a kennel heater if you're concerned that your dog will get chilly.
How to Get Your Dog to Love Their Dog Run
It's not always easy to train your dog to get used to their dog run, but these tips sure will help...
1. Make it cosy
As we mentioned, you might want to put a comfy dog house inside the dog run where your pal can relax. Or have a relaxation area with his or her comforts such as a bed or pillows, maybe on an elevated level.
2. Make it fun
On the other side of the dog run, you can create a fun zone where he or she can play. That means putting in toys, ledges, ramps, a tunnel, maybe even a mini obstacle course – whatever you can think of that your pooch will enjoy.
3. Exercise before you leave
Take your dog for a walk or exercise them before you leave your home or put them in their dog run. This way they won't be so restless and anxious when they have to be confined to the space. They will settle more quickly.
4. Give them a treat
This acts as positive reinforcement for your dog. Walk into the dog run with them and give them a treat and lots of praise for settling in. Or you can place some treats around different areas of the dog run to encourage them to go inside. The more often you do this, the happier your dog will be to go inside their dog run.
5. Use a verbal cue
As your dog gets used to his or her run, you will be able to get them to go inside willingly by using a verbal cue and hand signals. Using the same verbal cue such as “kennel” while standing next to the dog run will train them to respond to your instructions. Reward them with a treat when they respond successfully. Gradually, you can train them to go into their dog run from further and further away.
6. Help your dog get used to it
To reduce stress, help your dog to get used to their dog run over time. Go in with him or her and spend some time in there together, so that they don't always associate the dog run with you leaving them alone.
Dog Run Safety
As we've mentioned, dog runs help keep your dogs safe. But there are a couple of safety tips to keep in mind:
Make sure your dog doesn't get too cold when you leave him or her outside. According to the experts, some dogs will be able to handle cold weather better than humans, thick-coated breeds for example. Smaller dogs and short-haired breeds will not be able to handle colder conditions as well as other dogs. So use your common sense when it starts getting nippy outside!
You've got to make sure your furry friend doesn't get too hot either. They need some shade, water and consider getting some doggy sunblock for areas with tender skin like their ears, tails and noses.
Like humans, dogs get anxious too. Make sure your dog doesn't have separation anxiety. If they do, they will exhibit behaviours such as excessive whining and barking, destructive chewing, scratching and trying to escape. If you think your dog may have separation anxiety then you need to take them to a vet as they may hurt themselves.
Make sure that you check up on your dog regularly while they're in the dog run. Don't leave them in there too long or they may get lonely and bored, causing them to become distressed.
Bonus: Dog Run Games
It's a good idea to play games with your pooch in the dog run. This will help them to get used to the space. Dogs also need to play and have lots of human contact. So, these games could be fun...
- Find the Treat
- Clean Up
- Which Hand?
- Follow the Leader
Order your dog to stay. Hide a treat or multiple treats in different places around the dog run. When you're ready, let him go and hunt down the treats. You could also play this game by hiding his or her favourite toy.
Dogs love chasing bubbles as much as kids do! But you have to make sure you get non-toxic, pet-safe bubbles to play with. They're easy to find on sites like Amazon.
Scatter toys around the dog run and place a basket in the centre. Train your dog to pick up toys, bring them over and drop them in the basket to get a treat.
Place a treat in one hand, close your fists and hold them out in front of your dog. When they touch the correct hand they get a treat. It might take a few tries for them to get it right, but it's a lot of fun!
If you've set up some ramps and/or platforms in your dog run already, it will be easy to get your dog to follow you through the course or you can direct them with hand cues. Alternatively, pillows and rolled up blankets make for great soft hurdles.
Where to Buy a Dog Run
There are lots of great reasons to buy a dog run. Now that you have learned all there is to know about dog runs hopefully you can see the many benefits and know how to make the most of them. Ready to put together your bespoke dog run? Take a look at Kennelstore's range of dog run panels to get started.