There are simple doghouses, and then there are elaborate ones with fancy out fittings. The aesthetic sense and vanity of the owner are the deciding factors when it comes to the structure of the doghouses. But the simplest of the lot can be just as comfortable to the dog as any other. And it doesn’t take an architect or an engineer to build design and build one.
Building a doghouse for the family dog can be a labor of love and a rewarding experience for the whole family. Even small children can pitch in, and it may well turn out to be a starting point for bigger DIY projects to come.
Choose the location
The site of the doghouse should be chosen with great care. The slope of the land, proximity to the house and the street, the direction of sun and wind etc., should be taken into consideration. The door shouldn’t face the direction of wind in the colder months. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight too, as it can heat up the small structure very quickly. A location in the partial shade at all times, and full shade at the height of the day and in the afternoon is preferable. Bright street lights or external lights of the house shouldn’t trouble the dog at night too.
Decide on the dimensions
A doghouse should be just the right size for your dog. They are known to favor cozy little spaces to crawl into. There should be just enough room for the dog to stand, sit, stretch out and turn around comfortably. The general rule is to make the roof a few inches higher than the sitting height of the dog and the width and depth up to 1 to 1 ½ feet more than its length measured from the tip of the nose to the back.
The idea is to help maintain necessary warmth inside the house with the body temperature of the dog itself, even though additional heating may be necessary in colder climates. The door should be dog-sized too; it is based on the shoulder height of the dog as they’ll bend their heads to go in.
Identify the design right for you
It goes without saying that a simple design is the best, especially if this is your first DIY project of this scale. There are plenty of good designs around to choose from, but you may have to make minor changes to the position of doors and windows suit your purpose and chosen site.
Make a model
If you have cardboard cartons in storage, you can make a temporary model of the doghouse you’re planning to build. You can cut out the pieces and fix them together with glue and tape. You will have a better idea about the finished dimensions and the space inside the structure. This will help you make changes to your design, if necessary. You’ll also find out whether you actually want to build the structure yourself before investing in costly tools.
Before you get yourself into a full-blown project, making a smaller model of the intended design will give you a feel of what to expect. This is a great idea if you have never worked on woodworking projects before. Your model will not go waste; you could use the small-scale doghouse as a cat house, birdhouse or a post box.
Gather all the essential materials and tools
Most designs specify the approximate quantity of materials required. Stock them before you start the project. It’s frustrating to run out of goods in the middle of the work. Running down to the shop for smaller quantities of things can turn out to be more expensive. It can slow down your progress too.
You need not buy all the tools required for the project. You can rent them out if you’re unsure whether they might be useful in the future. You can bring down the cost this way, and also save the space required to store the tools.
Welcome suggestions and help from experts
If you have any friends of neighbors who have built similar structures before, there’s no harm in letting them know about your project. Their suggestions regarding some practical points can be valuable. Some may offer to lend a hand too. You may be glad of extra hands at the time of your final assembly. Don’t let any overenthusiastic benefactor to highjack your project though. Don’t entertain suggestions on major design changes in the middle too, as such alterations can prove very costly.