How to Build a Wood Dog House

by Andrei Smith

     Most dogs adapt well to outdoor living as long as they have access to shelter. They also need to have a good place to escape from the weather, and unless you're willing to let him in the house.

Building a doghouse is a great family project, and may be a good opportunity to involve the kids in a construction project.

    Here are some of the tools you need in building a wood dog house: * Hammer * Table saw or Circular saw * Pen or pencil * Plywood * Paintbrush * Hearing Protection * Drill and Safety glasses. * Carpenter's square * Tape measure * 8' 2x4 (to be cut into 2x2's) * 4'x8' sheet of 5/8" exterior siding * 10' 2x4, rated for outdoor use * Shingles (optional) * Finishing material (paint or nontoxic wood preservative) * Nails--16d for base, 8d for house, and short roofing nails if using shingles

    The first step you will have to take on this project is consider your dog's habits. For example, some dogs like to sit on top of their wood dog house. If you suspect that this may be the case with your dog, don't put any roll roofing or shingles on the top of the house since they can get hot in the summer sun. Just use an exterior plywood panel, treated with a nontoxic preservative like linseed oil.

    The next step is to measure the size of your dog, his or her height sitting up, stretched out, length laying down, and measure his or her width at its widest body part which is its shoulders. When your dog is standing up, measure her from the top of her front shoulder to the ground, tell her to sit and measure her from the top of the head to the ground. Then just add about four inches to these measurements and then you are ready to proceed. Figure out how much and what lumber you will need.

    Thick plywood is a suitable choice for the floor, roof and side walls. After you have purchased your materials and measured and cut them, you are now ready to build the dog house . Insulate the doghouse. A wood dog house should protect your animal from the elements and keep him warm. Use weatherproof plywood exterior panels to build the outside walls. Then insulate the ceiling, floor, walls with 1.5 inch Styrofoam sheets.

    You may also want to paint your doghouse with black or white color. If you live in a cold climate, paint the doghouse black. Black doghouses absorb heat and stay warmer. But if you live in a warm climate, paint the doghouse white. The color white reflects heat, keeping the doghouse cool.

    Outdoor living is not for every dog. If your dog is old and has lived inside your house for a number of years, it will not adjust to living outside, even with a doghouse. Acclimatize your dog to outdoor living when it is young and the weather is warm. And once your dog starts sleeping in a doghouse, she should stay there. Don't bring her into your house on some nights and leave her in the doghouse on others because then she will never fully adjust to outdoor living.

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