DIY Indoor/Outdoor Dog Kennel

If you know us or read our blog, you probably know about River. He’s  our darling fur baby, a 1-year old German Shorthair Pointer. He requires a lot of exercise, and James hated keeping him in a crate all day. And when we got home, he was just bursting with energy – he was like a tornado. We recently moved out to the country and decided to build him an indoor/outdoor dog kennel! Somewhere where he could seek shelter, stretch his legs, go to the bathroom and chew on sticks – safely and securely.

We did some research, but couldn’t find what we were looking for. James has a vision for this sort of thing and he whipped out this dog kennel in less than 2-days. Got a jumper? A digger? We’ve done the problem solving for you! Check it out. Here’s what you’ll need:


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I (Brooke) am not going to pretend that this was my brain child. James really tackled this project. So I’m going to pass it off to James!

Gather the Materials & Set Your Plan

Alright! So, first, I went to Tractor Supply to pick up the fencing material, but I couldn’t fit it all in my SUV and I had to rent a U-haul. The fencing material comes as a 4-peice set, including a door and brackets to attach each side together. If you live in a warmer climate, you could place a dog house in the corner and call it good. But, we live in Michigan and we wanted to attach it to the barn so River would be able to come in and get warm. I bought an additional panel so that I could utilize the barn as a wall and have a larger outdoor space. More on the outside later.

Indoor Space

I chose a corner of the barn (because I didn’t want River to have free-range of my barn), and decided how big I wanted the indoor enclosure to be. I laid down two sill-plates (two 2x4s on the floor), and cut one end on each to a 45-degree angle, so they would come together. Nail these to the sides of the barn/wall and then nail together where they meet.

meeting sill plates
The boards running along the floor are the sill plates









Going up from there, you’re basically going to build a studded wall using the 2x4s. I nailed the studs to the sill-plate, and then I nailed the top of the studs to the floor joists, or beams, of the second story in our barn. I also added a few horizontal 2x4s to add strength to the walls.

vertical and horizontal studs






This is the bones of your wall. Now, just cut the OSB board to fit the bones. You can have this cut at Home Depot if you know how big you want your enclosure. Nail or screw the OSB board to the studs from the outside of your enclosure.

Determine where you want your door. I doubled-up the studs surrounding the door, so that I would have a sturdy frame and more surface area to screw the hinges in as well as the OSB board. For the door itself,  I used OSB board. I also enforced it’s strength with 2x4s around the perimeter.








Screw the hinges on the door itself. Then place the door in the door frame standing it on something that elevates the base above the door frame. You don’t want it resting on the bottom of the door frame of you may have trouble opening and closing it. I used an off-cut of OSB board, about 1/2 inch thick. Then, I screwed the other side of the hinges to the studs of the door frame. I added two sliding locks* on the left side of the door.









It’s pretty spacious in there! That’s a large crate and a large mat. In the winter time, we plan to add a small oil heater in a cage to heat the space. Our barn is also insulted, so that’s a plus.

Doggie Door

We bought this doggie door from Amazon*, which comes with pretty clear instructions on how to install it, though I tweaked it a bit base on our barn siding. Our barn has steel siding and insulation. I had to cut a whole in the side to fit the doors dimensions. I used an angle grinder with a 1mm cut-off disk. If you don’t have one of these, you can rent one from Home Depot. I also caulked a few of the areas around the doggie-door because of the shape of the steel siding.

River showing off his closed doggie door – it has a plastic cover that slips over the flap so rodents can’t come in when we are away.

Outdoor Space

This was the easier part of the dog kennel to put together. The dog kennel specific fencing stands about 6 ft high, and is pretty heavy. The panels fit together easily using the panel clamps and bolts, which come with the fence. Like I said, it also comes with a door so you don’t need to worry about installing a gate. I attached the ends meeting the barn with U-bolts, and secured them with washers. I used two on each side.

back of the u-bolt
front of the u-bolt
secured the fence with two u-bolts








fencing clamps









River’s a digger. We were definitely concerned about him digging under the fences and escaping. We thought about burying the fence, burying chicken wire… all sorts of things! But they required too much work. We finally decided on laying down a section of galvanized welded fence * on the grass. Be sure to use galvanized or aluminum so it doesn’t rust out.

We secured it to the bottom rung of the fence using aluminum wire ties*, and then used tent pegs* to secure it to the ground. Using wire cutters, we cut out two foot wide strips, and laid them on the grass around the perimeter of the fence. Cut as close as you can to the joints (where the horizontal and vertical wires meet), to prevent sharp edges. I then used an angle grinder to smooth any bought edges.

We did not cover the whole outdoor space. So far, no digging! River has shade from several huge apple trees, but if you don’t have a few trees you may want to think about adding a roofed section.

Tent peg pushed into the ground, securing the welded fence to the grass






our roll of galvanized wire fence

My mom was visiting us in Michigan and decided River needed a “feature” and also knew that River loved stumps. So she dug a hole in the middle of the outdoor space and recruited one of Brooke’s cousins to roll a huge stump into kennel. This way the stump is secure, and we catch River sitting on it and watching critters all the time.

We slowly introduced River to the kennel, having him stay in there for 1 hour then a few more hours. We’re comfortable leaving him during the work day, knowing that he has room to stretch his legs and be outside, which is his favorite place to be! (And just to clarify – we only put River in here when we are away. When we’re home he is out running along beside us).

Hopefully you can take some of these ideas from how we build out indoor/outdoor dog kennel and apply them to your own!

Happy Building,

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2 Replies to “DIY Indoor/Outdoor Dog Kennel”

  1. I have seen first hand and this is amazing. I still can’t believe it only took you two days. The best idea for no digging I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing !

    1. Thank you!!! It works SO well, no evidence of digging yet. And the wire has stayed securely on the ground.

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