How to Create a Safe Outdoor Space for Your Dog

Jon Fesmire |

If you’ve ever had a dog run off, you know how scary that be. You might not know where they went or if you’ll get them back.

Still, while while living their entire lives indoors is good for cats, it’s not so great for dogs. Our canine pals need plenty of room to run around and play.

To create a safe, and fun, outdoor space for your dog, you will need a backyard— preferably a large one. That’s just the beginning.

The Basics

Great, you have the backyard, and your dog can now run free and get plenty of exercise, right? Almost. First, you’re going to want to get that yard ready.

Start by getting a tall, sturdy fence. If your current fence isn’t very sturdy, replace it. We’ll come back to the fence shortly, but for now, the most important thing is to put in a good one.

Also, get a pet door built into your back door, so your pet can come and go from the house as it pleases.

Your pet also needs a dog house. If you’re good at DIY home projects, you can build one yourself. Or, you can purchase a standard one-room dog house, or something a little more fancy. If you have a lot of money, you can get a really snazzy pad for your pooch.

Inside the dog house, include a comfortable dog bed, so your companion will have a nice place in the yard to get out of the sun and snooze.

Beyond the Dog House

The next thing to consider is your dog’s personality, or caninality (yes, that is a word). Just like people, dogs have their own interests. When considering the following ideas, think about what you know your dog likes. If you just got a dog, you may need to go by what you know about the general breed, or ask the shop or shelter what they can tell you about its interests and habits.

Get your dog some toys for outdoors that you know it would enjoy. Your pet store should have plenty of ideas.

Ideas for Digging Dogs

If your dog loves to dig under fences, that can be a big problem. After all, one of your major concerns is keeping your dog safe. Some owners have put chicken wire under fences, burying it into the dirt, but even that doesn’t deter some dogs. Instead, consider building a short, brick wall around the fence. This should extend into the ground as well, and will be much tougher to dig around than chicken wire.

Speaking of digging, a sandbox can not only be a fun digging spot for your pet, it can also help protect the rest of your yard. Sure, your dog may need a bit of training on the matter, but it can use the sandbox to dig and to relieve itself. You’ll need to replace the sand on a regular basis, but it can keep an outdoor garden, or just the grass, in good shape.

Dog Pool

Unlike cats, most dogs enjoy water. Help yours have some fun and cool off by putting a dog swimming pool in your backyard. This can be a plastic pool your dog can jump into, but it can also be one you build into the ground or into a deck.

Fence Portholes

Just because you need to keep your backyard secure for your dog, that doesn’t mean it won’t be curious about the world beyond. You can make it possible for it to look out on the street with fence portholes for dogs. These are convex plexiglass windows you can build into your fence. They bow out on the street side, so your pooch can put its nose into the porthole and look around. With these, it can see when you or family members are walking along the street, or even see you as you return home from work.

These can also help keep your dog from digging under the fence. Instead of trying to get out to satisfy its curiosity about what’s on the other side, it can just look through a porthole.

Fire Hydrant

Why do dogs love relieving themselves on fire hydrants? We’re not sure, but since they do, why not install a faux fire hydrant in your backyard? Build it into a small sandbox, so that you can clean up after your dog has done its business, or even install it as a permanent fixture in its larger sandbox.

Obstacle Course

Here’s something else you can do if DIY is your thing. Create a canine obstacle course! This can include tunnels for your dog to walk or crawl through, old tires to climb on, a teeter-totter, and more. See what ideas you can find for this online, and use your imagination. Just keep it safe for your dog, you, and any people or animals who may come to visit.

In For the Night

While the backyard is a great place to for your dog to get exercise and hang out most of the day, we suggest you bring it in at night. You may even want to keep it in a room with no access to the doggy door, so it will stay in.

In the house, have a dog bed or two, a food and water bowl, and some dog toys. You may want to put your bed on risers, providing more room for your pet to sleep under the bed. You can even put an extra dog bed under there, providing a safe spot where it can be near you.

Now, whether you already a dog and want to make sure it has a great yard to play in, or you’re just considering getting a dog, you can go forward, making your yard into your pet’s sanctuary.