How to Build a Dog House (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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If you have the right tools and materials, a dog houses are one of the simplest designs to construct. But, even though a doghouse is supposed to protect your pet from the elements outside, a poorly constructed one might endanger them.

This is why our woodworking pros will share the steps on how to build a dog house to provide your furry friend with a safe space.

Tools and Materials

Constructing the Dog House

Step #1: Prepare and Purchase the Materials

If you already have a basic idea of the design, you can easily estimate how much wood, ply sheets, screws, and shingles you’ll need to complete the DIY dog house.

To get an accurate estimate of how much wood you need, read this guide and know how to use a lumber calculator

buying plywood

Depending on the dimensions of the dog house, you will need different quantities of 2x4s, plywood, shingles, and screws.

Also Read: How Many 2×4 Lumbers You Need  

To know how much of each material you’ll need, you can check these step-by-step instructions first and estimate with your dog’s build.

If you’re unsure how much you’ll need for a small to medium-sized dog, it’s preferable to have extra materials on hand than to stop work because you ran out.

Step #2: Start With the Base

Start by building the house’s foundation first. You should have four boards attached in a square or rectangle, and a flat piece of plywood or another suitable material placed on top.

Remember that you’ll need to raise the floor base above ground level. Alternatively, you could use two pieces of board and fill the space between them with insulation to create an air gap in the middle of the ground and the base.

(Read this beginner’s guide to insulation boards to know proper placement, installation, and more!)

drilling on wood

You can fasten the boards by drilling two pilot holes at opposite ends of each piece and inserting wood screws. We also recommend L brackets as acceptable alternatives.

You can use either nails or screws to secure the floor. If you want your dog to feel more comfortable, you can add a carpet, bed, or straw on it.

Step #3: Cut the Framing for the Left and Right Walls

The 2-by-2s should be trimmed to your frame length or dimensions and secured using 2-1/2-inch deck screws. Repeat and make a frame for the right and left walls.

Step #4: Cut the Framing for the Back and Front Walls

For the front and back panels, prepare the 2-by-2s for the rear wall dimensions and then fasten them in place using deck screws that are 2 1/2 inches in length.

Size the 2 x 2 lumber and use deck screws that are 2 1/2 inches in length to secure it. You should consider the door size concerning your dog’s size.


Your dog’s shoulder blades should protrude no more than two to four inches into the house’s entrance or front wall. If you want to know how high the door needs to be, measure the dog’s height from shoulder to the base and multiply that figure by 0.75.

Step #5: Install the Walls

Use deck screws that are 2 1/2 inches in length to attach the plywood panel.

Our woodworkers recommend securing them to the base, so the base overhangs both sides and back by an extra inch.

Step #6: Install Insulated Flooring

Next is to install a floor panel in the dog house. Get a sheet of plywood that will fit over the frame and cut it to size.

To insulate the dog house and protect your puppy from the cold ground, you need to trim the foam insulation board to size and glue it to the plywood panels using outdoor weatherproof adhesive. 

sawing flooring for dog house

Fasten it to the base joists with the insulated material side down and a 1-1/2-inch screw.

Step #7: Cut and Install the Framing for the Roof

You should trim 2-by-2s to the specified length for the entire roof and fasten using 2-1/2-inch deck screws.

The front overhang should be 12 inches, and the sides and the back should be flush with the structure. Use 2-and-a-half-inch screws to secure.

Step #8: Attach the Siding

As for the siding, you can use whatever you like, although we recommend using at least half-inch sheet. Get accurate measurements by measuring the frame.

attaching walls

Don’t forget to get siding for the underside of the roof trusses. Use 1-1/4-inch deck screws to secure the components.

Step #9: Install the Roof

Measure and cut the ply sheets to make the roof of the doghouse. To avoid the roof panels overhanging the sides of the doghouse, the sheet used for the roof should be larger than the panel used for the floor.

To construct a doghouse with a gable or sloped roof, carefully measure and trim two square or rectangular wood panels to fit the roof’s slope.

If you want an overhang, the sheets must be big enough to go over the building’s edges. Put in 1-and-a-half-inch screws to attach the panels to the rafters.

Step #10: Install the Door

Attach the door opening to the dog house by cutting the piano hinge and attaching it. Install the piano hinge using the screws that came with it.

installing door on dog house

In a hole measuring 5/16 inches, insert a 1/4-inch threaded eye bolt and nut it into place. The door’s bottom should have a second eye bolt secured using threaded 1/4-inch bolts.

Place a 16-inch length of chain between the two eye bolts, linking them with 1/8-inch quick links and then a metal snap hook.

Adding weatherstripping and a bolt lock to keep the door securely closed is a good idea for enhanced safety.

Step #11: Add Roof Shingles

You can add shingles on the roof, but this is optional, but if you want the house to last as long as possible, they are a great addition to the plywood roof.

attaching roof

After covering the plywood with roofing felt to create a weatherproof substrate, the asphalt shingles can be attached with roofing spikes.

To keep water from entering through cracks and gaps, you must pay close attention to the placement of your shingles.

Step #12: Paint and Customize the Exterior

Building a dog house can spark your creativity, so create a unique look by simply attaching sun decks and other extras or by painting them. Paint the outside to look like your house, or choose a fun design using only non-toxic pigments that won’t harm your dog [1]. 

Permitting young kids to use the dog home as a canvas for an art project can be a lot of fun.

priming wood before painting

Priming and painting a doghouse are optional, just like shingles, but doing so makes the structure look better, protects the wood from the elements, and can considerably increase its lifespan.

You can attach exterior weather-resistant adhesives for extra insulation to the interior of the panels and roof.

Safety Precautions

As pet lovers, we don’t want to hurt our cute pup, so selecting sturdy materials and precise proportions while building the DIY doghouse is important to ensure it won’t topple over in storms or become waterlogged from excessive snowfall or rain.

Remember that you shouldn’t let your dog outside in harsh weather.

grey dog house

Put the doghouse where it is covered and protected from the elements (the sun, the wind, snow, and the rain). These basic principles will keep your dog dry and comfortable throughout the summer’s heat and out of harm’s way during thunderstorms and gusty winds. 

Furthermore, insulations can lessen the heat lost or gained via the roof, wall, and floor, making the dog’s room or house more comfortable year-round.

When you’re finished with the project, examine the doghouse’s interior to ensure no screws or nails are sticking out. Only then should you let your dogs utilize the new doghouse.


If you want to know how to build a dog house properly, these instructions should help you create a sturdy shelter for your cute pooch to use or rest while spending time outside. 

You can build it in just a few hours, but don’t rush. Always remember that it should keep them warm and protect them from external elements.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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