Design and Build a Custom Dog House

Design and Build a Custom Dog House

Introducing Sebastian, the Border Collie

I recently had the pleasure of working with the Trusty family, Charles, Amy, and their sons Zack and Zane, to build a custom dog house for their growing Border Collie puppy, Sebastian Hardly. Sebastian was hardly out of the puppy stage, and his boundless energy was becoming too much for the family to handle indoors. It was time for Sebastian to have a safe and comfortable outdoor retreat of his own.

As I arrived at the Trusty’s suburban home, I couldn’t help but notice Sebastian bounding around the backyard, his border collie instincts in full force. “Hey Sebastian, what a good boy!” I exclaimed, to which Charles confirmed, “Yeah, sure is.” These herding dogs are known for their high energy and intelligence, and Sebastian was no exception.

“He has a lot of energy, and that’s why we’re wanting to make him an outside dog,” Amy explained. I understood completely – with Sebastian’s rambunctious nature, an outdoor dog house would provide him the space and freedom he craved, while also giving the family some much-needed peace and quiet inside the house.

Designing the Perfect Dog House

As we discussed the ideal location for Sebastian’s new abode, Charles pointed to the spot against the back of the house. “A couple things I want to keep in mind as we design this,” I said. “We want to make it large enough so that he’s not cramped, he has plenty of room to move around in there, but small enough so that it will contain his body heat and keep him warm in cooler weather.”

Measuring a Border Collie, it turns out, is no easy task. “Come here, I won’t hurt you, it’s just a tape measure,” I said, as Sebastian eyed me warily. After a bit of coaxing, I was able to get the necessary dimensions – height, length, and width – to properly size the dog house.

According to the American Humane Society, the ideal dog house dimensions are:
– Height: Dog’s height plus 9 inches
– Length: Dog’s length plus 18 inches
– Width: Dog’s length plus 12 inches

For Sebastian, a Border Collie, that translated to a 32-inch length, 22-inch width, and a height that would slope from 9 inches in the front to 3 inches in the back. With these measurements in hand, we set out to build Sebastian’s custom-made abode.

Constructing the Dog House Frame

To start, we gathered the pressure-treated lumber for the frame base. “One thing to keep in mind though when you’re building pet structures is you don’t want the pets to come in contact with pressure-treated lumber – it’s not healthy for them,” I explained. The frame would be completely covered, so Sebastian wouldn’t be able to access the treated wood, but it would still provide the necessary protection against rot and decay.

Amy diligently drew the clearance holes for the three-inch rust-resistant deck screws that would hold the frame together. “Amy, I bet you haven’t used a circular saw before,” I said, to which she replied with a nervous laugh, “I have never used it – it looks a little intimidating.” No problem, I assured her, as I guided her through the process, letting “gravity do part of the work” as she carefully cut the plywood panels to size.

With the frame assembled and the plywood panels trimmed, it was time to start putting the dog house together. “Well, the question is, does it fit?” I asked as Charles slid the floor panel into place. “It seems to fit,” he replied, and Amy agreed, “It looks pretty good.”

Insulating and Weatherproofing

To attach the floor, Amy drilled pilot holes every 10 inches, and Charles followed behind, driving in the screws. “Now this is what you call a doghouse-raising!” I exclaimed with a chuckle.

As the walls started to take shape, I installed a frame for the interior partition. “We attach a plywood skin to the frame and a support post, then just as the doghouse begins to take shape, threatening storm clouds roll in, followed by a true Midwest thunderstorm,” I recalled. We quickly moved our work indoors to the garage, where we could continue the project without interruption from the elements.

Inside the relative shelter of the garage, we focused on insulating the dog house to keep Sebastian warm and comfortable. “We’re going to be using this – this is rigid foam insulation,” I explained, as Amy and Charles helped me carefully fit the insulation panels into the wall cavities. “It’s like putting a puzzle together,” Amy observed.

Once the insulation was in place, we covered it with quarter-inch plywood panels to protect Sebastian from chewing on the foam. “I’m telling you, it’s feeling snug as a bug in here right now,” I said, admiring our handiwork.

Customizing the Dog House

With the structure and insulation complete, it was time to add the finishing touches. I wanted to get Sebastian’s input on the perfect door height, so I called him over and asked, “Hey bud, what do you think – I’m thinking something maybe just above your back here. Would this be okay?” Sebastian seemed to approve, and Amy excitedly exclaimed, “Oh, that’s nice!”

I had Amy use a jigsaw to cut the doorway, and we then secured the final wall section in place. Next, the roof went on, with a slight overhang to keep rain runoff away from the walls. We covered the plywood with water-resistant roofing felt or tar paper, and added a metal drip edge along the perimeter to seal out moisture.

Finally, it was time for the crowning touch – the shingles. “All right, time to do a little painting now,” I said, as we nailed the shingles into place, starting at the bottom and overlapping each row.

Unveiling Sebastian’s New Home

With the rain subsided, we moved the dog house out to its permanent spot in the Trusty’s backyard. “Well, the rains stopped, and we’ve moved the doghouse out in the yard where it’s going to live, and we’ve added a hinge along the rear edge of the roof,” I explained. “The reason for that is it makes it real easy to clean by simply lifting up the front edge.”

Charles and Amy were thrilled with the final result. “It looks great to me,” Charles said, and Amy added, “He definitely will” – referring to Sebastian’s sure-to-be excitement over his new custom-built retreat.

But of course, the true test was Sebastian himself. “Well, guys, that was fun, I liked working with you,” I said. “And I think he’s going to like the new house.” As we called Sebastian over and offered him a welcoming “dinner” inside, the joyful pup bounded into his cozy new abode, making himself right at home.

Building a custom dog house for Sebastian was a truly rewarding experience. Not only did I get to work with the wonderful Trusty family, but I also had the opportunity to create a comfortable, safe, and stylish living space tailored specifically to Sebastian’s needs. If you’re considering building a custom dog house for your own furry friend, I highly encourage you to explore the Timber Building website for inspiration and guidance. With the right tools, materials, and a little creativity, you can design the perfect dog house that will keep your pup happy and content for years to come.


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