The 21 Best Dog Run Ideas & Designs in 2023

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best dog run ideas and design

Having a dog run built in your yard is a fantastic way to let your dog have the freedom to run and play on their own while you are away from home. There are many benefits that you and your dog can get. First of all, it gives your dog a safe enclosed space to exercise without you need to worry overmuch about them destroying your garden or tunneling under the fence to go outside.

Second, it can become a hang-out place for your dog and their friends. And the third, being outside instead of confined all the time inside the house lets your dog relax, and the more relaxed they are the less they are making trouble. Without further ado, here are 21 of the best dog run ideas and how to build them.

1. Small Dog Run with Grass

This dog run design is great ideas for small dogs or if you live in a single-family home with a long, narrow side yard. With grass as the floor, this dog run may also serve as a place to potty train your pouches. You can either use natural grass or artificial grass.

Natural grass is the most popular choice among many dog owners and cheaper than artificial grass. However, natural grass requires a lot of maintenance. You need to mow, water, and fertilize the grass on a regular basis. You also need to spray insecticide to kill insects and herbicide for weed control.

Artificial grass, though more expensive, is lasting longer than the natural grass and easier to maintain. You don’t need to mow, water, weed, or spray insecticides. Dog poops can be easily removed, and urine can be easily flushed away with a garden hose.

To keep the artificial grass fresh, you can mix one part water to one part vinegar and spray the solution to the area that your dog is used for pooping and peeing.

2. Gravel Dog Run

Gravel is a great option for your dog-run flooring especially if you live in a hot area. It provides a cool surface for your dog to walk and roll around on. However, gravel can hurt your dog’s feet, therefore If you prefer to use gravel, make sure you choose pea gravel or other round gravel types that do not have sharp edges.

3. Coble Stone Dog Run

paving stone dog run

Even though the coble stone floor can be expensive, the combination of coble stone and grass can turn into a visually attractive dog run as you can see from the image above. If you use cobblestones, choose the right stones that are not too smooth and not too rough. The stones that are too smooth could cause slips and falls while the stones that are too rough could bruise your dog’s feet.

Because paving stones can quickly become hot on sunny days, you should add some form of the shaded area around the dog run, either dog house or a tree. If you’re interested in buying a dog house then you may want to read our reviews for the best dog houses for German shepherds.

4. Concrete Dog Run

concrete dog run

A concrete pad is a cheaper and much more affordable solution than paving stones. Although paving stones are much more attractive, they both provide the same benefit: easy to clean. Still, if your dog has sensitive paws, you may want to choose the other options since concrete is abrasive to sensitive paws.

5. Wood Chips Dog Run

Wood chips are soft on paws and thus is a great dog run staple. However, with wood chips, you cannot easily rinse away your dog’s urine, which makes it a thriving place for bacteria to grow. Moreover, you will need to add more wood chips periodically as they can be lost when picking up solid waste.

If you want to use wood chips for the ground, the safest option is to use cedar. Cedar is known to repel fleas and thicks. The other options such as cocoa can be deadly if ingested.

6. Chain Link Fencing Dog Run

chain link fencing dog run

Chain link fence is the most popular type of enclosure for portable dog run. It’s easy to install and remove, strong and durable, and affordable. Another benefit of using a chain-link fence is it allows you to see in and your dog to see out. Nonetheless, a chain-link fence can make your well-crafted yard looks ugly.

7. Painted Chain Link Fence Dog Run

painted chain link fence dog run

The solution to a bleak and dull chain-link fence is to paint it. If your yard has a lot of green, plants, grass and trees, a dark green color will blend well. If the yard is built with more wooden structures with dirt or sand surface for the ground, you could pick a dark brown color. Make sure to use non-toxic paint to provide a safe environment for your dog.

8. Metal or Wood Fencing Dog Run

wood fencing dog run

Wood or metal fencing costs more than chain link fencing and requires more time to build. But if you do have enough resources to build it (both in time and money), wood fencing can give your dog run a visually captivating look.

There are several wood posts that you can choose from. Redwood or cedar provides a higher-end look than treated Lumber, but treated Lumber is a more affordable choice.

9. Dog Run for Small Apartment

dog run for small apartment

This neat and cozy dog run is a good idea for a small apartment. The ground is covered with artificial grass with two small plant boxes put there and a dog house so your dog can play and lay down once they are tired.

10. Dog Run for Large Yard

dog agility course

If you have a large yard and you want to agility-train your dog, you may want to consider setting up a full-scale dog agility course.

Our Top Picks: Best German Shepherd Agility Equipment

11. Dog Run with Dog House

dog run with dog house

A dog house is a good shade to protect your dog against the sun, wind, and rain. Even if your dog run has already covered with patios and trees, you should still consider adding one because you never know what the weather will be while you are away from home.

12. Zen-Like Dog Run

zen-like dog run

This zen-like dog run like the one above provides you and your dog a quiet and peaceful atmosphere to rest on nature.

13. Dog Run for Large Dogs

The dog run in the image above is built for large dogs like German Shepherds. For large dogs, at a minimum, the dog run should be twice as wide and five times as long as the length of your dog. A dog run of that size will your dog plenty of room to run, play, and explore without feeling cramped.

14. Dog Run with Water Fountain

dog run with water fountain

A water fountain is an attractive addition for your dog run. Providing you install a water fountain that has a self-circulating filtration system, it will provide your dog with a continuous flow of fresh, filtered water.

15. Composite Decking Dog Run

dog run with composite decking

Concrete decking has become a popular flooring option for a dog run and dog kennel. It is easy to clean, easy to maintain, and weather-resistant. You don’t need to paint it and it looks good over a long period of time.

16. Dog Run with Pergola

dog run with pergola

Installing pergola not only can provide the shade for your dog, but it can also enhance the overall look of your dog run. It is easy to construct one, or you can purchase a pre-made one.

17. Dog Run with Patio Umbrella

dog run with patio umbrella

An unused patio umbrella can be another good option for your dog run shade.

18. Dog Run with Pool

dog run with pool

If your yard is big, you might want to consider putting a pool in your backyard alongside the dog run. A swimming pool offers a number of advantages: it gives your dog another option to exercise and it offers a great way to cool off on a hot summer day.

19. Dog Run with Potty Station

dog run with potty station

Setting up a potty station next to your dog run keeps your lawn green and healthy. A simple DIY potty station can be made using rock and gravel. Cleaning is easy, you just need to hose it down to quickly rinse your dog’s urine.

20. Dog Run for Two Dogs Or More

dog run for two dogs or more.

The dog run above is a great inspiration for dog owners having two dogs or more.

21. Paving Stone Dog Run

Paving stone is another flooring option for the dog run. Paving stone is a slip-resistant, which means easy solid waste removal and easy cleaning.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.