When your pup isn’t lounging on the couch or drooling on your bed pillows, they’re ready to have fun and be active. Indoor play means dodging end tables and hurdling over couches, but a dog’s backyard is their favorite place to blow off steam. You don’t need acres of outdoor space to create an area your dog will love. Even modestly-sized yards can meet all your dogs playtime requirements if you’re willing to get creative. Here are a few ideas to turn your average backyard into the ultimate doggy haven.
#1 – Safety First
Before you get to the fun stuff, your first priority should always be safety. Dogs should never be left outside unsupervised for long periods of time. But even if you only take your eyes off them for a second, they always seem to get into trouble. Give your nerves a break by puppy-proofing your backyard.
Surround the area with a sturdy fence. It needs to be tall enough that your dog can’t jump over (seven feet is recommended for owners of big dogs), and it should be dug into the ground so they can’t dig out underneath. Make sure the gate won’t accidentally pop open if your dog jumps on the latch, and avoid fences with slits or rungs. Besides the fence, research plants that could be harmful to a dog’s health.
#2 – Outdoor Abode
Your pup will need some form of shade to stay cool in between games of fetch. A stylish dog house will give them a place to relax and can even contribute to your yard’s impressive appearance. You can go the classic route with a Snoopy-style house or get creative and build a custom shelter. Make sure it blocks the sun, and you’ll do yourself a favor by situating it near a water source for easy water bowl refills. Accessorize with a comfy, durable bed, and your dog may never want to leave.
#3 – Cooling Station
If your dog loves water, consider installing some kind of water feature to your yard. Dog-friendly fountains and ponds are usually weekend DIY projects. Layout river rock around the area to minimize mud. Bone-shaped pools are also popular items for passionate pet parents. They’re like plastic baby pools, and you can build your own pool deck to make it a permanent part of the yard. The water-loving dog in your life will be forever grateful.
#4 – Peek-a-Boo Window
For social dogs that like to interact with neighbors, a window in the fence is a cute and creative way to appease their friendly personalities. You can buy plastic portholes at most hardware stores or online, and you’ll need to cut a hole in the fence and secure the window in place. You can also craft a window without the porthole by using chicken wire or welded wire fencing. It’ll give your dog a safe way to see what’s going on, and everyone he sees will probably be just as excited as he is.
#5 – Agility Course
In the competitive world of dog sports, agility is all about speed, flexibility, and determination. You can use a backyard agility course to train your pup for the big leagues, or it can be a fun way to get them moving. Set up weave poles using PVC pipe, and it’ll only take a few pieces of wood and some paint to make a seesaw and ramp. The whole set-up might not fit in a small yard, but you can pick and choose which obstacles you want to include. It’ll be like a playground that also benefits your dog’s physical health.