Sep 6, 2010

How to Build an Outdoor Dog Run

No Dog AreaImage by kjpm via Flickr

When my sister started to build the “mansion” (as I like to call it – they have a large family) where Prince Gomez the Golden doodle lives, she called me over to talk with the head contractor and the architect. They wanted direction about how they could “Handle the poop” from Gomez. At first I was laughing inside (“Handle the poop”) but after listening for 20 minutes to what they were building, I was blown away at the amount of thought, time and effort they were putting in to ensure this new home would be as green as they could make it.

We may not all be able to afford to build a home that is totally green, or have the time; but each of us can and should take action when it comes to picking up after our dogs. Being a responsible dog owner is an area we can all make a difference in, and we can set a precedent for others to follow. It isn’t very hard and we do not have to spend a lot of money.

If you are willing to put the time and money into a bigger effort than just “picking up”, however, here are a few of the things I had them do at my sister’s new home.

I had them pick where the dog’s run was going to be, then had them order powdered lime, peat moss and pea gravel for the different levels.

1. Lime Powder- this is your base. Rake the dirt well and try to slope it downhill a bit away from any public sewers or natural water (lake, river, pond, etc.). The water and the dog’s urine will now run off into an area where it will not go directly into the public drains or public waterways. The lime will help act as a deodorizer and wick moisture from the top layers.

2. Then I had them put the peat moss on top of the lime. The peat moss acts as a sponge and will also help to drain the dog run area.

3. Next I used the pea size gravel to help keep this area clean. My sister and I am a bit germ phobic when it comes to our dogs tracking things with their paws. The pea gravel is very easy to clean with a hose; it also drains well and is not hard on our dogs’ paws.

4. The last thing I had them order and use at home for my own dogs is a type of special turf that has a scent that will attract our dogs to use that instead of the real grass. This did take training but as with everything worthwhile for our dogs, they love training. It uses both their minds and a certain amount of physical energy. If you are lucky enough to start with a puppy, great, but any age dog can learn to use a dog run.

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