How to build your own doghouse

If your dog spends long hours outdoors, it needs a warm, dry shelter in winter and shade and rain protection in summer. A two-room design provides both, and a removable panel makes the house easy to clean.

Base the dimensions on the size of your dog. Body heat will be the only source of warmth, so the inner room should be just large enough for your pet to lie down. To determine the size, have the dog curl up on a piece of cardboard; then outline its body.

Add 4 to 6 inches to both dimensions. Make the outer room half as wide as the inner one. To determine height, have your dog sit; then measure the distance from the floor to the top of its head and add 6 inches (12 inches in a warm climate). Make the doorways shoulder high and 2 inches more than shoulder wide.

Use 3/4-inch exterior plywood for the floor and roof, and frame the floor with pressure-treated 2 x 4s to make an insulating space below. Make the walls and the partition from 3/4-inch particle board. Rabbet the opening for the removable panel so that the panel will fit snugly; it can be held in place by turn buttons as shown, or it can be hinged on top to make an awning in summer. Shingle the roof.

In very cold regions, insulate the inner room by gluing 1 1/2-inch solid foam to the walls and roof during construction. Cover with 1/4-inch hardboard. Use layers of scrap carpet to insulate the floor. In warm climates, cut vents near the peaks of the end walls and the partition.