Dog House DIY

by Yun-Han Lin

We adopted a one-year-old female mixed breed two months ago, weighing about 20 kilograms. She has short-hair, with brown and white fur and black spots on her belly. We named her Nana. This is the first time we keep a dog, and we were stunned by the countless types of dog beds and houses that people can buy from stores. Hence, we spent some time looking into some designs, tried a few ones, and decided to make one of our own. The following is the process we refurnished our designs over time.

Common Designs on the Market

In Taiwan, it is common to see small dogs in the city. The dog beds on the market are mainly open-front beds where a cushion is placed on the ground as an upholster. Another design that has been popular in recent years is the elevated dog bed, where a breathable fabric is stretched onto a metal frame. This design features an elevation above ground for ventilation to prevent moisture.

Upholster (left); elevated bed (right)

Models We Tried

Mixed breed dogs are slightly bigger than common pet dogs, and the wearables and products for them come in fewer selections but higher price. Nana has the instinct a stray dog in her blood, as she usually feels timid and stays alert. Therefore, when we took her home, we put her in a medium-sized transport cage we got from a relative. The cage comes with a top cover that makes her feel safer. Although the cage was comfy enough, she could not fully stretch her legs, so we tried to find the next dog house. For the second model, we chose a playpen with metal fence where items and objects could be shelved and displayed. This model features a fence built with square grids fixed together using straps. A sleeping mattress is placed inside, and a cloth is placed on top as the covering. It became more comfortable for Nana, but after a few weeks of sleep, the mattress got damp. We realized it is better that the frame set up above ground, so we decided to tried the third model by ourselves!

Transport cage (left); grid fence playpen (right)

Design

Since we needed a dog house with a top cover, we ruled out the options with open-front designs. I was thinking about any simple design that can help finish the work quickly. After referring to a large number of works and products on the Internet, I finished the drawing before long. Considering the humidity and ventilation, I just put a piece of cloth on the top. For the outer frame, I used leftover bits and pieces of wood, where the overall structure was designed with a pointed roof, and the four supporting legs were adjusted in angles. The bottom was elevated for the height just enough for a sweeping robot to get in and out.

Feedback & Reflection

The biggest problem encountered was that a three-dimensional geometric structure composed of such straight lines, like this design, is usually built through one point meeting an end of other three lines. In other words, as we tried to fix together the structure using screws, the screws could rub against each other at the points where three lines met. We solved the problem by adjusting the position of some bars. In a way, it also affected the overall appearance of the work. Next time, I want to find a better and faster method by trying different angles or the entire building methods.

In addition, the X structure supporting the bottom should be a lap joint with one integrity, so that the structure can be strengthened and can hold the bottom. Yet, the structure we had was formed by three separate strips, which had greatly decrease supporting. This was not too big a problem, because Nana weighs about only 20kg.

We are very satisfied with the final product, and Nana quickly got used to her new house. We are thinking about adding a curtain someday, which serves as a partition for Nana to have her own space when she sleeps.


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