Our Pallet Doghouse

As a part of our campsite build this summer, we decided to make a semi-permanent dog run. We needed a spot to keep our Jack Russel Terriers, Dolly and Rascal, comfortable and out of mischief.

Bonnie-Jean and I did a lot of this build, with help from our dad. We had tons of fun, even though it was very hot outside!

Since we had gotten rid of most of our old tools before we moved to Springfield, we purchased a Skil circular saw for this project.

We tried using the new saw to cut a piece of plywood for another project, and immediately knew there was a problem — it couldn’t cut straight. Our Dad examined it and realized the cutting guide was actually attached at a crooked angle. There was nothing to do but take it back and look for another saw. This time, we purchased a Metabo circular saw.

We chose to use pallet wood because it was much more affordable than dimensional lumber these days. We picked up some pallets for $4 a piece from RaceBrothers, our local farm store, and got to work dismantling them. Since we didn’t have our generator yet, we did this project at our apartment in town on our small balcony.

The task of taking apart the pallets was much more difficult than we anticipated. We started by using various bars and hammers to pry the boards off of the frame. This process was very time consuming and, unfortunately, led to a lot of split pieces of wood.

Since we knew we would be cutting almost all the boards for our project anyway, we tried using a circular saw to just cut the boards on the sides, so we only had to pry on the center part of the board, where splitting was less frequent. We used our new Metabo circular saw, which seemed to be a better quality than the Skil one had been. This method left the boards in better shape, but left the frame a mess. Since we wanted to use the frame boards, we still had to use bars and hammers to get the old nails out.

Finally, our dad helped us use his sawzall to cut the nails. This method preserved all the boards, plus, I liked the character the old nail heads added to the finished product.

We chose a double-doghouse design, sizing each half to be similar to the crates our dogs were used to. This allowed us to use beds/crate pads we already had. We built it on a little pallet platform that elevates the house off the ground and acts as a little porch.

While similar doghouses we saw online used a whole pallet for the platform, we built a smaller version. We wanted something that we could move to our land in our folks Ford Explorer. 

Next, we used the pallet frame wood to build the frame of the doghouse. We built three walls and connected them together.

We created a removable divider for the doghouse using some scrap plywood and stakes. We plan to leave it in most of the time, but wanted the option of taking it out. We had more issues with the Metabo saw, so we took it back and bought a Milwaukee saw. It cost more, but the difference was worth it.

We used more pallet wood to create the roof, and we covered it with an asphalt panel.

We left the base, house, and roof in separate pieces for transportation. Screwing them together on site was easy. 

We made a basic dog run from welded wire and T-posts. A wooden gate completed the project.

Rascal and Dolly loved the house, but they are not a fan of being cooped up while we are busy. So far, Rascal has found a way to break out of the run whenever he is left unsupervised. Jack Russell proofing the run is going to be another project all of its own.

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