How to Build a Dog House W/ Air Conditioning




About: project engineer

This is my first instructable!  yee haa!

This instructable will detail the dog house I built this summer.  This dog house was built for two itty bitty fragile dogs as a safe haven from the bigger dogs and features: 
-an air conditioner
-electrical outlet
-exterior conduit electrical
-large "people" access doors
-small "doggy" window and door
-treated lumber stilt foundation (no termites allowed)

"Rough" (some say lazy I say rough and efficient) construction methods were utilized, but dog house is durable and easily supports myself (190lbs). 

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Designing and Costing

The first step was designing the dog house.  The dogs using this house are very small so the major factor in this design was my size.  This dog house is about as small as possible while allowing space for me to get inside and perform maintenance (filter changing, clean up, dog beds, etc.) or hide.  These design sketches have pretty minimal dimensioning and consist of random presentation views, so they should be easy to tweek.  If planning on going much larger, stilt (column) supports should be added in grid-like layout at least every 6ft in length and width directions. 

Also included in this step was my cost analysis.  This dog house cost about $300 (including the air conditioner) and 3 gray hairs. 

Step 2: Column Foundation & Floor Frame

After designing and obtaining material, the next step is building the column foundation and floor frame.  This seems like two steps, but I built the floor frame first so I could more easily tell where to dig the post holes.  The floor frame was built to sketch with support studs at least every 16 inches.  This floor frame was positioned on ground where dog house will be located and 1ft deep holes were dug at the left and right of it.  The front 2 hole were dug back a bit from the front of the frame to allow for a small porch.  The treated post were left a bit long to be trimmed later and the frame was elevated, roughly leveled, and fastened to posts.  Frame is not very stable at this point, but additional fasteners will be added at wall frame and plywood steps. 

Step 3: Rear Wall W/ Air Conditioner Support

The next step was building and installing the rear wall.  The wall plywood was cut to sketch.  Determine the height of the wall frame as shown in the 1st picture.  There must be enough unsupported plywood extending above the wall to attached the roof supports later.  Decide where to position the air conditioner while considering how the filter is removed.  In this case the filter slid out the right side of the unit so it was easiest to make the supports hold the unit in the top left of the wall.  In the second picture the rear wall frame is rotated 180 degrees for ease of measurement, cutting, and building.  Then the wall frame was fastened between the 2 rear posts and the extra post lengths were cut off to the top of the wall.  Next the window for the air unit is cut out and the plywood fastened to the posts and frame. 

Step 4: Front Door and Window

Since the front wall contains the door and window, the plywood was cut first so the frame could be built around the geometries.  The window frame overlaps the window by at least 1 inch with a cut-out slightly smaller than the wall cut-out to stop the glass from falling through.  The window frame is fastened to the wall plywood and the glass placed in and fastened with silicone. 

Step 5: Floor Plywood

The plywood for the floor was cut-out and fastened to the floor frame as shown.  A few of these cuts were not square due to the "rough" construction methods utilized for this dog house, but the dogs have not complained.... yet

Step 6: Remaining Wall Framing

The next step was framing in the remaining walls.  Clearance was checked for the front window and door and the vertical side studs were widely spaced to allow for access doors later. 

Step 7: Wall Plywood

Next the plywood for walls were finished and installed.  The doors cut-out on the right wall were such that when closed they were both supported by the frame's center stud.  Note that the side walls are slightly lower than the frame to avoid the slope of the roof supports later. 

Step 8: Roof Frame and Plywood

Then the roof was framed and plyed.  The V-like roof trusses were built first.  Then 2 of the trusses were fastened to the front and rear plywood.  Next the length-wise studs were made long enough to cover the porch and the air unit and fastened to the 1st 2 trusses.  Then the remaining trusses were fastened in place.  After the frame was completed the plywood was cut and fastened.  At this point the roof frame will not be square, but if squared on the bottom left and right of the frame the excess on the front or back can be cut off and used to make up the defficit on the front or back (shown in picture 4 & 5). 

Step 9: Roof Tar Paper and Shingles

Then the roof was tar papered and shingled as shown and per manufacturer recommendations. 

Step 10: Dog Door

Next the dog door was fabricated by stapling alternating 50% overlapping heavy duty clear plastic strips to a 2x4 and fastening the assembly above the inside of the door. 

Step 11: Electrical

Then exterior conduit and wire were run from the "outside" breaker in the house to an outlet secured on one of the posts.  If done over this would be buried to avoid dog chewing on conduit, which thankfully hasn't happened yet. 

Step 12: Silicone and Paint

Then the exterior was sealed with silicone and coated with paint.  This white paint was later deemed "unacceptable" and updated to pink with purple trim to match the neighboring birdhouse, a look I am sure the neighbors love...

and about $300 bucks and six non-consecutive hours later... that's it! 
a safe haven for the little ones

ps. slapped some steps together with left over plywood for sides and 2x4 steps, but its not touching structure because its not treated. 



    • Indoor Lighting Contest

      Indoor Lighting Contest
    • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
    • DIY Summer Camp Contest

      DIY Summer Camp Contest

    37 Discussions


    Question 2 months ago on Introduction

    Do you have the plans or measurements available?

    My wife insists on dog houses, dog beds, pads, etc for our big Husky mix. All he does is pull out the bed pad, shred it, rip the guts out, then go lay on his back, spread-eagle in the middle of the yard in the grass. If the weather gets too hot, he digs a new crater under the deck an lays in the cool dirt. Go figure.

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Can you use larger Windows ?


    3 years ago

    You said it was $300.00 with the AC, where did you get the AC?

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    We build a dog house for my Doberman Ely. We had a heat lamp, a foam pad and a few blankets in there for him. At first he didn't like it so he would drag the stuff out side and sleep on it. The reason we had him in a dog house is he couldn't get up the stairs anymore. 13 is pretty old for a doberman. Everybody but people in uniform he liked for some reason..

    4 replies

    Brandon, I realize your comment is 5 years old but here I am so....

    When I was growing up, pets were disposable. You took decent care of them, took them for rabies shots and such. But if one got seriously sick or injured you humanely put it down. There was no money for big vet bills.

    I'm getting along in years now and have two dogs. I spend lots of time with them and can tell you these dogs would not hesitate to sacrifice themselves to protect each other or my family. In fact, the dogs are family too. For such loyalty and companionship, I'm grateful. My biggest dog (and he is very big) will almost certainly develop joint problems before old age comes and when it does I'll gladly spend whatever I must, if I have it, to help my dog. And if he's suffering I'll see that he's put down quietly.

    I know you think comments you make seem clever or maybe it's to get a reaction from someone. It's hard to say. Maybe if your father paid more attention to you growing up or your mom hugged you a little less, you'd be less needy for attention now and would spend less time playing Mine Craft. I guess.

    We used a .30-06 for a blind cat. But he died while i was in Vegas of natural causes and my dad called me about him. He died at 3:21am on a wednesday on the 14th of august. Softest floppy ears you would ever feel.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Air conditioning??? Come on, it's a dog.  The passive cooling effects of a shaded space is really enough.  If not, then a quick shave would settle the difference.

    6 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    No no no! Please NEVER shave a dog, not any dog. People mean well but that dog is coated that way for a reason. If you have a double coated dog then nature, God, evolution, whatever you trust in, engineered that animal as a complete working package that will regulate it's own body temperature the best it can. Give it shade, plenty of water, circulating air, even a kiddie pool ($5 at Walmart) which are all natural ways the dog's body will take care of cooling down. The dogs coat is part of a system used to regulate body temperature change. Think of desert nomads or even U.S. soldiers in arid countries. They don't strip down to cool down. Same with a dog.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Where I live dogs need air conditioning in the summer.... It gets to be 115 degrees outside, last year temperatures where 120. Dogs die of heat stroke a lot where I live.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    NEVER shave a dog. Their coats protect them from the heat, naturally. Make sure they are brushed to get the loose hair, but never shave them.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for the instructions. Great build and idea. We are planning to build a dog house for our dogs we are planning to place air conditioner with heat in ours too. Our girls are in the house when we are home and currently in crates when we are gone, however, if we are gone for a long period of time we want them to be comfortable and safe when outside, so we understand the importance of having a source of cooling and heat when they use their house outside.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Totes making this for my chihuahua! And maybe one for my older dog too. They'll probably need it in the summer here, lol.