How to Build a Dog Shade Shelter

Rope run through grommets will secure your canvas dog shelter in place.
Hemera Technologies/ Images

During the dog days of summer, your pooch will appreciate a spot in the shade to drowse away the afternoon. His house isn't an option. Dog houses trap heat and can become hotter inside than it is outside when the temperature rises. Build Ryder a simple shade shelter with a piece of canvas tarp. It doesn't have to be huge -- a 4 or 5 foot square piece should provide ample shade. Check out the path that the sun travels during the day before you erect the shelter, then place it so that Ryder has shade all day long.

Inserting the Grommets

Step 1

Fold the edge of one of the corners of the tarp over to create a doubled-up portion that is just a bit wider than one of the grommets.

Step 2

Lay the folded part of the tarp on the block of wood and place the hole punch from the grommet kit on the spot on the tarp corner upon which you want the grommet.

Step 3

Pound the hole punch several times with the hammer to create a hole in your tarp that goes entirely through both layers.

Step 4

Place the base plate from the grommet kit on the block of wood with the concave side up and put a male grommet piece on the base plate with the raised side up. The grommet will fit down into the concave piece of the base plate.

Step 5

Slide the hole in the canvas down over the raised part of the male grommet and then place the female part of the grommet on top of the canvas, smooth side up.

Step 6

Place the pin from the grommet kit on top of the female grommet. One end of the pin is smaller and will fit inside the grommet, down through all the layers.

Step 7

Pound the pin hard two to three times to press the grommet pieces together. Check the grommet to ensure that it is pressed tight enough that it won't move around inside the hole in the canvas.

Step 8

Place a grommet in the other three corners of the tarp.

Erecting the Shelter

Step 1

Insert a length of rope into two grommets on adjoining corners of your tarp (not ones that are diagonal from each other) and tie them securely to a fence or your porch or deck railing.

Step 2

Angle the free end of the tarp down to the ground and pound a stake into the ground next to each of the two corners.

Step 3

Run a piece of rope through each of the two loose corners on your tarp and tie each rope to the nearest stake to secure the shelter in place.


  • If you don't have a spot near a fence or railing that can be used to secure the front end of the shelter you can use two dowels. Make sure they are substantial enough to support the shelter. Just pound them into the ground 4 or 5 feet apart -- however wide your tarp is -- and tie two of the corners of the tarp to them as you would if you were securing the shelter to your porch railing.

  • You can suspend all four corners up off the ground rather than angling one side down. Just use taller stakes, about 3 to 4 feet long, instead of the smaller ones.

  • Even with a nice shady place to rest, remember that your pooch needs plenty of water to keep him hydrated in hot temperatures.

Items You Will Need

  • Block of wood
  • Grommet kit
  • Canvas tarp
  • Four 12-inch lengths of rope
  • Two 6-inch wooden stakes
  • Hammer