How to Make an Inexpensive Dog Exercise Pen

Two dogs getting some much needed exercise.
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Dogs love (and need) to spend time running around, and if you don’t have the luxury of turning your dog loose on acres and acres of land, you may find yourself in need of an exercise pen. You can purchase one and even hire someone to put it up for you, but it’s also very easy to make on your own.

Why Your Dog Needs Exercise

First of all, let’s briefly discuss why you should consider building an exercise pen for your dog. Dogs need daily exercise, and if they don’t get it, you might notice behavioral problems such as destructive chewing, being awake at night, jumping on people and play biting. It’s also not healthy for your dog to be sedentary all day, and you may find your dog putting on excessive weight if they don’t get enough exercise.

Supplies to Gather

You’ll want to make your exercise pen out of a relatively inexpensive and lightweight material, so that you easily can deconstruct it and move it around if need be. I recommend using either hog wire, a strong fencing material consisting of small metal rectangles or plastic garden lattice. You will need eye snap bolts if you choose hog wire and PVC pipes if you choose plastic garden lattice.


Before you start to build, use a measuring tape to measure out the available space in your yard and figure out what you want the dimensions of your pen to be. Next, lay out your fencing material on a flat surface and cut it into sections of the appropriate length. Lay your panels end to end and connect them with eye snap bolts (for the hog wire), or construct a frame out of PVC pipes that you can put your fence over (for the garden lattice). Make sure that your pen will stay closed when your dog is in it, and set it up in your yard.

Things to Watch For

Make sure that your exercise pen is tall enough that your dog can’t easily jump over it. You should keep in mind that your exercise pen is not a space that you should leave your dog in unsupervised while you’re at work all day; because it is made out of a relatively lightweight material, you should keep an eye on your dog while he is playing in it. Make sure that you set the pen up in a flat area so that it will be stable and your dog won’t be at risk of injuring himself or knocking over the pen.