DIY: How to build a small portable indoor dog pen

Portable indoor canine pens are easy to assemble and can be made for a fraction of pet stores' prices.


Dog ownership presents a number of problems

that must be overcome if the interaction between the owner and the animal is to be optimized.   Dogs that are kept in the house cannot always be allowed to have free run of the house.  Young puppies, for example, must often be confined to smaller spaces so that they can be housebroken.  Other dogs might be destructive if given free run of the house in the owner’s absence.  Small portable indoor dog pens offer a solution to these problems.  Small pens can easily be constructed using a variety of materials.

When choosing materials for an indoor pen several factors must be kept in mind.  The most important factor is dog’s safety.  Don’t choose materials that can be chewed up by the dog and possibly swallowed and don’t choose materials that might allow the dog to become entangled and injured.  Welded wire is a particularly suitable material for indoor dog pens.  It comes in a variety of mesh sizes.  It is light weight but also relatively rigid.  

The specifics of the pen’s construction will vary with factors like the size of pen you need and where in the house you intend to place it.  For small dogs, a pen that is two or three feet high should be sufficient.  Larger dogs will require higher pens to prevent them from jumping out of the pen.  Indoor pens are most convenient if they can be easily moved.  While you could simply unroll the welded wire and fasten the ends together to make a circular pen, the pen would be very cumbersome to move if the need arose.  More practical pen design is one constructed of panels.

Panel size will vary according to your particular needs.  Panels that are about four feet in length, however, are easy to work with.  They are fairly rigid when cut from the welded wire and, when the pen is disassembled, they are easy to move about the house and store.    Use the factory edges of the welded wire for the tops and bottoms of the panels since those are the parts that both you and the dog will have more physical contact with.  The factory edges are smooth and less likely to injure you or the dog or snag your clothing.  Cut each of the panels perpendiculars to the factory edges using wire cutters.  Cut each wire right at the end of the mesh so that your panel ends in closed mesh rather than in an assortment of loose ends. Use a fine file to file down each of the cut ends so that they are as smooth as possible.

At this point you can choose to permanently attach some or all of the panels to one another using hog rings.  Make sure that you clamp the hog rings loosely enough that they will allow the panels to fold on one another when the pen is disassembled.  This will make it easy to move the pen and to store it.  If you plan to move the pen frequently it is best to permanently attach only three or so panels to one another using the hog rings.  Then the sets of panels can be attached together semi-permanently with each new set-up using zip rings or even wire twists.

Portable indoor dog pens are very easy to assemble and can be made for a fraction of the price asked in pet stores.  Custom made pens are also more likely to meet the owner’s specific needs better than commercially produced versions.