DIY dog play areas

We're an affiliate

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page at no additional cost to you. Thank you if you use our links, we really appreciate it!

Unlike what many people think, you don’t have to break the bank to create a good play area for your furry friend.

DIY dog play areas are the perfect solution for pet parents who want to treat their furry companions without attaching a hefty budget.

With some creativity and the right tools, you can transform your indoor space or yard into a play paradise for your lovely pooch.

10 Indoor DIY Dog Play Areas

1.    Secure the area with an indoor playpen

Indoor DIY Dog Play Areas
Image Credit: doggearreview

Your dog’s safety should come before adding fun activities to their indoor environment. Installing a playpen is one of the best ways to secure a small playing area for your pup.

If you have a baby gate, you don’t need to purchase an additional playpen because you can use the former to create a contained space for your dog.

It’s best if you have a spare room because you can transform it into a fully furnished play area for your canine king.

Check out the procedure from My Dog Gear Review on how you can install a playpen in your home.

2.    Create a pet-friendly indoor floor

Dog on carpet
Image Credit: cooper_meno_maltese from Instagram

Dogs love to dig. Without a proper flooring material, your furry friend can create a huge mess when playing indoor games.

When planning a comfortable indoor play area for your dog, we recommend carpeting the floor with a material of your choice.

In addition to being comfortable, the carpet will prevent your dog’s paws from clicking on the hard floor, thereby preventing potential injuries.

If you’re still potty-training your puppy, we recommend laminating the floor with an easy-to-clean waterproof material to keep the wet messes away.

Furnishing your pet’s corner with a soft rug is also an option to consider when crafting a comfortable play area for dogs.

One thing we love about rugs is how easy they are to clean and replace, without having a direct impact on the hard floor.

Check out Carpet Right for more advice and insights on how you can protect your dog from the hard concrete floor.

3.    Ball pit

Dog in a Ball Pit
Image Credit: thatdoggychi from Instagram

A simple ball pit appropriate in size can provide endless entertainment to your dog, allowing them to dive, burrow, and retrieve toys in the comfort of their home.

To create a DIY ball pit, fill a large container or kiddie pool with plastic balls that are safe for your dog to play with. Ensure the balls are large enough to prevent choking hazards.

Want to see how to build an awesome indoor ball pit for your furry friend?  The Dawghouse has a great video tutorial.

4.    Tug of war

Dog with tug
Image Credit: oliverchibiyorkie from Instagram

Playing a rousing tug-of-war game with your furry friend is even more fun and interactive with a simple homemade toy

You can make such toys with repurposed materials or things you have around the house to create a unique accessory within your budget.

Rob Harris from Daily Puppy shares simple instructions and ideas for creating a homemade toy for tug using common household items.

5.    Indoor sensory area

Dog snuffle mat
Image Credit: iris.the.dalmatian from Instagram

Create an indoor sensory area to keep your dog busy through nose work. We loved the approach by hannegrice that involved the use of easy-to-find materials.

One way is to make a snuffle mat and sprinkle your dog’s favorite treats for enrichment. Snuffle mats provide a unique texture and a fun way for your dog to hunt for hidden treats indoors.

You can also create an herb garden for dogs by filling plant pots with dog-friendly plants for them to sniff and search. Remember catnip isn’t just for cats, so feel free to use it for your dog.

6.    Stairs

Dog stairs
Image Credit: mantou_kiki_pugslife from Instagram

Allowing your dog to take a few trips up and down sturdy stairs can be a great way to provide physical exercise while eliminating boredom.

We strongly recommend carpeting your stairs to eliminate the risks of accidental slips and injuries on smooth surfaces

If your dog hasn’t mastered the stairs, use a leash to guide them up and down at a safe pace. This helps them learn with your support.

Start slow with baby steps (preferably on pet stairs) and offer lots of praise as your dog gets comfortable by the day.

7.    Zig zag challenge (Hurdles)

Image Credit: liliesloveandluna

You can turn your dog’s simple walk into an agility challenge with a zig-zag obstacle to build their focus and drive.

Set up a winding path using empty buckets, boxes, chairs, or whatever you have on hand. Your goal is to guide your canine buddy through the zig-zag path.  

Dogs are pack animals, and your pup sees you as a confident leader, so make sure to guide them through the zig-zag as you encourage them to mirror your movement.

8.    Dog Treat Dispenser

Image Credit: bluecross

A homemade treat-dispensing toy can do a great job of stimulating your furry friend both physically and mentally.

This indoor interactive area can be valuable to clever pups prone to destructive behavior when bored.

The procedure below by Blue Cross highlights how you can create a homemade treat dispensing toy for your dog with easy steps.

Step 1: Get a used plastic bottle, wash it well with clean soapy water, and remove the label but keep the lid.

Step 2: With your dog’s treat size in mind, cut two holes in the bottle, just a tiny bit bigger than the treats.

Step 3: Shove those tasty treats through the top of the bottle and securely replace the lid.

Step 4: Give the homemade dispenser to your lovely dog and watch them figure out how to get those delicious rewards.

Remember playtime is always safer with supervision. If your dog is a heavy chewer, it’s prudent to watch as they play with this dispenser because damaged bottles could create sharp edges.

9.    Indoor dog kennel

Dog Kennel
Image Credit: Gage Johnson

An indoor dog kennel can provide an all-in-one haven for your furry friend to eat, relax, play, rest, and sleep in comfort.

You can make an in-house kennel for your dog while factoring in their size, and your aesthetic appeal to complement the interior décor.

Below is a procedure from Gage Johnson that highlights how you can make a double indoor kennel to provides more than enough space for your pup:

Step 1: Gather your materials, including used plywood, boards, rebar, tray inserts, barrel locks, and T-hinges for this project.

Step 2: Cut the plywood to the desired size, add a riser for extra support, and drill pocket holes for easier assembly.

Step 3: Cut 1” x 4” boards to size, mark and drill holes to accommodate the rebar, and carefully assemble the end panels.

Step 4: Use 1” x 11” x 8” boards with pocket holes for assembly and add a 1” x 3 ½” x 8” board on top for additional height.

Step 5: Cut 1” x 4” x 10” boards, measure and mark them for the rebar, drill the necessary holes, and sand the frame pieces smoothly for a finished look.

Step 6: Build the center divider and securely attach it to the base and back panels to create two separate compartments.

Step 7: Build the doors and attach them with hinges, fill any visible screw holes, give the kennel a fresh coat of paint, and secure the top to complete the project.

Gage Johnson made this YouTube Video to give you visual inspiration on how you can get this project done. Be sure to check it out!

10. Indoor Dog Tunnel

Image Credit: liliesloveandluna

You can create a functional indoor tunnel with a few large chairs and a large blanket. Follow the procedure below inspired by Lillies, Love and Luna to create this DIY doggy tunnel:

Step 1: Grab a few sturdy chairs and a large blanket (Dining chairs will work really well for this project).

Step 2: Space the chairs facing opposite sides, far enough apart for your dog to fit through without hitting the walls.

Step 3: Cover the chairs with a large blanket to make a cozy passageway.

You can add more chairs for a longer tunnel challenge or keep it short with just two for quick customization.

Once your homemade tunnel is built, show your dog how fun it is by crawling through the tunnel yourself. Then, hold a treat at the other end and call them over to explore the fun.

10 Outdoor DIY dog play areas

1.    Backyard dog park

Dog Backyard
Image Credit: labradorspike20 from Instagram

Safety should always be a priority when transforming an outdoor open space into a fun playground for your dog.

Clear the ground off any potentially harmful items, like dog-toxic plants, sharp objects, or areas with treated wood.  

Double-check that your fencing is secure to prevent escape artists from running out, and avoid using toxic pesticides and herbicides on your flower garden.

Once everything is safe for your lovely canine, you can add the following amenities to make the area fun and engaging:

  • A waterproof dog house
  • An outdoor comfy bed
  • Food and water bowls
  • A designated toileting area

Check this article by Jean Marie Bauhaus to get more insights and inspiration on how you can create an amazing play area in your yard.

2.    Digging Pit

Dog digging a pit
Image Credit: the_life_of_claude_and_elmo from Instagram

Dogs have an instinct to dig. It may be a leftover trait from their wild ancestors who burrowed dens for shelter or simply a way to hide their favorite treasures.

We strongly discourage pet owners from stopping their dogs from digging. You should rather provide them with a designated digging spot as a way to channel that energy in a safe place.

Here’s an easy-to-follow procedure inspired by Harriet Pittman on how you can create a simple dog-digging pit in your yard:

Step 1: Choose your dog’s favorable spot by picking an area of your backyard where digging won’t create a huge mess.

Step 2: Mark it off by using bricks, wood edging, or even visually distinct materials to show your dog this is their digging zone.

Step 3: Fill the marked area with loose dirt or sand. Just make sure the dirt has a soft texture to encourage Fido to sink their paws.

You can entice your dog to dig in the pit by burying a few treats or toys just under the surface of the dirt. Show them how to find one, and then let them discover the rest on their own.  

Once your pup becomes a pro in safe digging, you can make it more exciting by burying things deeper or hiding treats inside a sturdy dog toy, like a Kong, and letting them work for the treats.

3.    DIY Dog Tire jump

Dog Tire Jump
Image Credit: affordable_agility from Instagram

Recycled tires can provide a fantastic way to build your dog’s agility skills. Creating this play area for your dog is both budget-friendly and easy.

If you don’t have real tires, there are many ways to get creative with this fun DIY agility challenge at home.

A hula hoop, for example, is one of the easiest options you can consider.

All you need is to suspend it from a PVC frame for stability and start with it low to the ground because the visual difference can be challenging for some dogs.  

Another great choice is the landscape drain pipe. We love it because of its toughness and it also comes in a variety of thickness.

For a safe jump, the side diameter of 20 inches can work for many dogs, but go for 24 inches if you have a bigger pup.  

Get the full procedure, outlined by Camp Bandy on how you can create this agility equipment for your dog

4.    Agility weave poles

Dog weaving pole
Image Credit: nia.agility from Instagram

Weaving through a series of poles is a classic agility challenge that can improve your dog’s coordination, and focus while building an awesome bond.  

Luckily, making your own set is a simple and rewarding DIY project, more so when you get the process right.

The following is a stepwise procedure from Kama Loves Agility you can follow to create agility weave poles for your dog.

Step 1: Cut PVC pipe to 40-inch lengths. Add PVC caps to one end of each pole, and paint the poles if desired. Use colors allowed by agility rules if you plan to compete).

Step 2: Mark a 48” slotted flat 12” from each end, then cut another 48” slotted flat into four 12” pieces, and attach two 12” pieces on opposite sides of the marked 48” pieces to create an “X” shape base, securing it tightly with carriage bolts, washers, and hex nuts.

Step 3: Drill holes in the PVC cap the same size as your carriage bolts, attach a PVC coupling to the bottom of each pole, and slide the pole into the PVC cap attached to the base.

Step 4: Create as many sets of poles and bases as you’d like for your weave pole training.

5.    Scent work games for dogs

Dog Sniffing
Image Credit: toby_ourlovelydog from Instagram

If you have a clever pup, you know how mischievous they can get when bored. A scent game is one of the best options to keep your smart dog occupied in finding hidden treasures as rewards.

Here are two fun scent game ideas that you can try today:

  • The Puzzle Log

Drill some holes into a natural log and hide a few treats inside. The natural scent of the wood adds an extra challenge! Reward your dog for their sniffing efforts, even if they don’t get all the treats out.

  • The Backyard Hunt

Let a section of your lawn grow a bit taller, then scatter some treats or kibble within the longer grass.

This encourages sniffing and foraging fun. Remember to clean leftover food to avoid attracting bugs.

Looking for additional ways to challenge your dog’s nose? Check this post by The Confident K9 for ideas on scent work games.

6.    Shaded Area

Dog in a Shaded area
Image Credit: rocket_the_sprocker from Instagram

Keeping your furry friend protected from the scorching sun should be a priority during the hot summer months, especially for outdoor junkies.

Giving your furry friend a cool place to enjoy some fresh air while staying safe from the sun is easier than you think.

Below is a stepwise procedure from PDSA you can follow to create a DIY doggy sun den in your backyard:

Step 1: Choose a spot with some natural shade, like under trees. Remember, as the sun moves, you may need to relocate the shelter to keep it shaded.

Step 2: Set up a sturdy chair, table, or stool – this will be the frame for your shelter.

Step 3: Cover your frame with a large sheet or beach towel, ensuring the sides are covered to block the sun. Tuck the corners under the base to keep it from blowing away.

Step 4: Angle the back of the shelter open to allow for a breeze. This helps prevent it from getting too hot inside.

Step 5: Create an inviting entrance at the front of the shelter. A cooling mat or damp towel will also add a refreshing touch as your dog basks in the shade.  

7.    DIY Dog Pool

DIY Dog Play Areas
Image Credit: nilladventures from Instagram

Besides creating cool shade for your dog during the summer, you should consider installing a functional pool to keep Fido cool.

Dogs are great swimmers, and apart from the cooling effect, swimming provides a low-impact exercise that can strengthen the dog’s joints.

The following are the different types of dog-friendly pools you can consider installing for your canine friend in your yard:

  • Above ground pool
  • Dog stock tank pool
  • Built-in pool

Want to build the perfect pool for your pup?  Better Homes and Gardens offers practical tips and insights for your DIY dog pool project.

8.    Jumping Obstacles 

Jumping Obstacles 
Image Credit: stonetowncorgis from Instagram

A jumping obstacle can add exciting challenges to your dog’s outdoor play area. If your pup is new to obstacle training, we strongly recommend starting with jumps to build their pace.

DIY jumps can be as simple as a few PVC pipes assembled into hurdles or as elaborate as a sturdy wooden A-frame.  

Jumping obstacles can help intensify your dog’s strength, focus, coordination, and confidence. Plus, they’re a great way to practice agility skills and burn off energy in a fun and focused way.

For safety, design jumps that are easily collapsible to prevent injury if your furry friend misjudges the distance or height.

Check out this stepwise guide from Instructables on how you can create a simple PVC jumping obstacle for your dog.

9.    Tunneling obstacle 

Image Credit: petfinderfoundation

Getting your dog to crawl through a dim tunnel calls for consistent training and patience, but installing one in your backyard is very simple.

The following is a procedure from petfinderfoundation on how you can create a tunnel using repurposed tires:

Step 1: If you don’t have old tires, source some from a tire shop or junkyard. For aesthetic appeal, you can decorate them with a dog-safe paint of your choice.

Step 2: Drill a few holes in the bottom of each tire for proper drainage. This will help prevent trapped water from pooling inside.

Step 3: Dig a shallow trench, the length of your tunnel, and set the tires in the trench, with the drilled holes facing down. For reinforced stability, consider connecting the tires with nuts and bolts.

Step 4: Level the ground by filling in the trench, and packing soft dirt around the tires. Make sure the walking surface inside the tunnel is flat and comfortable for your dog.

10. Simple DIY Dog Ramp

Outdoor DIY dog play areas
Image Credit: dogstrust_canterbury from Instagram

Dog ramps can be a good addition to your dog’s obstacle course since it offers a fun way to practice agility and burn off excess energy.

Below is an easy-to-follow procedure you can use to create a ramp for your dog:

Step 1: Gather your materials for this project, which include plywood, 1 x 5 boards, screws, bolts, wood glue, etc.

Step 2: Use a jigsaw to cut the box, top, and leg pieces to the lengths listed in your plan, and carefully mark and cut the corners of the 1 x 5 boards to create angled sides.

Step 3: Use a template and jigsaw to round the top of each leg while ensuring both legs are cut similarly.

Step 4: Position the box ends between the side pieces and screw them together, keeping everything square. Attach the plywood bottom and the 1 x 5 crosspiece to the front of the plywood.

Step 5: Attach the plywood bottom to the box sides with trim head screws. Ensure the 1 x 5 crosspiece is flush with the front edge of the bottom.

This Old House has a great step-by-step guide for building a dog ramp. Check it out for detailed instructions.


Creating a special play area for your lovely canine companion is an act of love. These DIY dog play areas are highly customizable to fit your dog’s personality or needs.

The best part is watching your dog having the time of their life, knowing you made it happen.

Above all, remember to prioritize your dog’s safety and well-being as you design their perfect play zones.

Written By

Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.

Spread the love

No responses yet

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *