How to Build a Dog House Cheap From a Barrel

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In this post, I’ll show you how to build a dog house cheap from a barrel. We used materials that we already had around the yard so it really didn’t cost us a thing, but even if you need to buy the barrel you can find them really cheap on Craigslist. It is a quick DIY dog house project and my dog absolutely loves it.

I’ve always had a dog in my life. My dad can’t live without a dog. He just can’t, it’s not possible for him.

So, growing up, we always had a dog or two or three. My mother is super clean, so our dogs were always outside dogs but they were around constantly.

As I became an adult, living without a dog just didn’t make sense, so most of my adult life I had a dog around.

When we moved to the U.S., our dog moved with us. She went through so much with us here; moving from one state to another, living over the road in an eighteen-wheeler and so on… Then a couple of years ago we had to put her down.

We were transitioning from the city to the country so we decided to hold off on getting another dog. It didn’t feel normal to live without a dog and the kids kept asking for a puppy, they were missing the presence of a dog too.

So when we moved to the country the first animals we got were two puppies. They were squirrel hunting dogs and we got them thinking it will be nice to try our hand at squirrel hunting.

How to Build a Dog House Cheap From a Barrel…

Here is how to build a dog house cheap from a barrel. This dog house cost us nothing, it's super easy to build and the dog loves it! Add this to your dog house ideas and your DIY dog house plans. 
#doghousediy #doghouseideas #diydoghouseeasy #doghouseplans #barreldoghouse

We never got to squirrel hunting and by the amount of work there still is around here it doesn’t look like we are going to get to go squirrel hunting any time soon…

However, the dogs really wanted to go squirrel hunting and every time we let them out of the dog pen they disappeared into the woods. We can call them until next week, they don’t even hear us…

Here is the problem I had… My chickens free range. The dogs would go off in the woods and I wasn’t able to just stand there and wait for them to finish their woodland adventure so I would go about my business.

The dogs would come back while I was in the house and, frustrated by not getting their hunting done, they would hunt my chickens!

Yeah, that didn’t work.

Anyway, I ended up re-homing the both of them. 

But I needed a companion… You know, a dog that is a friend. A dog that follows you around the farm and that is gentle with the kids.

Finding Shayla…

My farm dog Shayla.

Then one day, I found Shayla at the local shelter. She is an Australian Shepherd mixed with Blue Heeler mixed (I think…).

I fell in love with her right away so I adopted her and hoped she’d make a great farm dog.

Shayla playing with the baby.

She does make a great farm dog! She is as sweet as can be, the kind of dog that will let your baby check their teeth. She doesn’t kill chickens and she will just hang around in the yard and follow me everywhere.

However, she loves running everything… She is a shepherd after all. So she’ll run the chickens, and she’ll try to get the goats going if I let her, and once she ran one of the ducks to the road.

It was hit by a car and died which was very sad but we did get to eat it so at least it wasn’t wasted.

She needs to be watched and can’t completely be trusted (I saw her eating a couple of eggs a few weeks ago!) but I am totally in love with her.

I got the friend that I was looking for!

Barrel Dog House…

Making an opening in the barrel.

Shayla needed a dog house because as much as I love her, she still lives outside, keeping a small farmhouse clean when you have four little kids is more than enough for me.

I was looking around the homestead and decided to use a couple of the barrels I had laying around. A friend gave them to me for free a couple of years ago and I never really put them to good use (I did build a beehive from one of them, thigh).

Since those are the ones without the removable top I am sure you’ll be able to find them on Craigslist for very little money.

I used a jigsaw to cut a circle in the top of the barrel to make an entrance.

Building the Base For the Dog House…

Making a wooden base for the barrel.

Next, we made this base that the barrel can sit on.

We cut scrap 1×6 lumber that we had laying around into two 3′ sections.

We laid the lumber on the ground and stood the barrel on top of it. Then we traced the shape of the lip of the barrel so we knew how to cut the lumber in a way that would fit the barrel.

Finally, we connected the two 3′ sections with a couple of pieces of lumber as you can see in the picture.

Another look at the wooden base.

Next, we positioned the barrel on the base…

Barrel dog house.

Like so…

Attaching the dog house to the base.

And drilled a couple of screws from inside the barrel to connect it to the base. It’s easy to do with the first board but harder with the one that is in the back. We had to wiggle our way into the barrel.

Making a Roof For the Barrel Dog House…

Making a roof for the dog house.

We needed a little roof over the entrance to make sure rain doesn’t go inside so we cut another barrel in half…

Making a roof for the barrel dog house.

And used the jigsaw to remove both ends (that’s my dad helping me with this project. My parents were here for a visit from Israel and this man can’t sit still if it will save his life, so that was a great project to get done).

Getting ready to install the roof.

We used liquid nail to attach the roof. There might be a better glue for this but we just had it in the shed so we used it. It’s been almost three years since we built this dog house and it’s still holding great.

Using glue to attach the roof of the dog house.

We made sure to use a good amount of glue…

Installing a roof for the dog house.

And then placed the roof on.

Placing a couple of bricks to hold the roof down until the glue dries.

We placed a couple of bricks on it…

The completed dog house.

Just to hold it down until the glue dries.

Cleaning excess glue from the dog house.

We cleaned the excess glue and let it be overnight.

Dog house is ready to use.

In the morning the glue was dry and it was ready to use.

Using the Barrel Dog House…

My dog inside of the barrel dog house.

Shayla absolutely loves it! I added some straw in there to keep her warm in the winter and I ended up placing it on the porch because it is her favorite spot.

I only have one problem with it…

A chicken inside of the dog house.

The chickens love it too! They keep going in there to lay their eggs and I have to get one of the kids to crawl in there to get the eggs before Shayla finds them because she learned that they taste really good.

It’s never boring on the farm… really.

I know this dog house will probably not make the first page of a famous magazine but it’s so comfortable for the dog.

You can for sure make it look a little better by making a nicer base but it cost us nothing and it serves its purpose so we’ll call it good and move on to the next project.

As you noticed, I use straw for the bedding mostly because I have it on hand for the other animals and it is very warm, insulating, and easy to clean up.

You can throw a blanket in there or a carpet or scrap fabric… Whatever you have.

Shayla is a medium size dog and it fits her perfectly.

I am now thinking that maybe I should use one of the other barrels to make nest boxes for my DIY Pallet chicken coop… We’ll see about that.

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10 thoughts on “How to Build a Dog House Cheap From a Barrel”

  1. I’m in animal rescue. This dog house may be cheap and easy but it is in no way a place for a dog. It is a very last resort. Barrels, or any plastic dog house, are freezing cold in the winter no matter how much straw you put in them. Never use hay, blankets or anything made of cloth in any dog house. They only draw dampness and often freeze and become moldy. Always use straw. If you are going to ban her from the house, I would think you would build or purchase an insulated dog house. While you may think this is a great little place for your dog to stay, I can assure you she doesn’t. The porch is her favorite place because it’s closest to her family. If you won’t allow her inside because you can’t keep up with the mess, then you certainly aren’t a true “homesteader”.
    The only positive I can see in this piece, is at least she’s not on a chain.

  2. We had 3 barrels and needed a dog house for our border collie when he’s in the kennel.

    We cut out the end of one barrel–leaving a lip to keep the cedar shavings in the barrel.
    Our collie removed the shavings and tugged the barrel to a different spot in the kennel despite large concrete blocks on both sides.

    We decided to get a “proper” doghouse online–many had bad reviews. We attempted to find a local builder–there aren’t any. The big brand businesses made it unprofitable for them to build them.

    Therefore, I did a barrel doghouse search and found you. Given our dog’s larger size and strength at eight months old, we made a few tweaks to your plan.

    We used supplies we had on hand. We used 2″x 6″ 3-foot boards to complete the circle cut area. We connected the curved pieces with 4″x4″ posts on the bottom outside corners. Finally, we used 2’x4′ boards that fit between the circles on the top corners of the curve and touched the barrel. We wrapped and secured a belly band of heavy gauge wire around the cut portion area of the roof that used liquid nail. We used deck screws and washers to secure the barrel. We placed the barrel house structure on our kennel’s 16″ concrete pavers. The wood is not touching the ground.

    While he hasn’t yet moved the structure, our puppy has diminished the shavings in the barrel. You can see the shape where he has made a hollow space to fit his body.

    Thank you so much for posting the DIY how-to and pictures.

    1. Wow! This is great. Sounds like this dog house isn’t going anywhere. Also, give him some time… He is a puppy, he’ll probably grow out of the mess-everything-up stage soon enough 😉

    1. Car dealerships get oil delivered in them. I got seven from the Mazda dealer in town for free. I just had to wash them well.
      You can also look for them on Craigslist. Usually they are pretty cheap.

    1. We have it for almost three years and it’s an amazing dog house! Was so simple to put together and my dog absolutely love it!

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