Pups seem to have a knack for getting into undesirable situations. Kids tend to climb without a thought in the world of how to eventually descend, while pups might see something in the distance and take off running as if their life depended on it. This is endearing sometimes, but boundaries are an ultimate necessity.

Dog runs provide pups with a safe enclosure to run around and exercise. Mary Puppins needs her time to scamper, frolick, smell, and engage in related canine activities. A good dog run provides just that and is a vital tool in not only training your pup but keeping them active, healthy, and happy.

What is Considered a Dog Run?

What is considered a dog run?

Any fenced off area where a dog is safely enclosed, but also has enough space for exercise is considered a dog run. But you can also have smaller dog runs that are more apt for socializing as opposed to strenuous exercise. If you live in a city or town with plenty of parks, you’ve likely already come across dog parks. These are giant dog runs and are growing in popularity as leash laws become more and more restrictive.

The fencing on a dog run is typically either wood or chain link fencing. Some dog run fences are highly flexible, allowing for easy set-up and take-down. Dog runs that are part of a kennel might feature a doghouse or extended sleeping quarters for pups. Ensuring that wherever you place the run has easy access to a water source is vital. This gets surprisingly overlooked and leaves pooches in a compromised or even dangerous position.  

How Big Should a Dog Run Be?

How big should a dog run be?

Let’s face it, we’ve all met those pooches that if left on their own in a wide open space, they’d be gone. Sure, they might find their way home, but some don’t. The point is, why risk it; a dog run is a safe alternative, but one that also shouldn’t restrain your dog too much. The quick answer to how big a dog run should be is all dependent on the size of your pooch. If you’ve got an active Labrador, the bigger the better, but if you want your chihuahua to get some air and that heartbeat racing, you don’t need much space at all.

A rookie mistake is building or purchasing a run with a young puppy’s size and temperament solely in mind. Puppies are naturally active and playful, but they’re also small. What works in terms of a dog run for a puppy will be much different once they hit two years of age. Be sure to do some research on appropriate dog runs for the mature size of your dog’s breed. Your puppy will be over the moon with the space to begin with, and you’ll be smartly positioned for when he or she matures.

Are Dog Runs Cruel?

Are dog runs cruel?

We aren’t running from this question, as it’s a natural one to ask. After all, a dog run is an enclosure, and enclosures limit the room pets have to move about.

Canines crave human company and are easily domesticated. A dog run is simply part of this process, and as long as the dog run is not overly confining and an appropriate size for your dog, these are natural complements to any pup’s life. The other opinion on dog runs is they are training tools; many folks use the run to break bad behavior and implement new techniques that will result in a better-behaved pup in the future. A dog run is far from cruel; it’s an investment in your life companion and a valued one at that. 

The Best Outdoor Dog Run Ideas

Nova Dog Pen Pet Playpen

Nova outdoor dog play pen.

Featuring 66.5 square feet and fencing that reaches up to 24 inches in height, your dogs are granted their freedom in a very safe enclosure. Manufactured from sturdy metal designed to last, the playpen comes with 16 panels that can be arranged in an assortment of shapes.

Online reviewer comment that the multiple configurations are what they enjoy most about this product. You can mix up how the pen is designed (rectangle, octagon, or even two separate squares next to each other). The setup is a snap, no tools required, and once you’re done for the day, packing and storing this pen is hassle-free.

Click here to learn more.

Bellanny Dog Playpen

Indoor or outdoor dog play pen by Bellany.

This playpen is a versatile choice if you want an enclosure that can work for both indoors and outdoors. Even better, it’s ideal for pooches of all shapes and sizes.

If you choose to set up indoors, be aware that this pen provides a whopping 138 square feet when fully installed. If you’ve got a room large enough to accommodate something this size, good for you. You can also, of course, adjust it to fit the dimensions of the room or even two adjacent rooms. The measurements for each door are 16.4” H x 15” W. This is ideal for any size canine, and you can also throw in some rabbits or guinea pigs for good measure. 

To read reviews, click here.

Heavy Duty Foldable Metal Indoor-Outdoor Exercise Pet Fence

Heavy duty foldable metal indoor and outdoor pet fence.

Flexibility is front and center with this dog run. While it comes with 16 individual panels, you can form various pens depending on your pooch’s unique needs. If you’re seeking more of a pen set-up instead of a run, you can use three, four, or six panels. This will form a triangle, square, and octagon.

On the larger end, you may opt for a twelve or sixteen-panel shape which provides space for up to three pups. The panels and tubes are made with high quality black powder-coated metal, and the barriers are designed with rounded edges that protect both pets and kids who might happen to be playing around the barriers. 

Ready to buy? Click here.

Portable Metal Fence Folding Pet Playpen

Portable metal folding outdoor fence play pen for dogs.

A review of the online comments on this run, and you quickly get the picture – this is a well-loved product. Taller than some of the others on this list, a couple of folks mentioned that if your pup is a jumper, it’s a tall (no pun intended) order to make it out of this playpen.

This dog run comes complete with eight panels, a steel panel with a hinged door, and eight very handy anchor stakes. These anchor stakes are a life-saver when keeping the pen affixed to the ground, and while they won’t be of much use inside, a pen at this height is really only appropriate for outdoor running.

To see pricing, click here.

Pet Cage Dog Kennel Steel Wire Pen With Roof

Outdoor sheltered dog kennel pen.

The manufacturer of this dog run uses the phrase “dog resort” for this run, and while we don’t see any massage services or fine wine in their marketing materials, the run does come with a roof, something we don’t see with competitor runs.

The dimensions on this run are 94” L x 47” W x 71” H. The lockable gate is designed for easy access, and the top canopy can be easily removed so Sir Barks A lot can get the sun he needs. This is a great choice if you’ve got the room out back.

To learn more, click here.

Dog Tie Out Cable by XiaZ

Dog tie out cable by XiaZ.

This cable proves you don’t need fencing to put together a proper dog run. All you need is the space, and this tie cable ensures Sparky doesn’t get ahead of himself, putting you in a nervous frenzy. At 60 feet, each end of the cable is outfitted with swivel clips and clasps made of high-grade zinc alloy. The clips swivel a full 360 degrees, so no matter how your pup turns, the cable turns with them.

Weighing a reasonable 5.8 ounces, the cable is extremely light and suitable for pooches of all sizes. The steel wire rope is coated with PVC and has some of the highest tensile strength on the market. The only issue to keep in mind with this tie out cable is not to keep your pup on it for too long. It can be tempting as they aren’t fenced in, but they will grow tired of the constraint after some time. 

To read the latest reviews, click here.

Snagle Paw Dog Runner Tie Out Cable

Snaggle Paw dog runner tie out cable with carrying sack.

Another exceptional tie-out cable choice, the Snagle Paw cable is manufactured for medium to large dogs. While admittedly not the longest cable on the market, 50 feet is still generous. But this tie-out cable very well might be the strongest.

Snagle Paw claims dogs up to 250 pounds can be easily harnessed with their cable. An additional spring is included that helps to absorb shocks, and the vinyl cover ensures rain and rust are never an issue. The swivel clip spins 360 degrees like many of its competitors, but there is a screw-circle lock with this cable that is a fan favorite. 

Like it? Click here to buy now.

BINGPET Dog Stake and Tie Out Cable

Bingpet dog stake and tie out cable.

Want to get Boston Beans to stop barking up a storm? The symptom is likely boredom, and while we understand letting the little guy loose might result in a series of random holes, grass, and dirt thrown about, carving out a dog run and using this handy cable could be the solution to your problem.

Manufactured of durable steel, the leash is cleverly coated to avoid any uncomfortable accidents. Installation is a snap, and all that’s necessary are the two 16-inch stakes and a run space. Using this product indoors is possible, but because you cannot rely on the stakes, you’ll need two sturdy objects to attach the cable to.

To read reviews, click here.

To Sum It Up

Dogs are naturally active and when given the space, will take full advantage. In addition to eight exceptional dog run products, we discussed the ideal size for a dog run, the different types of runs, and whether dog runs are cruel. The quick answer to that last question is a resounding no.

The eight products we featured are a mix of fenced runs and cable set-ups that can be used in a variety of back or front-yard settings. Many of the fenced runs can also be used indoors as they are flexible in terms of the shapes you can create, all the while keeping your canine friend safe and contained. It’s a wide open dog run world, happy shopping!