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Discussion Starter #1
I am so antsy to build a puppy playground in the back yard (if only our darned landscaper would finish the landscaping already) and saw a show, "Ask This Old House," where they showed how to build a sandbox.

I've been looking around for a sandbox to buy, but everything I've found is too little (meant for little bitty kids) or too expensive.

This show segment made me decide to build one myself! I Googled to see if this project was online, and found it here in case anyone wants to build one for their pups:
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20176015,00.html#

My puppies love digging so much, and they're good about staying out of places they shouldn't dig, but I really want to give them a "safe" spot for digging.

BTW - the other things in my puppy playground include:

- four logs, laid out so that they can hurdle-jump over them (they LOVE jumping)

- a ramp (plywood propped and secured to a large log) (they love running up and down things)

- an 18' agility tunnel (they love running through things)

- the sandbox (with some Kong-type toys that I will bury in the sandbox for them to dig up)

- maybe a few upright items they can run through/around (they think our front porch is a playground - they love chasing each other underneath/around the rocking chairs, but they're getting a little too big to fit underneath)

Any other ideas for fun stuff for the pups? I may include some other agility equipment (just for their enjoyment... I don't think I'll get them into formal agility competition or anything). The whole playground will be mulched (if I can find a pet-safe mulch).
 

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That'll work and it's scalable, too. I think I want to have one that's about 2-2.5 feet deep since Poca likes to dig and then lay in the sand to cool off. Thanks for posting!
 

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Thanks for some great suggestions. I have found it fairly difficult to find ideas to make the backyard truely a doggie playground that didn't require a lot of money and would use natural type materials.

I wanted to put a sand box in but my neighborhood has cats that run around and didn't want to be cleaning cat poop out of it.

I did create a small berm in the back yard with big logs around it last summer. Will be adding more tall grasses (pappas type grass) for them to run and play on.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
Will be adding more tall grasses (pappas type grass) for them to run and play on.
That's interesting; we have three pappas grass bushes in the front yard, and I personally hate them, but the puppies LOOOOOVE playing in and around them. You just gave me the idea to transplant them to their playground area! I like that little tree, btw -- what is that?

Some other things I've thought of (as I was falling asleep last night :D):

- a tennis ball launcher (although I prefer playing fetch with them and I think they would prefer that too)

- an automatic bubble blower (I saw peanut-butter-scented bubbles for dogs, which mine would love)

- maybe a tug toy hanging from a tree branch (sort of like a stationary flirt pole that they could bat around amongst each other... I do want to make one that I can play with them too though)

They love splashing in water so I'd love to figure out how to put in a pool or pond for them, but that's a bit too big of a project for me to think about right now... maybe this summer.
 

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That's interesting; we have three pappas grass bushes in the front yard, and I personally hate them, but the puppies LOOOOOVE playing in and around them. You just gave me the idea to transplant them to their playground area! I like that little tree, btw -- what is that?

They love splashing in water so I'd love to figure out how to put in a pool or pond for them, but that's a bit too big of a project for me to think about right now... maybe this summer.

The tree is a Purple Leaf Plum (I live in Zone 7) and while it looked good last year, it died on me. :( Normal for me. I replaced it with a Redbud, they're supposed to be hardier and I put chicken wire around it so my male wouldn't pee on it. My dogs love running in tall grass so thought the pappas would be low maintance.

Not sure how big your dogs are, but mine chewed the plastic kiddie pool I bought up. Have to look for something sturdier. The problem with a pond is the cleaning of the filter (if you don't put it in it'll just be a skeeter breeding ground) and dog hair will probably clog it up more than it usually would.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, two of my pups are young puppies so a plastic kiddie pool would become a chew toy for sure. And yeah, I wouldn't have standing water in our area... the skeeters try to pick us up and fly away with us as it is! We're putting in a waterfall next year but I was going to go pondless... maybe I won't go pondless so the pups will have something to splash in. Thankfully dog hair wouldn't be an issue since we have Standard Poodles.
 

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The problem with a pond is the cleaning of the filter (if you don't put it in it'll just be a skeeter breeding ground) and dog hair will probably clog it up more than it usually would.

Be sure to put some small hardy fish in the pond, many garden specialty stores sell them or in some places you ca nget them free from the county extension office. As far as the dog hair, be sure to get a pump with an external filter that is easier to clean.
 

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Be careful about hanging anything from above, it can become a strangle hazard if the dog gets tangled in the rope or chain.

Pools or sandboxes...check out the local farm or ranch store. I know one of the other members here bought a huge rubber horse trough, surrounded it with straw bales so the dogs could gain access, and filled it with water for a pool. You could do the same thing and sink it into the ground, dilling it with sand for the sand box area.
 

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my older dog loves to run through the sprinkler!!! maybe if you have a way to make the sprinkler only hit a certain area where it is grassy so they dont track in mud .... but then they would create mud puddles after awhile.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you so much for the ideas/feedback... good call, briteday, on not having things hanging from above without supervision.

And Rosborn, you're so right about the sprinkler idea... I've been dying to get our sod put in so our puppies can run through the sprinklers! (Our back yard is a total mud pit right now so that wouldn't work just yet! :D)

My landscaper said that they will FINALLY be able to finish everything the end of this week... SO excited to create a fantasy playground for my puppies!!!

Oh -- this is not an outdoor toy, but I also ordered this from Overstock.com, for them to play with indoors... it was only $28 and for all they love running around and through things, I think they will have a ball with this:


You can't tell from that photo, but the tunnel is 6' long... sheesh, if nothing else, that part alone will be fun for the puppies (and I won't have to pay $50+ for an official agility tunnel)!
 
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