We discovered that Mo liked to climb things at a young age: he likes to jump on top of boulders when we go hiking, he’ll sit on the back of the couch, he’ll find himself on top of picnic tables at the park, he’ll jump on playgrounds, and yes, I have even found him on top of the kitchen table. I don’t know if he likes being up high, the act of jumping, or he’s just a strange guy, but we decided that Mo needed something to climb on in his own backyard.
My husband and I went on to create this cool dog ladder that Mo loved. Can you tell? This was a great addition to our yard because it gave him a different surface to explore, new heights, and we could exercise and do tricks with it. With a reactive dog, we like to provide different experiences for him without him feeling stressed or overwhelmed by new locations or meeting new dogs or people. This is a great way to add some interest to the backyard for your dog!
1 Wooden Pallet
1 sheet of Plywood
Any paint outdoor, oil-based paint. We chose Rust-oleum Red, Black, and White
Table Saw and/or Circular Saw
Dog Ladder Directions
Find a pallet because it will save you money and time. We found ours at the local newspaper company, but check with different warehouses, storage companies, trash and recycling companies, or try Craigslist. They’ll often be giving these away for free. Make sure it’s a solid pallet and not loose, this will help you have a strong structure.
Once you find the right one, cut the pallet in half lengthwise with a circular saw. The top boards of the pallet will run perpendicular to your cut. This will give you the two sides of the ladder.
On each of the pallet pieces that you’ve cut, you’ll need to strengthen one of the sides. Cut a 2×4 the length of your ladder piece. Connect it to the pallet with the 3″ screws. Do that for the other pallet piece as well.
Next you’ll need to create a platform. Taking into account the size of your dog, you’ll cut two equal sized 2×4’s (we did two feet so that Mo could sit comfortably) that will attach the two ladder pieces. Take the end of your first 2×4 and with the 3″ screws and attach it to the top right side of one ladder pieces. This should be at an obtuse angle (135 degrees is a good incline for a larger dog, you may need a larger angle to accommodate smaller dogs). Then attach that 1st 2×4 to the second ladder piece at the same angle. The 2×4 should be parallel to the ground. Do the same thing on the left side. You should end up with an upside down V shape.
To continue with the platform, cut 2 2×4 pieces to fit inside of the connecting 2×4’s, pushing them up against the ladder pieces. Screw the ends in and then also attach the pieces to the ladder. Cut two pieces of plywood to lay width wise on the platform, screwing them into the 2×4’s. This will lend support to the bigger piece of plywood that will sit on top. Then measuring the width and length of the platform frame, cut out a rectangular or square piece of plywood and attach with 1 5/8′ screws.
Now that your ladder pieces have been connected, add strength and support, you’ll make the V shape into an A shape. Finding the halfway point of the ladder pieces, cut two 2×4’s to span the width of the ladder. Attach with 3″ screws.
With your ladder assembled, measure and cut out plywood pieces to run the length of your ladder. You will then attach the plywood with the 1 5/8″ screws.
Then cutting your 2x4s into thin 1×1 pieces or using trim pieces, place them along the plywood to provide traction and footholds. You can use the 1 5/8″ screws.
Paint in any awesome way you choose! I choose a race car theme for Mo’s need for speed!
Try to make sure you cover all the areas of wood that will be directly weathered with paint to provide protection to the wood.
Next, add two lawnmower wheels to one side of the ladder. This helps with moving it when you need to relocate the ladder for mowing. You can get lawnmower wheels at your local hardware store.
Drill a hole near the bottom of the ladder on the right side and left side. Slide the bolt or lag screw through the wheel and hole and tighten the nut. The size of the nut and bolt will depend on the size lawnmower wheel you have.
And now you’ve got a really cool ladder and really happy dog. Mo loves sit on top and watch the world go by. Word of caution though, don’t put it too close to a fence or you’ll have an escape artist on your hands!
I’d love to hear about your DIY dog projects in the comments!