We only have a single cab ute, so any time it was too hot or too cold for Cheryl to ride on the tray, and we thought she should really be in the cab, she would end up laying on my lap. And at 25kg, she is not a lap dog! A few years ago when we agreed to look after a second dog (Chime), Pete decided to build a dog box so they could both sit safely and comfortable on the back of the ute in all weather.
The dog box when it was just finished
There are no plans as such, its just shaped to fit the angles of the ute and enough room for two dogs. To be honest, we kind of made it up as we went along, but here's a few tips to help if you are thinking of making a dog box:
We made it nearly the full width of the tray, with just a small gap either side
Its the same height as the backboard of the ute, and mimics the angles (a little bit lower so we can still tie on a load and not have it rub on the top of the box)
Its about a metre deep
We didn't include a divider because the dogs are good friends
We wanted a door in the front rather than the side so you don't have to put the tray side down to let the dogs out
We used small mesh so it would also double as a cage to secure our luggage, a wider mesh could be used if its just for dogs
It has a roof of sheet metal to offer some shade and protection from rain
It ended up quite heavy and we could have reduced some weight be leaving off the roof and using a larger mesh
Pete spray-painted it with silver kill-rust when he finished
We also had a cover made by a local upholsterer, it has little ties on the inside, so its not ideal, if you really want a good cover, talk to the upholsterer about your design before you start - you will at least need some shade cloth of the cage so it doesn't get too hot for the dogs.
Its secured to the tray using two bolts that go through tabs on the bottom of the box and through the tray. If you don't want to make holes in your tray, you could tie it down instead
We put dog beds in the box to make it extra comfy for the dogs
We've been using it as Taz' puppy box as well
The box on the back of the ute, modelled by Chime and Cheryl
Taz using the box as a puppy box
she seems quite happy in there fooling around
she even hops in there by herself when she doesn't have to
Is there anything I missed? Ask your questions here so I can keep it all in one place. I hope that helps!