Monday, February 2, 2015

Zip Line Your Dog For Safety

This last summer my dog was hit by a car and died. I have four acres of property and live on a dirt road. I had no idea he was wandering away while I was at work as he was always sitting on the porch when I arrived home. Then one evening he was nowhere to be found. I was heart broke two days later to find a note on my mailbox from a neighbor down the road who found his body.

In December I adopted a dog from the pound. She is a great dog, but I discovered she liked to wander next door and explore other farms. That was a real problem, no doubt. To prevent another tragedy I had to figure out how to keep her contained safely on my own property. My land is not yet fenced in due to cost, so that was not going to happen any time soon. I thought about staking her out in the yard, but due to the forest could only foresee her wrapping herself around the first tree she came to and being unable to untangle until I got home from work. No Bueno. After some research on the web, I ultimately decided on a zip line.

You can build your own style of zip line using parts you assemble, but I found a kit for around $25 at my local hardware store which made it super simple. The kit included two large hooks, 75 feet of plastic coated cable, a spring loop, a pulley wheel, 6 clamps, and a 10 foot lead. When strung from one tree to the other, my dog has roughly 70 feet to run back and forth and 10 feet on either side.

I picked the best trees with the least obstructions where she was least likely to wrap herself by mistake. She watched with interest as I began screwing in the hooks. Just what was I up to?

Spring End with Hook in Tree

Pulling the cable and tightening the clamps was difficult alone, so I had to tighten it again when I had a set of helping hands, but other than that the process was quite simple. I hooked the spring side on one of the hooks and fed the pulley onto the line. Next I fed the open end into the clamps to form a loop that fit onto the other hook. I pulled tight and tightened the clamps. I adjusted the two remaining clamps that worked as pulley stops. These stopped her short, before she could reach each end and potentially get wrapped around the trees where the hooks are located.

Clamps Hold Cable Tight and Stop Pulley
I hooked the lead onto the pulley and the other end to the dog collar. She could now run safely. At first she seemed a little confused, but quickly learned how far she could go without resistance. I made sure to put a source of water she could reach as well as a doghouse she could go into to get out of the weather. The run is in the forest, so she will have the shade of the trees in the hotter months too.

Ideally I would love to allow her to run free, but for her own safety I cannot. I have noticed, however, when let outside and not immediately hooked to the zip line, she tends to go right to that area to do her business and no longer attempts to run off.  Safety mission accomplished! 


  1. Very smart and humane too.
    Well done!

  2. Do you know what brand you bought? Are you still happy with it?

  3. No, I don't know the brand. It was a kit I found at my local big box store. They are all fairly similar. I am thrilled with it still, but wish there was a way to put more than one dog on it at a time. I am still working on a way to do that ;)