Making a Zip Line for your Dog
Keeping Ty and Buster safe, and abiding by the rules of many of the places we visit, means that the boys spend a lot of time on-leash. Though we’re always out exploring new territory, I imagine that life at the end of a six foot tether – anchored to a person with a mind of her own about our direction of travel – doesn’t provide them with a satisfying sense of freedom. So, we devised an inexpensive way to give them a little more room to wander when we’re at a campground … a doggy zip line!
Zip Line vs. Tie-Out
The zip line has a lot of advantages over the tie-outs that are often used to keep dogs from wandering off. First, you don’t spend all of your time untangling your dogs from each other, the picnic table, or whatever stick, tree, or anthill they manage to wrap themselves around. Second, you’ll never have that sickening feeling in your gut as you watch your dog hit the end of their unforgiving cable tie-out at a dead run, nearly decapitating himself.
Materials and Assembly
The materials for the zip line can be picked up at any hardware store. All you’ll need is some nylon rope and two spring clasps – the whole works cost us about ten dollars. We chose a rope with a smooth cover, which makes it comfortable to handle, and also has a bit of stretch for some shock absorbency to protect the dogs from a harsh stop. The knot tying was handled expertly by my Eagle Scout husband – he made quick work of the two bowline knots that we needed to attach the spring clasps to the rope. Passing the raw ends of the rope though a flame melted the fibers to keep them from unraveling and, SHAZAM – we’re done!
Deciding On Length
The most difficult part of making the zip line is deciding how long you want it to be. Since we have two dogs, we decided on a 50 foot line, which allows us to attach it at each end and wrap the middle around a tree, picnic table, or post (whatever’s handy). Wrapping the rope around the middle tree gives each of the boys their own space, and helps keep them from getting tangled around each other. In the picture below we’ve used three trees, and Ty is on the shorter run, while Buster has a little more space to explore.
Dogs should not be attached to the zip line by their collar, because it could choke them if they became tangled. We use Buster and Ty’s harnesses, which have a loop on the back connect the leash. The final step is to slip a heavy-weight carabiner through the leash handle and snap it on the line, then sit back and relax! Just remember not to leave your pal unattended on the zip line.
Do you have ideas for making summer more fun with your pets? Please, share them in the comments below!