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Making a Zip Line for your Dog

Making a zip line for your dog is a great way to keep your pet safe. But it will also allow you both to enjoy your outing even more. Whether you’re camping, picnicking, or spending an afternoon in the park, a zip line makes the time you spend with your pup more relaxing and fun!

Ty the Shar-pei from GoPetFriendly.com on a zip line in a campsite

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Keeping our dogs safe, and abiding by the rules of many of the places we visit, means that Ty and Buster spend a lot of time on-leash. Though we’re always exploring new territory, life at the end of a six foot tether doesn’t provide the boys with a satisfying sense of freedom.

To give our dogs more room to wander while we’re camping, we devised an inexpensive doggy zip line!

Zip Line vs. Tie-Out

The zip line has a lot of advantages over cable tie-outs, which are often used to keep dogs from wandering off.

First, jumping up every two minutes to untangle your dog is a thing of the past. Ty and Buster were constantly wrapping their tie-outs around each other, the picnic table, and every tree, stick, and anthill in the campsite. It’s impossible to relax with those shenanigans going on!

Second, you’ll never again experience that gut-wrenching feeling as you watch your dog bolt to the end of their unforgiving cable tie-out. The zip line protects your pet from injury.

Third, the zip-line won’t trip you when you’re stumbling around the campfire in the dark.

READ MORE ⇒  Tips for RVing with Pets

Ty the Shar-pei and Buster the German Shepherd lounging in a campsite on their zip line

Materials and Assembly

Any hardware store will have the materials needed for the zip line. All that’s needed 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 when we’re setting it up and taking it down. It also has a bit of stretch for some shock absorbency to protect the dogs from a harsh stop.

Rod used his Eagle Scout skills to expertly handle the knot tying. He made quick work of the two bowline knots attaching the spring clasps to the ends of rope. Melting the fibers by passing the raw ends of the rope though a flame will keep them from unraveling. And – SHAZAM – the zip line is ready for action!

Coiled rope with snap clips attached to each end

Deciding On Length

The most difficult part of making your zip line will be deciding how long it should be.

Since we have two dogs, we decided on a 50 foot line. That give us plenty of length to attach the zip line at each end with the middle wrapped around a tree, picnic table, or post (whatever’s handy).

 

It take about five minutes to set up our zip line. In the photo below, we’ve wrapped one end of the rope around a tree and clipped the spring clasp on to the rope. Then, keeping the rope taught, we made one full pass around the middle tree, creating the short run where Ty’s attached. Then we wrapped the rope around a third tree (out of the frame) and clipped the spring clap back to the rope. That creates the longer run where Buster is attached. Giving the boys their own space keeps them from getting tangled around each other.

Ty the Shar-pei and Buster the German Shepherd from GoPetFriendly.com lounging on their zip line in a campsite Ty the Shar-pei and Buster the German Shepherd from GoPetFriendly.com lounging on their zip line in a campsite

Connecting Dogs to the Zip Line

Pets should never 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 to connect the leash. The final step is to slip a heavy-weight carabiner through the leash handle and snap it on the line.

Placing Ty and Buster’s water bowls near the middle tree allow them both reach them, and we’re done! Just remember never to leave your pal unattended on the zip line.

Ty the Shar-pei and Buster the German Shepherd from GoPetFriendly.com lounging on their zip line in a campsite Ty the Shar-pei and Buster the German Shepherd from GoPetFriendly.com lounging on their zip line in a campsite

Have your tried a zip line with your pets? Please share your experience in the comments below!

READ MORE ⇒  US State Parks that Welcome Pets

 

Gear Used in This Post:
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Ruffwear Front Range Harness

Alcott Martingale Collar

Alcott Weekender Leash

See all the gear we use to make traveling with our pets easier, safer, and more fun!

 

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  • Taryn says:

    What do you do if the trees are less than 50’ apart?

    • Amy at GoPetFriendly.com says:

      Hi Taryn,

      Thanks for your note! I just wrap the rope around the tree several times to take up the slack or make a knot in the rope to shorten the span. I hope that helps! Waggin’ trails to you.

  • Laurie says:

    How do the dogs get around the trees, doesn’t the pressure from the rope stop the clip from sliding

    • Chris says:

      The dogs don’t go around the tree. The tree keeps each dog separated from each other, so their leashes don’t become entwined. If you only had 1 dog, you don’t need the tree.

    • Amy at GoPetFriendly.com says:

      Hi Laurie! Yes, the dogs just run on the zip line between the trees – they don’t go around them.
      Hope that clears things up!

  • Alex Parker says:

    Very nice article Amy. I think it’s a very good idea to handle a strong dog. Here is a thing I am concerned about. I feel like it may not choke the dog. I am not sure what are people’s views on this but it could be a bit dangerous as the dogs rarely remain stable. Especially when they sleep. The chest compression can be a red sign in strong dogs because they are commonly curious and aggressive. But I must appreciate the article and this idea of the zip line. It can make your picnic a little more relaxing and comfortable. Without the worries of controlling your dogs. I remember my picnic which was successfully spoiled by my negligence and poor arrangements. I wasn’t even able to sit for a minute and read my book. My dog got much irritated by kids at the site though they were apart there was an unknown medium of communication between both parties and my dogs aggressively kept on barking and jumping their side. I’m now gonna try this method and will share my experience afterward.

    • Amy at GoPetFriendly.com says:

      Hi Alex! Thanks for your note – and I agree that dogs should always be attended when on a zip line. I hope your next picnic is more successful!

  • Stacey Kline says:

    Great idea! We don’t camp very often, but this would be great in our own yard and when we go the park for the day.

    • Amy at GoPetFriendly.com says:

      Absolutely, Stacey! They’re perfect for so many outdoor activities. I hope you have a great time together!

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