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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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  • Robert says:

    I enjoyed the article. Full disclaimer, I’m the owner of Rover Roamer Aerial Dog Runs, but I think I may be able to contribute to the conversation. These points come from my own experience.

    1) Use what I call a “neck-safe bungee” between the line and the leash to reduce any whiplash effects from running until restrained. When I camp, I personally put the line up above my head so I don’t clothesline anyone or trip over it.
    2) For a dog, even worse than discipline is a feeling of abandonment. They are social creatures and rely on a sense of belonging. A dog may feel abandoned if left on a dog run without some comforts nearby like familiar toys, a blanket, a dog bed, and maybe an old t-shirt that smells like you. Check in regularly to assure your pet that they are not being punished. Give them love and rewards for good behavior.
    3) Dogs inherently don’t like to be tied up. A quiet system is best. Rope is quiet and stretches. Using a harness helps reduce the stress of feeling tied up.
    4) Use bumpers/rope clamps on the line, situated far enough away from trees so they don’t get wrapped around the anchor points.
    5) Observe them on the track to make sure the bumpers are set apart correctly and that they don’t chew off the leash.

    Great article and love the pics!

  • Barbara Pattee Hoffman That’s too funny, Barbara! I haven’t seen the movie, but I read the book and it was incredible.

  • Brandy S West We just recently watched A Dog’s Purpose. My dog is quite a tv watcher. But, he watched all but about 10 min of this movie. He sat right on the couch and watched with me. LOL

  • Teaching “wait” is a fanatastic idea, Sandy. It’s one of the most important commands, because it can literally save your dog’s life. I remember once Ty’s leash broke as we were walking down the sidewalk in a busy city. Telling him to wait allowed us to get a hand on his collar before he dashed out into traffic. Thanks for your note, and waggin’ trails to you!

  • We were at a rally and took the traveling with pets work shop. One of the things I took away from that class was to teach the “wait” comand. Have the dog at the top of the steps inside the coach and tell them to sit , wait. If they move repete. this comand prevents larger dogs from knocking you down jumping out of the coach when you’re not ready. alos prevents accidents in rest stops or gas stations. The speaker told of a case where a little dog jumped out of the casch right into the path of an on coming truck. needless to say the truck won. I use the comand at home too to keep them from running out the front door when guest arrive.

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