How to Build a Cable Dog Run

Written by kay miranda
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How to Build a Cable Dog Run
Cable runs are better than tying your dog to a post. (dog image by Piotr Markowski from

Giving a dog enough space to run is essential to having a healthy dog that doesn't find ways to get into trouble. Bored dogs tend to dig, chew and bite things they shouldn't. If you have a dog, but don't have an enclosed space or don't want your dog getting into your prize rose bushes, you may want to build a cable dog run, also known as a trolley system. This gives your dog the ability to run a determined length safely while keeping him away from things he shouldn't be sticking his nose into.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • (2) 7-foot posts
  • (2) 40-pound bags of quickset concrete
  • Wire cutters
  • (2) Eye hooks
  • Shovel
  • Rocks
  • Water
  • (2) Rope clamps
  • 10 feet of cable
  • Metal or cable tether

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  1. 1

    Determine where the cable dog run will be safest for everyone. Dogs able to jump a fence can become injured or get hung if the cable is put too close to a fence. Also make sure there are no obstructions your dog can get tangled with.

  2. 2

    Set your posts. (Note: two trees in your yard where you can connect the cable eliminates this step and gives your dog a natural place to get shade.)

    Dig a hole 2-feet deep. Place a layer of rocks in the bottom of the hole. Soak the hole with water to prevent dry soil from absorbing the water of the concrete. Mix your concrete with water according to the manufacturer's label. Stand the post in the centre. Pour the concrete around the post, holding the post in position for several minutes while the concrete sets.

    Repeat this process for a second post.

  3. 3

    Screw an eye hook in each of the posts. While there is no designated height requirement, the height should be higher than what your dog can touch or jump to. This is a safety measure to keep him from getting tangled in his cable line.

  4. 4

    Thread the tether through the cable.

  5. 5

    Run the cable from post to post. Pull it taught, running it through the eye hooks.

  6. 6

    Place a clamp at each end of the cable, near the eye hook, making sure you have the main cable line in the clamp along with the extra loop running through the eye hook and folding back over. Tighten the clamp to secure the cable in place.

  7. 7

    Leash your dog to the tether. The tether needs to be long enough that your dog can sit, lay and run, but not too long where he is easily entangled.

Tips and warnings

  • A cable run is better than securing your dog to a post, but still doesn't beat a dog being able to run freely in your yard, according to Unchain Your Dog, an advocacy group for dogs.

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