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The Best Dog Tie-Outs, Tie-Downs, and Trolleys

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Gear By Nathan Hinds 34 min read November 3, 2020 2 Comments

best dog tie outs

From the dog days of summer and beyond, pups were born to bask in the great outdoors.

But what if your yard isn’t surrounded by a fence, or you’re out camping in the wilderness with no real confines for your pup? What if you’re trying to keep your pooch close while eating at your favorite dog-friendly restaurant or ensure he stays safe while you run inside a local store?

No need to worry — there are a host of excellent pet trolleys, tie-downs, and tie-outs to help your pooch spend more time outdoors, safely and happily! 

With the aid of a tie-down, tie-out, or trolley system (we’ll explain the differences in a bit), your dog can have the freedom he needs to enjoy the great outdoors and find the perfect spot to bask in the sun.  

In this article, we’ll explain the basics of these different tethers and share some important safety tips, followed by our list of favorite trolleys, tie-downs, and tie-outs.

We’ll cover the individual components of each, for owners who want to design their own tether system or just need replacement parts, as well as complete systems, for owners who’d rather just get everything they need at the same time.

Read on to learn more or just review our quick picks below if you’re in a hurry!

Quick Picks: Best Dog Tie-Outs and Similar Tools

  • #1 EXPALORER Dog Tie-Out Cable and Reflective Stake [Best Easy and Affordable Option]: If you just need a fast, reasonably priced, and effective way to keep your dog safely tethered in the backyard, this EXPALORER Kit is your best bet.
  • #2 PUPTECK Dog Run Trolley Kit [Best Dog Trolley Kit]: If your dog deserves a little more freedom than a tie-out provides, this trolley kit by PUPTECK may be the ideal option, as it provides your pooch with much more room to roam.
  • #3 Dog Training Tie-Down Cable by Wonder Dog Training [Best Indoor Dog Tie-Down]: If you just need a tie-down to keep your dog close to your side for training or management purposes, this tie-down cable is a perfect choice.
  • #4 Ruffwear Knot-A-Hitch [Best Dog Tie Down For Camping]: Heading out to your favorite campground? The Knot-A-Hitch is a perfect and portable solution!
  • #5 Säker Premium Tie-Out Stake [Best Dog Tie Out Stake]: If you’re building your own tie-out system or need a replacement stake, this premium option from Säker is tough to beat. It’s also our top pick for tough dogs like pitties!
  • #6 Boss Pet Prestige Dog Tie-Out [Best Dog Tie Down Cable]: If you simply need a cable to use with an existing anchor stake, the Boss Pet Prestige Cable is affordably priced, 40-foot-long cable that’s easy to use.

What are Trolleys, Tie-Downs, and Tie-Outs? How Do They Work?

Different yards and outdoor spaces require different tools to keep your canine safely and happily at bay.

Trolleys, tie-downs, and tie-outs each have different strengths to suit the needs of your pooch. 

dog tie out

Here are the basics of the three different options:

Dog Trolleys

Perhaps the most high-tech option, trolleys allow your dog the most freedom and range of movement of the tether systems discussed here. A trolley is basically a pully run for dogs.

Pet trolleys work through the use of a suspended pulley which moves freely across the overhead cable, following your dog as he sniffs and explores. 

Though the setup is a bit more involved than other choices, pooches certainly appreciate the ability to freely survey the area. 

Trolleys are one of the best ways to keep a dog in a yard without a fence, since it allows for so much freedom of movement.

dog trolly

Tie-Downs

A tie-down is a short cable for use indoors or outdoors to satisfy a number of issues. Typically just a few feet long, tie-downs tend to be shorter than other options on the list, and they are primarily used for temporary situations: think grooming or obedience training. 

Though tie-downs aren’t a great option for long periods of time outdoors, they’re great for dogs who only need to be tethered for a few minutes or those suffering from behavioral issues. 

Tie-Outs

Tie-outs tend to be a longer version of tie-downs, expanding your pup’s range of movement greatly. They typically involve a stake and a cable – sometimes they’re sold separately, other times as a set. They are more durable than tie-downs, since they are designed for keeping your dog secure outdoors.

While a tie-out is a bit more limited in range than the trolley, it’s a much simpler installation process.

Best Dog Tie-Out Anchors and Stakes

Not all anchors and stakes are alike – there are quite a few options out there that are similar in style. You’ll also want to consider whether your stake will be staying home, or if you’ll be using it on the road for camping trips. 

Here are our picks for the best anchors and stakes on the market:

1. Boss Pet Prestige Dome Stake

About: The Boss Pet Prestige Dome Stake is a heavy-duty dog tie-out stake that’s built to last and durable enough to stand up to constant activity. Dogs will love the freedom to explore with this stake’s unique 360 degree, allowing for easy movement without getting stuck.

good dog tie out stake

Boss Pet Prestige Dome Stake

  • 21 inches long
  • 360 degree dome allows freedom and easy range of motion
  • Single piece of solid steel
  • Attached metal ring makes connections easy
  • Bright yellow for visibility so you won’t trip over it
  • Best for use in soft soils
  • Suitable for small or medium dogs

PROS

Dog owners love the durability of this stake and report that it lasts for years. It’s a great tie-out for home use that will stand up to winter weather. Owners even report that it works well on the beach in the sand.

CONS

Owners of ultra-strong +100 lb dogs report that especially active pooches can potentially this stake, so it may not be suitable for extra tough doggos, although most dogs seem to be kept in line just fine.

2. Intellileash Intelli-Stayk Dog Tie-Out

About: For heavy-duty dog tie out stakes, Intellileash Intelli-Stayk Dog Tie-Out sets the gold standard for durability, easy installation, and overall effectiveness.

Made from steel in a corkscrew design, this spiral stake tie-out is built to last, and designed to withstand pulling from even the strongest pooches. 

best dog tie out stake

Intelli-Stayk Dog Tie-Out

  • Made from 10-millimeter-thick chrome-plated stainless steel
  • Features trademarked Surface-Lock, which prevents swiveling
  • Bright orange for excellent visibility
  • Two leash attachment rings for dogs of different sizes
  • “Saw teeth” on Surface Lock make installation easy

PROS

This sturdy spiral stake tie-out is truly one-size-fits-all, and the different sized rings accommodates all breeds from the Great Pyrenees to the Jack Russell. It works great for home or on the road, and many owners report its effectiveness on camping trips — it’s strong enough to stay put when your dog is tied out, but easy enough to transfer from place to place.  

CONS

One owner reported that their dog was able to dig around the orange cap and then circled, pulling on the tie out until it came out. However, even the owner notes that their dog is an evil genius, and that this device should keep most dogs secure.

3. SUREswivel 360 degree Swiveling Pet Tie-Out

About: As the name suggests, SUREswivel 360 degree Swiveling Pet Tie-Out is designed to offer the full range of movement and activity.

With a unique design that sets it apart from other stakes and corkscrew tie-outs, the SUREswivel tie-out is an excellent means of security with 360-degree activity for your pooch.  

Details

  • Safe and Effective Tangle Free Pet Tether
  • Full 360 Degree Dual-Swivel Motion
  • Secure Anchoring System
  • Durable Construction

Features:

  • Anchored to the ground via a series of spiraled stakes
  • Comes ready to be secured in dirt right out of the box
  • Can be secured permanently with additional materials
  • Ball-and-socket design prevents tangles and allows for full-range movement
  • Made in the USA

PROS

This versatile product is great for use at home or on the road, it effectively prevents tangles, and customers noted that once it’s secured in the ground, it’s not going anywhere. Plus it’s made in the USA!

CONS

This tie-out is a bit on the pricey side compared to other tie-out options. You’ll also have to open your wallet to purchase a cable to go with it, and if you’re planning to permanently secure it to your deck or elsewhere, you’ll be spending money on materials for that, too. 

4. Säker Premium Tie Out Stake

About: For a tie-out that’s easy to transfer but durable during use, Säker Premium Tie Out Stake is a solid option. Convenience matched with steely durability, this is a great tie-out steak for large dogs. It also functions great for traveling, since it’s not too difficult to insert and remove.

Due to its unmatched durability, we’re also awarding the Saker Tie Out as the best tie out for pitbulls and other tough doggos!

Details

  • ZERO RISK - We're so convinced that, installed properly, our heavy duty dog stake will hold any dogs...
  • PEACE OF MIND - Our 14'' tie out stake for large dogs and unique 360⁰ swivel allows your dog to...
  • HAPPIER - Enjoy quality time with your furry friend wherever you go, thanks to our EASY IN EASY OUT...
  • SAFE - Our dog spike was engineered based on customer feedback and incorporates a 15mm+ stake...

Features:

  • Top hook designed to provide wide range of movement
  • Made from 15-millimeter-thick stainless steel
  • 14 inches long
  • Unique pathfinder blades ensure secure installation
  • Easy to remove
  • Comes with orange flag to make it easy to spot

PROS

Owners love the ease of installation and removal, and note that it works great in a wide variety of terrains. It’s sturdy and durable and perfect for pups of all sizes – even pitbull owners testify to its strength. Customers report that it’s worth the extra money for its strength and dependability. 

CONS

There’s not much to complain about with the Säker Premium Tie Out. It is, however, more expensive than some other stakes, but that’s to be expected from a premium product.

saker stake
image from review by Adilene V on sakercanine.com

5. Retractable Dog Tie-Out Cable by Howard Pet

About: For an all-in-one stake and cable, the Retractable Tie Out Cable by Howard Pet is an excellent choice – no need to purchase components separately!

Featuring a durable stake and built-in retractable dog tie-out cable, this option adds welcome convenience to the setup of your tie-out. 

Details

  • For Dogs 20-30 Pounds
  • Extends 15 Feet

Features:

  • Retractable design intended to prevent tangles
  • Comes with traditional leash clip
  • Bright yellow, making it easy to spot in your yard
  • Weighs 1.8 pounds
  • All-in-one unit comes with stake, cable, and retracting spool
  • Retractable cable is approximately 30 feet

PROS

This all-inclusive retractable dog tie out might save you a few bucks as you won’t need to buy anything extra – it includes the cable and the stake, so it’s ready for use upon arrival. Dog owners love the retractable feature because it keeps the yard clear from cables and helps prevent tangles. 

CONS

Some owners report that the retractable feature is not very durable – it doesn’t seem to last as long as the stake and the cable itself. Additionally, particularly small dogs had a difficult time managing the tension of the cable – dogs with lower body weights might not be particularly comfortable with this option. 

Best Dog Tie-Out, Tie-Down, and Trolley Cables

Finding the perfect tie-out stake is only half the battle – finding the right cable is equally important to ensure your pooch’s safety. You’ll need to consider your pup’s size, activity level, and the tie-out, tie-down, or trolley that you’ve selected. 

Here are some of our top cable components: 

1. Boss Pet 40-Foot Dog Tie Out with Spring

About: The Boss Pet 40-Foot Dog Tie Out with Spring may seem like a regular cable, but its added features for comfort, safety, and convenience make it stand out from the pack. Complete with swiveling hooks and a spring system, this cable from Boss Pet is a high-quality and safe option for your tie-out.  

best dog tie out cable

Boss Pet Prestige Dog Tie-Out

  • 40-foot-long cable
  • Covered in a protective vinyl layer
  • Hooks attached directly to the cable for added strength and security
  • Each hook swivels to help reduce tangles
  • Shock-absorbing spring provides additional safety
  • Available singly or in three packs

PROS

Dog owners note that it’s a sturdy cable option and the swiveling hooks are an excellent addition to avoid tangling. The bright red color allows for good visibility, day and night. 

CONS

Long-term durability may be a concern. Some customers note that the hooks rust rather quickly, depleting the effectiveness of the swivel element. Others report needing to replace the cable entirely after about 6 months of use.

2. Petest Reflective Tie-Out Cable

About: The Petest Reflective Tie-Out Cable is a basic, yet high-quality tie out cable with a number of helpful bonus features. Available in a range of lengths and strengths, this is a great replacement cable for your existing dog tether system.

Product

Details

  • 25 ft, ultra strong tie-out cable for dogs up to 250 lbs.
  • Steel cable and swivel clips for superior strength and durability.
  • Snaps, which is durable and anti-rust, on both ends can be easily attached to a post or stake for a...
  • Reflective & anti-rusty vinyl covers for extra safety at night

Features:

  • Available in lengths ranging from 15 to 30 feet
  • Cable is made from stainless steel and comes with a weatherproof vinyl cover
  • Both clips feature swivels to avoid tangles
  • Comes in several different strengths, including one that is suitable for dogs weighing up to 250 pounds
  • Crimp covers included to protect the cable ends from the elements

PROS

Most dog owners who tried this cable found that it got the job done and held up well. It also seems to be easy to use and well-protected from water and rain.

CONS

Despite the number of positive reviews this cable received, it didn’t seem to hold up well in rainy weather for some owners. This is probably not the best choice for owners living in perpetually rainy regions.

3. Dog Training Tie Out Cable

About: Looking for a secure and safe way to reinforce training, reduce anxiety, or offer some quiet time? This Dog Training Tie Out Cable by Wonder Dog Training LLC is a safe and durable option for pet owners in search of a short and multi-purpose cable. 

Details

  • 3 foot length
  • Snap hooks on both ends
  • Included tie-down booklet valued at 5 dollars
  • Access to dog tips and tricks website

Features:

  • Measures 3 feet long
  • Plastic coated for additional durability
  • Comes with your choice of a nylon loop (for temporary placement) or screw (for more permanent installation)
  • Comes with helpful training tip booklet
  • Crimp sleeves on both ends provide additional protection from your dog’s teeth

PROS

Owners of puppies are big fans of this product, and note that it does exactly what it is intended to achieve. It’s a great tool for curbing crazy baby dog behavior, and provides a little more “wiggle room” than a crate.

CONS

While it’s made from sturdy material, some owners note their naughty canines were able to chew through the protective outer coating on the cable. Over time, this could weaken the strength of the cable itself, and it’s never a great thing for a pooch to chew on. Probably only suitable for indoor use or occasional outdoor use.

4. BV Pet Extra-Large Tie Out Cable

About: BV Pet Extra-Large Tie Out Cable offers a tried and true product for strong dogs who have a need to explore. Made with strong components with safety and durability in mind, this tie-out is an excellent option for your canine’s long romps outdoors.  

Details

  • 30- feet, lightweight and ultra strong tie-out cable for dogs up to 125 lbs
  • Reflective & anti-rusty vinyl cover for extra safety at night
  • Crimp and swivel clip covers for stronger ends and rust protection from rain
  • All-steel cable and clips. Rigorously quality tested.

Features:

  • Cable is 30 feet long and supports dogs up to 125 pounds
  • Bright red color for improved visibility
  • Vinyl coating provides protection from the elements
  • Steel swivel clips on each end are easy to use and prevent tangling
  • Crimp covers included
  • Backed by a 1-year warranty
  • Also available in small, medium, and large

PROS

The wide variety of choices is a major strength of this product, as you can select the size that best suits your pooch. Each comes in a different bright color, so you won’t miss it easily in your lawn. Additionally, the one-year warranty is a welcome addition to this cable’s value. 

CONS

Most owners report that this cable worked very well initially, but a few owners complained about long-term durability. Accordingly, this cable is probably best-suited for occasional (rather than day-in, day-out) use.

5. XiaZ Dog Runner Tie Out Cable

About: If you need a long-distance cable that’s capable of withstanding heavy pups, XiaZ Dog Runner Tie Out Cable is a robust option with great durability.

Offering a variety of sizes (including a 50 ft dog tie out cable and even a 100 ft cable) to suit the needs of you and your pooch, this cable is a great option for dogs of all shapes and sizes. 

Details

  • Great Quality Durable Cable: XiaZ dogs tie out leash/long cable 100 feet for dogs is strength tested...
  • Reflective Trolley: Dog runner large cable covered with reflective rubber, protect from rain and...
  • Safe Guarantee: Unlike the built-in metal clips, the solid iron carabiners is durable, long-lasting,...
  • Complete Training System: Our dogs leash have metal clasp, connected have double fixed, don't take...

Features:

  • Made from stainless steel wire rope
  • Coated in reflective rubber layer for added durability
  • Uses locking carbiners rather than clips for maximum security
  • Each carabiner is attached via a swivel to prevent tangles
  • Available in several lengths, ranging from 5 to 100 feet

PROS

Whether you’re in search of a tie-down for training purposes or a tie-out for exploring your yard, XiaZ Dog Runner offers a cable to meet your requirements. Buyers note that the price is great for the quality of the product. Customer service also earns rave reviews, as dissatisfied customers are offered a refund or a replacement. This is also one of the few dog tie out cable 50 ft options (and even 100 ft) on the market. 

CONS

Some dog owners say that the material isn’t strong enough for power-chewing pups, as some have chewed through it. Others note that it easily becomes tangled, further weakening the cable fibers. Still, these complaints are relatively uncommon.

6. AmazonBasics Tie-Out Cable for Dogs

About: The AmazonBasics Tie-Out Cable is a simple, affordable, and functional tie-out cable that should work for most custom-built tether projects, and it should also serve as a great replacement cable for existing systems.

Details

  • Tie-out cable for medium- to large-size dogs up to 90 pounds
  • Made of rugged steel and PVC for strength and rust-resistant performance
  • Durable metal clips ensure quick, easy connections
  • Weighs only 0.86 pounds; white color; do not leave pet unattended when connected to cable

Features:

  • 25-foot-long steel cable that comes with a PVC coating to help prevent rusting
  • Available in two strengths: One for dogs up to 60 pounds; one for dogs weighing up to 90 pounds
  • Comes with two durable metal clips that allow for quick attachment
  • Cable weighs less than 1 pound, so it shouldn’t weigh your dog down very much
  • Backed by AmazonBasics limited one-year warranty
  • Available as a two-pack

PROS

If you just want a standard, no-frills tie-out cable, the AmazonBasics cable should fit the bill. It is durable, easy to install, and most of all, very affordable. The vast majority of owners who tried it found that it got the job done without much fuss.

CONS

Despite being pretty durable, a few owners complained that the clasps rusted pretty quickly. This means you’ll need to inspect them regularly to ensure your dog’s safety.

The Best Complete Tie-Down and Trolley Kits

While a lot of stake and cable options allow you to piece together your ideal restraints system,  it’s sometimes easier to purchase an all-in-one kit to save time and money. 

For a one-stop-shop for trolley and tie-down kits, check out these convenient choices:

1. PUPTECK Dog Run Cable Kit

About: The PUPTECK Dog Run Cable Kit is a sturdy choice and perfect for giving your pooch free reign of a wide area. If you’re looking for a durable and versatile trolley system for your dog of most any size, give the Boss Pet option a try. 

Details

  • SUPER STRONG: This tie out cable for dog is strength tested for Dogs up to 125 pounds, 100% steel...
  • FASHION DESIGN: Red tie out cable keeps safe during the night. Rust-resistant galvanized steel cable...
  • SUPER LONG: 100 feet tie out cable and 10 feet leading line designed especially for large dogs. Your...
  • KEEP DOG SAFE: Shock-absorbent spring reduces tension designed for tugging, help your puppy feel...

Features:

  • Main cable is 100 feet long; runner cable is 10 feet long
  • Suitable for dogs weighing up to 125 pounds
  • Shock-absorbing spring on one end
  • Comes with an anti-rust vinyl coating
  • Kit contains main cable, runner cable, pulley, protective stoppers, small clamps, large clamps, and screw hooks

PROS

Dog owners report that this product is great for inquisitive or active pups, providing them with the range to explore and roam with the safety and security of the durable cables. Consumers note that it works exactly as advertised, and are satisfied with the strength and sturdiness of the cables.  

CONS

Several users report that the pulley often gets stuck, and requires human intervention to get things moving again. This proves to be an issue with fast-paced pooches, who might experience an unpleasant and unexpected yank while chasing squirrels or birds. 

2. Tumbo Trolley Dog Containment System

About: For a trolley kit made with your canine’s safety a primary focus, try the Tumbo Trolley Dog Containment System. It features strong components built to withstand your pup’s active nature and incorporates anti-shock elements and features to avoid tangling. 

Details

  • INCREDIBLY EASY TO SET UP - The Tumbo trolley comes with all components needed for a fast and easy 1...
  • ANTI-SHOCK COILED LEAD LINE – Our Plastic-coated galvanized steel coiled cable is not only tough...
  • LESS TANGLING – Our coiled lead line offers more tangle free roaming time while constantly...
  • EXCLUSIVE SOLID ALUMINUM SLIDER – Our unique to Tumbo smooth gliding aluminum slider replaces the...

Features:

  • Easy setup, thanks to pre-looped cable and ratcheting tension device
  • Cable is made from coiled steel and coated in plastic
  • Uses solid slider rather than pulley to prevent hang ups
  • Runner cable retracts to reduce the chances of tangling
  • Kit comes with main cable, coiled runner cable, tensioner, aluminum slider, anti-shock bungee, and tree-protection tubing
  • Sold in four lengths, ranging from 50 to 150 feet

PROS

This product offers all the benefits of a dog tie out trolley, including the wide range of freedom and the security of the system in general. Owners report that setup is a snap, and in addition to written directions, instructional videos online offer additional assistance. The aluminum slide reportedly works far better than pulleys found on typical trolleys. 

CONS

Several owners complained that the bungee cord quickly became stretched out. Accordingly, this isn’t a great option for super strong or large dogs. A few owners also complained about the trolly’s weight, making it not ideal for traveling or on camping trips.

3. EXPALORER Dog Tie Out Cable and Reflective Stake

About: A top economic option is the EXPALORER Dog Tie Out Cable and Reflective Stake, which provides small and medium-sized pooches all the safety and security they need for a romp around the yard. Made with owner convenience in mind, this medium and small dog tie out makes installation easy.  

Details

  • Two-piece combination:Includes a 16-inch spiral tie-out stake and a 30 ft steel cable up to 60...
  • Stable and convenient dog pile: The bending thickness of the bottom of the pile is 9 mm, which can...
  • Long dog leash: We use pvc coating to wrap the sturdy steel wire rope to prevent pets from rubbing...
  • 360° rotating O-ring: Our dog post is equipped with a 360 rotatable O-ring, which can give your dog...

Features:

  • Stake is 16 inches long and features a corkscrew-like design
  • Bright red handle is easy to spot
  • Included ring makes it easy to clip to your dog
  • 30-foot-long cable is suitable for dogs up to 60 pounds
  • Backed by EXPALORER’s money-back guarantee

PROS

Consumers report that installation is super easy, and this stake goes right into the ground without much hassle. The cable earns favorable reviews from consumers, making it one of the best small dog tie outs.

CONS

While installation is easy, removal might be a bit too easy. Even dogs under the weight limit seem to easily remove the stake out of the ground. Buyers also mention that the plastic handle at the top is easily broken.

4. Snaggle Paw Dog Tie Out Cable and Stake

About: For a convenient stake that’s great for home or on the road, Snaggle Paw Dog Tie Out Cable and Stake is worth considering. With a convenient travel case and a compact size, this cable and stake is both a sturdy and a convenient choice. 

Details

  • 【Much More Heavy Duty】 Our dog stake is 20% more solid than the other models, no more easier...
  • 【FREE HANDS & KEEP SAFE 】 Our dog stake and tie out cable set can keep your baby puppy safe...
  • 【EASY TO USE】 The dog runner for yard is super easy to install: screw the stake into the ground...
  • 【A COMPLETE SET】Includes a 20ft dog runner in yard, a durable dog tie out stake, also a oxford...

Features:

  • Kit comes with stainless-steel stake and your choice of cable
  • Cable is available in 10-, 20-, and 30-foot lengths
  • O-ring included for easy attachment
  • Comes with a convenient carrying case
  • Capable of securing dogs weighing up to 125 pounds
  • O-ring and stake are 20% thicker than many similar models

PROS

Most owners love this stake for home and for travel. The travel case, matched with the ease of installment, makes it one of the best dog tie outs for camping trips. Its smaller size makes packing super simple. Additionally, owners appreciate the cable length, as it’s a perfect size for most campsites. 

CONS

Some consumers report that the stake can be easily bent by stronger pups. So, you’ll want to avoid pushing your luck if your pooch is near the recommended weight limit. The clips additionally had a negative reception for some reviewers, who gave frequent reports of breaking and unreliability.

5. RUFFWEAR – Knot-a-Hitch 

About: For adventurous pups on the move, the RUFFWEAR – Knot-a-Hitch is a great option for easy transport and a wide range to explore. This trolley-like system is easy to install, has a convenient travel pack, and offers all the safety benefits of a traditional trolley while on the road. 

Details

  • Great for camping: This hitching system allows dogs to explore and roam while remaining on leash;...
  • Easy to set up: Climbing-inspired rope and easy-to-use tensioning system makes set up quick and...
  • Tangle-free: The swiveling carabiner keeps leashes twist- and tangle-free while staying securely...
  • Strong & visible: Knot-a-Hitch is made with durable webbing and strong, flexible rope with an...

Features:

  • Comes with a 36-foot-long rope designed to be attached to a pair of trees or posts
  • Super-durable clips and carabiners provide secure attachment
  • Comes with handy carrying pouch
  • Installation instructions printed directly on the pouch, so you won’t lose them
  • Storage bag protects any unused portion of the rope

PROS

The fundamental design of this dog tie out trolley is a big hit with dog owners, who love the convenience and the freedom it offers on campgrounds. The setup is a breeze and takes very little time. Additionally, the strong clips live up to their guarantees and prove to be extremely durable and trustworthy.  

CONS

Compared to other kits, this one is a bit on the expensive side. While the snaps are extremely sturdy and dependable, the rope is much weaker than the stainless-steel cables on the market today – they may fail to hold extra strong or heavy pups. 

6. Freedom Aerial Dog Run Trolley System

About: The Freedom Aerial Trolley System is a simple, straight-forward, and easy-to-install dog run kit that’ll keep your dog safe while he’s able to explore the backyard. Note that this kit is pretty rugged and durable, but it is designed for relatively small dogs, weighing between 15 and 29 pounds.

Details

  • Built to Last a Lifetime No Plastic Pieces
  • Easy to Set Up and Install
  • Comes with Detailed Installation Instructions
  • Give Your Dog the Freedom to Roam Without the Fear of Him Running Off!

Features:

  • 100-foot-long primary line easily attaches to trees or similar anchors
  • 15-foot-long lead line provides plenty of freedom for small dogs
  • All metal components
  • Cables made from galvanized steel with protective plastic coating
  • Kit comes with all necessary components
  • Installs in 10 minutes (according to the manufacturer)

PROS

This trolley system received glowing reviews from owners, and most confirmed that it is very durable, well-built, and easy to install. If you just want to buy a kit that comes with everything you need for your small to medium dog, the Freedom Aerial Trolley is hard to beat.  

CONS

The biggest downside to this product is that it isn’t strong enough for large pups. It doesn’t really have many other drawbacks.

7. AspenPet Tree Trolley Tie Out

About: The AspenPet Dog Tree Trolley is like a combination of different tether systems. It utilizes a cable that attaches to a fixed anchor (typically a tree), but it is designed to slide around the anchor kind of like a typical trolley slides up and down an overhead cable. In other words, it is a dog trolley you tie around a tree.

Product

Details

  • Tree Trolley allows your dog to run around without getting tangles
  • For dogs up to 200 lbs

Features:

  • Kit comes with everything you need, including a primary cable that wraps around a tree and a lead line that clips to your dog’s harness or collar
  • Suitable for dogs weighing up to 200 pounds
  • Large metal ring enables the lead line (and your dog) to swing around a full 360 degrees
  • Lead line is 12 feet long
  • Comes with a threaded connector – no tools required for installation

PROS

Most owners who tried the AspenPet Tree Trolley Tie Out found that it worked as well as they’d hoped. Several reported that it was stronger than many similar products they’d tried, it didn’t tangle easily, and that installation was not difficult.

CONS

A few owners reported that the threaded connector tends to work itself loose over time. Accordingly, you’ll want to be sure to check and retighten it as necessary. Also, several owners reported that the included clip is quite heavy. This shouldn’t be a problem for big doggos, but smaller pooches may find that it weighs them down.

Are Dog Tie Outs Safe? They Can Be

Tie-downs, tie-outs, and trolleys are excellent tools for providing your pooch with training, behavior correction, and a higher quality of life, but you must use them correctly.

Just keep the following points in mind when setting up your system:

  • Always use tethers with supervision. Understand that trolleys, tie-outs, and tie-downs are not dog sitters. Constant supervision is a must to ensure that your pooch doesn’t become tangled, causing a potentially deadly hazard. 
  • Use the proper tether for your needs. Tie-outs and trolleys are great for giving your dog a lot of room to roam outdoors for moderate periods of time, but tie-downs are better for very short-term use, and they’re typically used indoors.
  • Keep wildlife in mind. Even though your dog is tethered, he may still be able to catch the occasional backyard critter while hooked up to a tie-out or trolley. It is also important to remember that these tethers won’t protect your dog from coyotes, birds of prey, or other predators.
  • Make sure your pup is wearing the proper collar for any kind tie-down or tie-out. Pinch or choke collars could cause serious injury and restrict breathing, so opt for a traditional collar or harness anytime you tether your dog to a fixed anchor. 
  • Double-check that the range of your tie-out or trolley. Be sure that it keeps your dog within the confines (and safety) of your yard, away from the street and any other hazards. 

Dog tie outs are perfectly safe when used with owner supervision, and provided your dog is wearing an appropriate harness or collar that won’t choke or hurt him.

best dog tie out

Dog Chains vs Cables

You’ll likely notice that some dog tie outs and trolley systems utilize chains while others use metal cables. This leaves many owners wondering which option is best.

This is a bit of a contentious subject among owners, with some preferring dog chains for outside use, and others preferring cables. Neither material is inherently better in all cases, so you’ll just need to think about how you intend to use the tie out system, as well as any special needs you or your dog have.

Some of the key things you’ll want to consider include:

Is your dog exceptionally strong?

Believe it or not, some dogs manage to pull, lunge, and twist around hard enough to snap a metal cable or tie out chain. Ultimately, different cables and chains will have varying strengths, so you’ll just want to compare the rated tensile (stretching) strength of the options available and select the strongest one.

When comparing cables and chains of the same diameter, the chain will usually be heavier while cable will likely be stronger. But even this guideline makes a lot of assumptions (such as the strength of the welds used in the chain).

Is your dog a power chewer?

The jaw power of some pooches can be mind-blowing, and many are able to chew through just about anything they set their mind to. This can even include metal cables in some cases. So, if your pooch is prone to chewing through things, you may want to opt for a chain – which will usually hold up better to a dog’s teeth — instead of a cable.

Are tangles a concern?

If you’re worried about your dog tangling up his tie out, you may want to opt for chain, rather than cable. Heavy-duty dog chains can still become tangled, but they are less likely to cause gigantic knots than cables are.

How Do I Keep My Dog from Getting Tangled in a Tie Out Cable?

While tie out cables are designed to allow dogs the ability to run around a predetermined portion of your back yard, they can also become tangled, which will reduce the amount of freedom your dog enjoys.

Best Dog Tie Out

Some dogs appear “better” at tangling their cable than others, but it can happen to just about any tethered canine.

To help reduce the likelihood of tangles, try to implement the following strategies:

  • Use a trolley system instead of a stake. While trolley systems can become tangled, they’re much less likely to do so, as most of the cables and chains involved in the system are suspended above the ground. This also keeps them out of your dog’s way when he’s running around.
  • Move any potential obstacles away from your dog’s area. It is always important to make sure that there aren’t any things in your dog’s tether area that can tangle his cables or chains. This includes things like patio furniture and grills, as well as natural obstacles like trees (you probably don’t want to remove a mature tree, so just try to pick a tree-free area when setting up the tether).  
  • Use the shortest cable length possible. The shorter the cable or chain you use, the less likely it will be to become tangled. However, this is obviously a balancing act, as longer cables will give your dog more freedom. So, try to provide enough cable that he can run around pretty freely, without providing more cable or chain than necessary.
  • Use a retractable tie out. One of the easiest ways to avoid tangles is by using a retractable tie out. These devices work much like a retractable dog leash, and they’ll usually help to limit the amount of slack cable available, which will help reduce the likelihood of tangles.  

How Long Should a Tie Out Be?

There is no single tie-out length that works for all dogs in all scenarios (except tie-downs, which are used for different purposes and should generally be about 3 to 5 feet in length).

You’ll simply need to consider your circumstances when trying to decide how much room you give Rover to roam.

outdoor dog ties

With that said, consider the following when trying to determine the optimal tie out length for your pooch:

  • Are there any hazards in the area? If so, you’ll want to ensure that your dog’s tie out is too short for him to reach anything that may be dangerous.
  • How long will your dog be tethered for at a time? Generally speaking, the longer you’ll be tethering your dog, the longer the cable or chain you use should be. Just remember: Tie outs and trolleys should only be used when you can supervise your dog – they aren’t appropriate or safe for use when you’re at work, for example.
  • How much energy does your dog have? Are you trying to tether a 2-year-old Aussie shepherd who wants to run all day or a 10-year-old Great Dane who wants to sleep 23 hours a day? Most of the time, you’ll want your dog’s tie out length to be proportional to his energy level.
  • How large is your yard? Obviously, you don’t want to use a tie out that’s long enough to enable your dog to leave your property, so your yard will define an upper limit for cable length.

It is also worth considering how often your dog seems to tangle his tie out cable. If he’s always causing it to knot up, and you can’t figure out a better solution, you may need to shorten the cable a bit.

Help – My Dog Keeps Breaking His Tie Out Cable! What Do I Do?

A tie out is intended to keep your dog safely tethered and out of trouble, so broken cables, unclipped latches, and pulled up stakes are obviously huge problems. Unfortunately, some owners seem to deal with this issue repeatedly.

If your dog keeps managing to free himself, be sure to consider the following:

Are you using a strong enough chain or cable?

Many owners make the mistake of using a cable or chain that has a tensile strength that is equal to their dog’s body weight.

This sounds reasonable, until you consider the fact that dogs can generate more force than their body weight (it’s the same principle behind a 2-pound fish breaking a 4-pound-test line or a weightlifter hoisting more than his bodyweight above his head).

Fortunately, most commercial tie outs and trolley systems rate their products appropriately, so this isn’t always an issue. In most cases, tie out cables marketed for dogs up to 100 pounds should be capable of withstanding many times more than 100 pounds of force.

However, if you are designing your own DIY system, you’ll want to be sure to select a cable with a tensile strength of several times your dog’s weight.  

Are you attaching the cable to your dog’s leash properly?

Sometimes, dogs can escape when their collar becomes detached from the tie out or trolley cable.

This can occur due to one of two primary reasons:

  1. You failed to clip the clasp securely.
  2. Your dog engaged in canine gymnastics, which somehow bumped open the clasp.

People often fail to properly connect their dog to the tie-out cable because they’re in a rush and simply fail to verify that the connection is secure.

So, be sure to take a moment and double- and triple-check the clasp before allowing your dog to run free. Fixing this problem really just boils down to forcing yourself to be more careful.

However, preventing your dog from escaping Houdini-style is a bit trickier. The only way to satisfactorily solve this issue is through the use of a locking clip or carabiner.

dog tie clasps

Owners of particularly escape-prone pooches may actually find it helpful to use two clasps – in other words, clip your dog’s tie out cable to his collar or harness, and then add a locking carabiner to the attachment point. This way, if one of the clasps fails, there’s a second one already in place.

How compacted is the soil you’re using to anchor the stake?

Some dogs simply manage to pull the entire anchor stake directly out of the ground.

This can occur for one of two reasons:

  1. You’re using a stake that is too thin or short to adequately secure your dog.
  2. You are placing the stake in soil that is too loose.

Most stakes are rated for dogs of a given body weight, but generally speaking, big dogs require longer, thicker stakes. Such stakes will create more friction with the soil, thereby keeping them in place better.

Is your dog chewing on the cable?

As mentioned earlier, some dogs manage to chew through the metal cable securing them.

If your dog is nom-nom-noming his way to freedom, you’ll either need to use a thicker cable or switch to a chain (chains are not fail-safe, but they typically hold up better to a dog’s chompers).

Are rain and moisture causing the cable or chain to rust?

Over time, steel cables and chains will often rust, which will weaken the material. It’ll also give your dog a better chance to chew through them.

To avoid these types of problems, you’ll either need to opt for a plastic-coated cable or chain, or plan on replacing the the non-coated frequently.

Dome Stake vs Spiral Stake: Which is Best?

When shopping for a tie out system, you may notice that stakes tend to come in one of two forms: Some are essentially straight shafts with a dome-shaped “cap,” while others look like a big corkscrew and feature a triangle-shaped handle at the top.

There are three basic differences between the two options:

  1. Spiral stakes must be screwed into the ground, while dome stakes are usually designed to be installed with a mallet. Neither installation method is better for all owners, so just pick the type you’d prefer.
  2. Spiral stakes are often more difficult for dogs to pull free. That doesn’t mean they’re impossible for dogs to pull up — especially if your dog’s pulling and tugging loosen the surface soil around the stake over time.
  3. Spiral stakes typically have a handle at the top, which may represent a trip hazard. This is likely a bigger danger for you and the other two-footed members of your family than your dog, but dogs may trip when they are excited and running around.

Multiple Dog Tie-Out Chains: Do They Exist?

As you can see, there are a variety of tethering options you can use to keep your dog secured in your yard. But all of the options discussed above assume that you only have one dog to secure.

What if you have more than one dog? Can you buy a tie out system that is designed for multiple dogs?

Not really.

It’s just difficult to design a tethering system that will keep two leads from becoming tangled. Many low-quality single-dog tie-out chains seem to become tangled within minutes; adding a second lead to the system only makes tangles more likely to occur.  

There are a very small number of tie-out systems that are advertised as being suitable for more than one dog at a time, but we hesitate to recommend them.

None that we’ve examined appear like they’d work very well – they all look like they’ll quickly produce a tangled, knotted mess, which will not only keep your dogs from enjoying themselves, it will create serious safety hazards.

There are certainly ways it would be possible to create a multi-dog system that won’t tangle (such as by incorporating rotors), but such systems would probably be prohibitively expensive and too difficult for the average owner to install.

Given all of this, multi-dog households will typically need to just purchase two separate tether systems.

Just be sure to install them far enough apart that your dogs can’t wrap the leads around each other. In other words, a stake-style tie-out with a 30-foot lead shouldn’t be installed closer than 30 feet to any other leads in the yard.

Because trolley systems feature shorter leads, they’ll often work better for two-dog families.

***

From training to recreation, trolleys, tie-downs and tie-outs offer a host of benefits to improve the health and well-being of your pup.

We’ve shared our favorites, now it’s your turn – let us know your favorite tie-down, tie-out, or trolley in the comments below!

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Written by

Nathan Hinds

Nathan Hinds is a professional pilot, writer, and an avid animal lover. He is passionate about animal rescue and is involved in both fundraising and fostering. Nathan is a lifelong resident of St. Louis, MO and is the proud parent of a senior beagle mix named Gilmore, as well as a whole bunch of cats.

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Catherine T Luttinger

I rarely leave comments, but this article was SO thorough and comprehensive that I felt I had to say thank you… I decided to research the different ways to secure my dog in the yard when we go on vacation in august. I’m a new dog owner and didn’t know the lingo or differences or even, really, the options available. Nathan Hinds told me EVERYTHING I’d ever need to know about this topic and I feel absolutely secure in my new knowledge. I’m so grateful!! Thank you Mr. Hinds for taking the time to inform the public with such care!! Cheers to you!

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Ben Team

Glad you enjoyed it and found the article helpful, Catherine!
We’ll make sure Nathan sees your kind words.
🙂

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