Aereal Dog Trolley - Update: I built one! [Photos]
  • So, I've decided to add another run in my yard, but instead of a chain link fence I'm going to try an overhead cable run (aka aerial dog trolley). This is not the same thing as a tie-out, and if you need more information, here are some links:

    http://jennaandsnickers.com/2013/07/cable-run/
    http://www.pointingdogjournal.com/onlinecommunity/trolley0313

    Since I think this is probably a sensitive subject to some people, I am going to briefly go over what I think are the pros and cons of all four types of containment (fence, invisible fence, trolley, and tie-out) for building a run for a single large dog. My assumption is that the dog run is within a secured, fenced yard and not being used as the sole means of containment.

    Fence
    Pros: Most dependable containment; nobody thinks it is inhumane or will target you
    Cons: Expensive; labor intensive to set up; can be jumped, climbed, or dug under; impedes cleaning; limited space for exercise - no running; permanently reduces usable area of the yard; barrier frustration; fence fighting

    Invisible Fence
    Pros: Completely free movement and exercise including running; invisible - yard is usable for other things; very easy to clean
    Cons: Extremely expensive; labor intensive to set up; shocks may be inhumane; shocks may be ineffective on thick coats; citronella is not effective on all dogs; dog can ignore or become inured to deterrent; batteries die or collar falls off and fence is gone; misfires can confuse or scare dog

    Trolley
    Pros: Easy to set up; relatively cheap to make; easy movement and exercise including running; not permanent - yard is usable for other things; very easy to clean; hands-free training aid
    Cons: Can get wrapped around obstacles; snap on collar can break; can escape collar or harness; may be targeted by animal rights people who mistake it for tie-out

    Tie-Out
    Pros: Extremely easy to set up; cheapest solution; hands-free training aid
    Cons: Extremely easy to tangle; can get wrapped around obstacles; stake can pull out; greatly impedes cleaning; limited space for exercise - no running; tether frustration; can escape collar or harness; illegal in some areas; targeted by animal rights people

    -----

    Okay, all that being said, I am actually posting to get opinions and ideas about the type of collar or harness to use. I understand that in sled dog country, both trolleys and tie-outs are pretty common for teams. I'm hoping someone has some experience in that area specifically, since huskies and other breeds used for mushing generally have the same sort of coat as my dogs.

    The first link I posted above uses a martingale collar. I am inclined to think that any kind of slip (even a limited slip) would not be the safest solution. On the other hand, my dogs can and will back out of any non-slip collar no matter how tight I make it. So I think a harness might be the best bet, but there are so many different types and configurations of harnesses that I don't know where to begin. I worry about chaffing on a harness as well.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2013-12-08 18:18:31
  • In my google search, I have found a "circle collar" being used for sled dogs on stake-out.

    http://www.blackicedogsledding.com/page1.html

    I haven't heard of this type of collar before, so I don't know anything more about it.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3975
    LoL, since there was mention of tethering and sled dog kennels, here's an interesting write up for setting up a sled dog yard: http://www.mushwithpride.org/Dog_Yard.htm

    Many of the mushers I've seen who have a tether set up will hook the dogs to either a limited slip collar or a buckle-less collar such as this one: http://www.alpineoutfitters.net/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=82

    They love going with the giant O-rings as it makes it easier to grab and hook to.
    image
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3975
    Here's Titan's mom showing off the buckle-less (circle) collar. She's loose in the puppy yard in this pic, thus why she wasn't tethered:
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  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3432
    We used trolleys for our farm dogs when I was growing up, each was about 200 feet long. For the most part they were great and the dogs had lots of room. We did have a horrible strangulation accident where two runs were just close enough at a certain point, that the two dogs began to play and wrestle with each other. The females collar caught on the males line, and he was the larger dog, so she strangled to death overnight. Buckle collars that could quick release if hung up and making sure the line couldn't get fouled in fencing or other runs would have prevented this.
    info@hokkaidoken.org
    www.hokkaidoken.com
    www.hokkaidousa.wordpress.com
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2082
    I've got an overhead tether for when I need one. I don't use it all the time. It's just a cable between two trees with a chain hanging off it and bumpers on the cable to stop the chain from getting too close to the trees. The dog has plenty of room to move around, but there is nothing the chain can get tangled on.
    I don't like cables for attaching to the dog, I prefer chains. Unless it's a very small dog... Anywho, when I use a tie-out or whatever I use either the buckle-less sleddog type collars mentioned above (circle for dogs with bigger heads, limited slip for dogs with smaller heads), or a collar with a solid metal buckle. No plastic snap-type buckles. I've had too many of those break for me to even think of using one. I won't use martingales that have a loop in them for this. I would only use a harness on a dog that does not chew.
    If the dog is on the chain long enough, the collar will start to wear a ring in the fur. I imagine a harness would do the same thing.
    image
  • Thanks all of you for the resources and experiences! I will get one of those O-ring circle collars and see how it goes. @Calia thanks for that long write-up, too. I read the first few paragraphs, but without more visuals on the setup its kind of a dry read.

    @Losech The dog will not spend most of its time on the cable. My use-case will be periods of time when we leave the house and I don't want to crate a dog that long (once or twice a week).

    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • I bought a collar from Alpine Outfitters and a dog trolley kit from Lowes. I planned to build my own, but they didn't have all the parts I needed and the kit was cheaper than just the cable by itself. Silly Lowes.

    Solid clip and strong o-ring collar. There is no buckle to break, no snap clip to get jammed, and the collar is a fixed size so it will not tighten around the dog's neck.
    image

    The lead has a swivel at the clip and by the pulley. Two swivels help prevent tangling.
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    A nylon pulley helps protect the vinyl coating of the cable. The coating is easier to handle, wont cause rope burns if the dog brushes against it, and can't fray.

    The metal stop on the right prevents the pulley from getting any closer to the end of the line. This keeps the dog away from the tree and other hazards.
    image

    The spring end is mounted in our old modesto ash tree. When we decide on the final placement, we'll probably replace with cemented posts.

    A turnbuckle would be better than a spring to really improve the tension and prevent sagging. However, this was a kit, so that's what we used.
    image

    The fixed end is mounted on a board attached to a queen palm tree. Screwing directly into the palm would have been ineffective.
    image

    This configuration is temporary, so we kept the extra cable intact.
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    The lead is about ten feet long. We pulled out benches out of the way so he couldn't get caught on them, but left the boxes for him to stand and lie on if he chooses. We'll build another elevated bed (see my other post about that!) once I find a suitable material strong enough for our adults' weight and the weather.

    And now... a bunch of pics of Batora checking it out.
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    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2082
    Sweet! Looks like a nice setup.
    image
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 4535
    Very cool... Especially your skeletons hanging from the trees! :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
  • Looks good! You put that together pretty fast too!
    photo Kiyoshi-SteveNakatani-2014-1165gnew_zps67b88604.jpg
  • Yeah - it was a necessity.

    We're working really hard to get Ghidora and Batora able to tolerate and ignore each other, and making a lot of progress. However, if both boys are in the fenced runs, they will spend the day barking at one another and giving each other the hairy eyeball - even though their runs aren't even next to each other. They could have some incident while we're not there and cause a huge set back. So we only want them near each other when we can control the situation and make it positive.

    Right now, I am home all day while I work, so I can rotate the boys in and out of the house and yard. We don't really use the fenced runs at all, except to separate the dogs for meal time and when we have to leave the house (eg. dinner). When we leave, Batora is crated in the living room, due to the issues I mentioned above. Obviously, we can't be gone for very long since he's boxed up. I cannot give him free run of the yard because he could still go over and get in an argument with Ghidora through the fence. I cannot give him free run of the house because he will destroy and mark on absolutely everything.

    This weekend I'll be taking King Ghidora and Gamera to a dog show in Texas. On Tuesday, Ghidora will fly back home with my mom. Gamera and I will remain in Texas one extra week, but both male dogs will be at the house. My husband works, so the dogs would be home alone for ten hours each day that week. The crate is simply not an option for that long. We have nowhere to put another fenced run, nor the time and money to do so. We had to come up with something else we could do ASAP!

    Oh, Batora decided he doesn't care for the boxes, but likes the bench that we pulled off to the side. Its got the perfect chin rest, is exactly his size, and has holes to dangle his legs and tail out of.

    image

    (After seeing him like this and taking a picture, I moved the bench in closer so he'd have more slack on the lead when he lies on it.)
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • tmdtmd
    Posts: 345
    That's a great picture of him on the bench!
    - Hanzo (Kai Ken), Pharaoh (JA/AA tweenie), Meg (Border Collie/Lab mix)
  • I want to offer a couple of thoughts based on my own experiences. I have used overhead trolleys with great success although I now have a very large fenced yard. I began using a good, secure harness rather than a collar. Many years ago my next door neighbor's German Shepherd hung himself and I discovered the dog's body - which has, perhaps, made me a bit phobic. I tend to think the utility of collars is best served when the dog is in view or running loose, at least. I come from an old bird dog background which has a very practical side to it. For example, most gun dog trainers and field trialers use break away collars, particularly for wide ranging dogs. In the past dogs have "gotten lost" during a hunt; only to be discovered later dead and caught on a fence or farm equipment. Break away collars would be useless on a trolley. Another method of corralling dogs is the use of ground trolleys when trees aren't available or for multiple dogs. The best I've seen use a steel post sticking up only enough to be clear of the mower. With swivels at both ends of the tether there's no chance of tangling. Don't use coated wire as it impedes free movement of the pulley and won't endure. Stranded cable is less durable than a single wire. Cable is quite strong but is not designed for surface friction.

  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3379
    This is interesting. I've been considering putting a dog run at my parents house for when I visit or when I ride my bike to school so I can drop the pups off and get them on the way back. This would be way better. Mainly because it's not my yard and the less I interfere with it the better, even though they gave me permission for the kennel.

    Although I've noticed some say the tie out will give tether frustration and the cable will not. I fail to see how it would feel any less frustrating. I think if the dogs are undisturbed and not bored (they have a life outside of being tied up), they will adjust to the range of either. Although I'm not terribly opposed to tying out a dog... I'm sensing there's some stigma associated with tying out a dog I'm not familiar with. I've tied out my dogs on occasion when visiting somewhere with no fence but maybe the issue is the full-time tie-out?
    Rakka 落下(Shikoku Ken), Sosuke 宗介 (Kai Ken), Hester, Stephanie, and Batgirl(cats)
    image
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3975
    Although I'm not terribly opposed to tying out a dog... I'm sensing there's some stigma associated with tying out a dog I'm not familiar with. I've tied out my dogs on occasion when visiting somewhere with no fence but maybe the issue is the full-time tie-out?


    I think the big thing against tethering is that there are people who will just leave their dogs on a chain 24/7 with little interaction. These dogs wind up being aggressive due to lack of socialization, bad experiences (wild animal attacks), and boredom. All things that are not necessarily due being chained up and can be seen in dogs kept loose in a kennel or yard.

    Good mushing kennels are a great example of how tethering dogs isn't detrimental, especially since many (that I've met) will let the dogs free play each day between training runs. Many of these kennels will put fencing around their tethered dogs to protect from predators and threats.
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  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12224
    I actually had to make one of these too. For Karr who is staying with us temporarily. I didn't want to deal with integrating him into our group of dogs, so I give him a few hours of yard time and tether time each day. He seems to like it.

    The one I built is WAY less snazzy than @PoeticDragon's ... I just used a rugged carabiner as the "trolley"...
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    It works really well too.

    The tether that connects to the dog is actually a bike lock cable, similar to this...
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    I had to use something crazy strong since Karr is such a massive dog.
    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2014-02-12 18:32:42
  • A caution for anyone who owns an escape artist- Setsuko (shikoku) has learned to unclip the type of hook that PoeticDragon is using. We started attaching our trolley directly to her collar after she started to chew through her harness last summer. Then about a month ago she figured out how to unclip herself. We didn't truly believe it until she did it 3 times in a row, to three different family members. Fortunately our fencing was finally finished the week after she figured out the clip.

    We have used a trolley for shibas for years without trouble, so it depends on your dog. We have also always been home when we have used a trolley, and available to untangle our dogs from bushes.
    Banner
    --Setsuko and Hiro -- AkitsuShikokuKen.com--
  • @kirenna I don't have an escape artist so it wasn't an issue. However, that is a very easy fix - use a locking carabiner. Make sure that its oriented such that gravity doesn't unscrew the lock, however (eg. pointed down).
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com

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