It’s not always possible to give your dog free range when letting them spend time outdoors. Safety and containment are key, especially if you don’t have an enclosed outdoor yard or your pup tends to escape.
But dogs do love to spend quality time in the fresh air, so on top of their daily exercise, dog tie-outs, trolleys, or tie-down systems can be the perfect solution. From a straightforward extendable cord to a clever pulley setup, these systems enable your pup to have their outdoor freedom while keeping them safe and secure. But which type of system is right for your dog and your space? We check out the best dog tie-outs, trolleys, and tie-downs so you can decide.
- - If you are looking for a way to secure your pet in an open space, then a tie-out or trolley system could be the answer
- - Available in different lengths and ratings for the size of your pet, dog tie-outs secure your pet but still give them the space to move around
- - Dog tie-downs, on the other hand, should only ever be used when you need to secure your dog in a smaller area for a short time
- - A dog tie-down can be useful if you need to keep your dog still for activities such as grooming and nail clipping or to help with behavior training.
- - Any dog tie-out system should only ever be used under supervision, and your dog should not be tethered for prolonged periods.
- - A dog tethered for too long or on too short a cable can become aggressive as they are not able to retreat to safety
What is the Difference Between Tie-Outs, Trolleys & Tie-Downs?
Before we start with our review, here’s a quick overview of the three main types of tether systems you can buy, depending on your outdoor space:
Usually, including a ground stake and a long, durable cable, dog tie-outs are good options if you need a simple but effective way to secure your dog outdoors. The length of the cable can vary, so you must always ensure it is suitable for the outdoor space you have. The stake is secured in the ground and then your dog is attached to it via the cable, giving them the freedom to move around within the ‘orbit;’ of the central stake.
Effectively a pully runs for your dog; a dog tie-out trolley system takes the simple tie-out idea and adds in greater freedom of movement for your pet. It includes a suspended pulley that moves along an overhead cable as your dog wanders and enjoys his outdoor space. A dog trolley system does take some time to set up, but it is sturdy and effective, making it a great choice for spaces with no fence or enclosure.
A dog tie-down is a shorter version of a dog tie-out and involves a limited cable of a couple of feet in length which can be secured to an anchor point. Dog tie-downs are ideal as temporary solutions to tethering your dog for short periods while still giving them some room to move. Good uses for a tie-down include visits to the grooming parlor or, when you take your pup with you for a lunch date, alfresco. They can also be a handy tool for obedience training.
The 10 Top Rated Dog Tie-Outs, Trolleys & Tie-Downs
- Made from forged solid steel
- High visibility yellow
- Easy to install
- Top clip for 360-degree rotation
Straightforward to use, affordable and durable, the Prestige Dome Stake from Boss Pet romps home with our Best Tie-Out title. It ticks the boxes for all the essentials you need to ensure your puppy is safe and secure. Made from forged steel, it is a heavy-duty stake that can cope with the excesses of an energetic pup. And the bright yellow paintwork not only offers rust protection but means it is easily seen, both day and night, against a host of backgrounds.
Dog owners report it is easy to install and the top clip swivels 360 giving your dog maximum movement around their yard. However, while it does include the clip, you will need to buy your cable separately. But as this stake is portable and tough, you should get plenty of use, so it also represents good value for money.
- Durable, portable, and easy to install so good value for money
- High viz yellow steel so easy to see at night
- Doesn’t include a tie-out cable
- Made so well, some users say it can be difficult to get out of the ground!
- Screw design for easy insertion without digging
- Powder-coated for high visibility
- Rust-resistant steel with top clip
- Low profile to reduce trip hazard
If you don’t want to mess up your lawn or need a portable tie-out that is always ready to go, check out this spiral anchor design from Sunnydaze. Weighing 1.8 pounds, this heavy-duty dog stake is not lightweight when it comes to strength and security. And the fact that it requires no digging means you can pull it up and take it with you when you travel with your pet. This makes it ideal for popping in the back of the car or RV when setting off on camping trips or a day at the beach.
Made from 20mm thick heavy-duty steel and powder coated in a high-viz, rust-resistant yellow, you screw the anchor post into the ground, attach your dog’s cable, and off they go. And the design is low profile so it all looks neat as well as is less of a trip habit for humans. Add in a one-year warranty and we think this is a good buy for the active dog in your life.
- Works very well in firm soil without leaving a mess
- Lies flush to the ground when fully screwed in
- Doesn’t include a cable leash
- Can be a bit of a challenge to screw it all the way down
- Choice of strengths for small, medium and large dogs
- 30 feet of steel cable with anti-rust vinyl cover
- Reflective outer for greater visibility
- Can be used on its own or with a tie-out system
With many dog tie-out stakes, not including the leash or cable, you need to make the right choice for your pet. And this super-tough tie-out cable is a versatile choice. With a cable available for dogs weighing up to 90, 125, and 250 pounds, this is a heavy-duty dog tie-out cable built to withstand most dogs’ pressure.
For your money, you get 30 feet of steel tie-out cable with an anti-rust vinyl cover that is reflective for visibility and weather protection. And to withstand the pull of an excited dog, you get crimp covers for extra strength and swivel clips for maximum moveability. Use on its own, looped around a stable anchor point, as a short-term fix when out and about or with a tie-out or decked out pulley systems for a regular set up in your garden.
- Versatile, strong and durable steel cable
- Crimp covers for optimum strength and stability
- The cable can be prone to kinking so needs to be stored well
- Intended for good behavior training
- Short three-foot nylon cable
- Plastic coated with snap hooks
- Includes a how to guide
At a manageable three feet in length, this cable can briefly secure your dog when you need to reassure and foster good behavior. Of course, this cable mustn’t be used as a substitute for training or as a longer period tie-out line. But used correctly as a short-term measure to help calm down your pup, this can be a good addition to your dog kit box.
With durable snap hooks at either end, this nylon cable for dogs is plastic coated so reasonably durable and safely attaches to their collar or harness and a nearby solid object to help temporarily keep them in one place. This cable also works when you need to treat or groom your dog and need both hands as it can gently secure them in one place. The cable also comes with a top tips booklet so you can be sure you are using it correctly and in the best interests of your pet.
- Durable short cable to briefly secure your dog
- Good for calming your pet, or for grooming etc
- Cable not suitable for dogs with chewing issues
- Keeps your pup visible with its high-viz vinyl cover
- 25 feet of steel cable with two snap locks
- Anti-rust with crimp covers for extra protection
- Rated for dogs weighing up to 35 pounds
When it comes to keeping track of your pet, bright is best, and you cannot miss this reflective dog tie-out cable. Petest has created a strong and lightweight tie-out cable for dogs that uses highly reflective anti rusty vinyl covers so you can keep track of your dog at night, in poor light, or in bad weather. The tie-out cable itself is a decent length, coming in at 25ft, and is advised for use with dogs weighing up to 35 pounds. However, this means it isn’t strong enough for larger dogs.
To boost its durability, you also get anti-rust end snaps for a secure attachment as well as crimp covers to protect against rain and rust. Use this cable for dogs in your own yard or store it in your car trunk for away days and vacations, and your pup will be able to have their freedom, while always being visible.
- Excellent reflective cover so pet owners can keep an eye on their dog
- Not suitable for larger dogs; best for small to medium dogs
- Designed for dogs up to 100 pounds
- Provides 1,700 pounds break strength
- Polyvinyl coating for extra rust protection
- Easy to clean and store
You need that little bit of extra restraining power in your tie-out cable for larger dogs to cope with their strength and excesses. This is where this ‘Clear Break’ vinyl tie-out from Petmate nicely comes in. Made from galvanized steel, this tough 15-foot cable can safely secure dogs weighing up to 100 pounds. Offering a 1,700 pounds break strength, dog owners can have peace of mind that their puppy is safe while giving them more freedom to roam.
You also get two brass end swivel snaps for greater strength and flexibility, plus a polyvinyl coating for extra weather and rust resistance. Use this tough, easy-clean cable on either dog tie-out or pulley systems for a big, happy outdoor-loving pet. The best dog tie cable for bigger hounds.
- Impressive 1,700 break strength to help secure large, energetic dogs
- Galvanized steel plus rust and weather resistant coating
- Not the best cable choice for heavy chewers
- Sized for small to medium dogs
- Made from 8mm solid steel
- Includes a comfort grip handle
- Steel attachment ring with 360 rotation
This well-priced dog stake is ideal if you are a casual tie-out user or need something neat and lightweight to put in the RV or back of the car. This tie-out stake can also be a good option to have set up in your yard if you have a smaller canine. Made from 8mm steel, the corkscrew design makes it easier to set up on medium to hard ground, leaving you with the attachment ring just above the ground. It also gives a 360-degree swivel for maximum movement.
What we also like about this stake is the comfortable handle for a smooth grip, with its bright red color doubling up as a clearly visible marker. While this may not be the most durable against bad weather, it is quick to clean and can be moved, so an excellent option for a portable tie-out.
- Red handle is not only comfortable to use, but makes the stake visible
- Great for day trips and vacations with your dog
- Doesn’t include a rust-resistant vinyl coating
- 100% steel cable coated with corrosion protection
- Bright red cable for visibility
- 100ft of tie out with 10ft leading line
- Includes rust-resistant metal snaps and pulley device
Trolley systems are a good choice if you like to give your pet more of a run but still want to ensure they are safe and contained. And for this category, we rate the Pupteck as one of the best dog tie-out trolleys you can buy.
The premise of a trolley system is simple – you have one long tie-out cable to which you attach a shorter leading line. Then clip your pup onto the pulley on the leading line, and he gets the length of the run plus the extra length of the leading line. With the Pupteck, you get an easy to set up system which gives you the main tie-out cable of up to 100 feet, with an extra 10ft on the leading line. Thanks to rust-resistant metal snaps, the leading line attaches smoothly to the tie-out cable. The system also includes a shock-absorbing spring to counter sudden tension if your puppy likes to tug.
- You get a 100 foot tie out cable for a large run area
- Both cables and pulley system are protected against rust
- Can be a little tricky getting full tension on the main tie-out line
- Best for single, small to medium/large dogs
- Reflective rope, carabiner, and tensioning system
- Includes own carry pouch
- Offers up to 36 feet of run length
- Handwash and air dry
We all love to take our dogs on our travels, even if it’s a day at the beach or hills. And wherever we go, our puppies’ safety and security are paramount. With Ruffwear’s smart hitching system, you don’t have to clip your pet’s wings when out and about. Ideal for camping and traveling, Knot-a-Hitch comes in its travel pouch, making it super easy to carry. And inside, you get everything you need to set up an ‘away-from-home’ tie-out system.
The central line has the look of a climbing rope that is reflective and durable, while the carabiner fixes at each end, enabling you to secure between two points, such as trees or posts. Then you snap on the leading line for secure installation, attach it to your dog’s collar or harness, and off you go. The carabiner attachment swivels to prevent tangles, and your pup gets up to 36 feet of room to move. The whole dog tie-out set is hand-washable and neatly stored back in its pack for your next camping trip.
- Easy carry and set up that’s ideal for camping and traveling
- Clever tensioning system plus swivel carabiner for smooth operation
- The rope is not as durable as a more traditional tie-out cable
- Some users report they need to regularly re-tension the line
- Galvanized, vinyl coated aircraft- standard cable
- Buckle connection for secure attachment
- Patent-pending twin swivel clip covers minimize tangles
- Rated for dogs weighing up to 60 pounds
Combining a 40-foot cable with a wriggly, playful pet could lead to some knotty moments, so you should opt for a tangle-free tie-out setup if this is your concern. And we think Boss Pet’s Prestige Large Dog Tie Out is a good bet for your money.
Suited for pets up to 60 pounds in weight, you get a heavy-duty vinyl-coated aircraft cable that’s more than suited to repeated use. And the red color is visible, even in low light. But what does set this tie-out cable apart is the secure spring system to keep your dog attached and the patent-pending twin-swivel buckles to keep the likelihood of entanglement to a minimum. There is a safe comfort snap, so your dog’s neck is protected against any sudden pulls or tension. Use on its own or as part of a dog tie-out stake or trolley system, and your dog can safely enjoy his playtime outdoors.
- Smart swivel buckle helps to eliminate entanglements
- Comfort snap to cushion your dog’s neck if they run to the end of the line
- The red vinyl cover is prone to fading if left out too long in the sun
How to Choose the Best Tie-Outs, Tie-Downs & Trolleys
For your dog’s safety, comfort, and controlled freedom, you need to take some key factors into account when choosing a tie-out, tie-down, or trolley:
Why you need it
It’s important to pick the right system for you and your dog. For example, a tie-down is a good choice if you want to limit dogs’ movement for a short time for obedience training or grooming. But for longer periods outside for exercise and general chilling, you should consider a longer-cabled tie-out or trolley.
Your dog’s weight
It is also essential to know your dog’s weight before choosing your preferred system. Whether a tie-out, tie-down, or trolley, the device needs to be matched to the size and breed of your dog so that you can be sure it is strong enough for them when they pull with their full weight. What you don’t want to happen is for the line to snap when your pup is in full flight, chasing a bird or rabbit, for your example. And don’t forget to check the method of fixing the cable to ensure it is strong enough.
Length of cable
As well as its strength, the length of the cable needs to be appropriate to your outdoor space and your dog’s needs. You don’t want surplus slack so that they can wander too far or get themselves entangled around an obstacle, but you also need to ensure it allows them the freedom of movement they need.
You want your new tie system to last and remain safe to use. And this means looking for a setup made from durable material – ideally an anti rusty vinyl cover – that can work well in your outdoor environment. It also needs to cope with the weather and lower temperatures, so opt for an that can withstand the heat, cold, humidity, and rain.
When keeping track of your canine buddy, you need to be able to see their tie-out line or cable quickly and easily. A reflective line is an ideal solution as it means you can see your dog from a distance during the day and when the light is lower.
Are Tie-Outs Safe for Dogs?
Used correctly, the best dog tie-outs are perfectly safe for your dog and can benefit from their time outdoors if you do not have an enclosed space. But always read the manufacturer’s instructions before setting it up for use. And there are some essentials you must do when using any dog tie-out system to ensure your pet’s safety.
Top of this list to keeping your dog tie-outs safe is that they should not be left unsupervised (constant supervision is strongly recommended) or be used for prolonged periods to prevent them from getting entangled. Leaving a dog for a long time tethered can also be bad for their mental health as it means they cannot retreat from a perceived threat and so could develop aggressive tendencies. Dog ties outs should also be appropriate to your dog’s size, weight, and needs, and their movement range will keep them in a safe space.
Finally, use a dog harness to give them the most comfortable tie-out experience without causing too much body pressure when they lean their full weight against the full stretch of the cable. Or, if you do need to use a collar, then only ever use a traditional design to ensure at no stage is your dog’s neck under undue pressure and their breathing restricted.
The Benefits of Using Tie-Outs
While a tie-out system should only be used when necessary and not for prolonged periods, there are times when dog tie-outs can benefit both you and your pet, including:
A tie-out stake can be a good kit if you are starting obedience training with your pup or young dog. It allows them to make mistakes when practicing recalls, etc., without you running the risk of losing them.
When you are traveling
Many of us love to take our dogs with us when we travel, whether that’s a day away to the beach, a weekend camping trip, or a full-on vacation. But unfortunately, the places we stay and visit often don’t have enclosed, pet-safe outdoor spaces where portable dog tie-outs can come in.
For safety in an unenclosed space
Not all yards and gardens are canine-proof, especially if you have a large dog or a pup that is a master escape artist! But all dogs love to chill and play outdoors, particularly when the sun is out. So, with a tie-out cable, your pup can securely join you outdoors for a relaxing, fun afternoon in the garden, even if you don’t have a fenced yard.
To keep your pup still
Grooming, health checks, and nail trims are numerous reasons you may need to briefly secure your dog in one place without holding on to them. With a tie-out or tie-down, you can safely manage your dog while keeping both hands free to do the job at hand.
How Long Should a Dog Tie-Out Be?
While tie-downs should have a limited length (generally no more than 3-5 feet), there is no standard maximum length for a dog tie-out. Instead, you need to take your dog’s size, roaming needs, and dimensions of your outdoor space into account before choosing the most appropriate tie-out length. Before setting a long dog leash on your tie-out cable, you must also consider environmental safety. And this includes checking for any hazards in the area to prevent entanglement. Your dog’s activity level – is he an outdoor snoozer, or does he like to keep pacing and active – will also dictate the ideal cable length.
And finally, how long your dog will be tethered should also be factored in. The longer your puppy is outside, the longer the length of the outdoor dog cable so he can entertain himself and get the leg stretch he needs.
How to Install a Tangle-Free Tie-Out System
If entanglement is the main concern, especially if you have more than one dog, you can opt for tangle-free dog tie-outs. These neat systems feature a base from which the cables can swivel 360 degrees to give your dogs the space to roam without the cable wrapping around the central tether. They can also be as simple as a central spiral in-ground stake, which is easy to install and portable.
Whichever design you choose, always follow the manufacturer’s setup instructions. But to help, here’s a video guide on installing a tangle-free tie-out system for two dogs.
Can You Use a Harness With a Tie-Out?
Yes, they are advised to use with a tie-out system. A harness offers your dog comfort while keeping them secure. And a harness also means that they won’t have any unpleasant pressure on their neck when your dog pulls on the tie-out line.
Different Kinds of Dog Tie-Out Systems
As we have seen, a dog tie-out system is an affordable and effective way to give your dog security and freedom when in an outdoor space. And depending on you, your yard type, and your dog, there are several different types of dog tie-out systems to choose from.
Super-portable and straightforward, dog stake tie-out is the most common type. Ideal for softer ground, lawns, and borders, you secure the stake into the ground and attach the tie-out cable or line. These are also good options if you like to travel with your puppy as they work well on beaches and sand.
A corkscrew tie-out is like the straightforward stake but is fashioned into a corkscrew to give your dog greater freedom of movement and more security in the ground. Corkscrew tie-outs are good if you have a large or stronger dog. They are good for camping trips too.
Ideal for multiple dogs, or if you want to prevent entanglement, a swivel base tie-out is typically a floor mount secured with an anchor. They can also be secured permanently in your yard. You can get multiple attachments for your pets, and more security as many swivel style tie-outs are designed to withstand a lot of dog-pulling. The downside for dog owners is typically the more expensive type of dog tie-out.
Besides fixed-length cables, you can also choose a dog tie-out system that includes a retractable line that moves in and out with your dog for extra safety.
Always remember, whichever type of tie-out system you choose, you should never leave your dog unattended or use them for prolonged periods to ensure total pet safety.