How To Make A Dog Cable Run – 3 Easy Steps

Dogs love running around and exploring the outdoors. But instead of just letting your dog sprint in the yard, you can set up a dog run. For this post, I will teach you how to make a dog cable run on a budget. It’s very simple, and you can get it done even if you’re not much of a handyman. You just need some steel cable, rope clips, a long leash, and a chain pulley.

What is a dog cable run?

A dog cable run is basically a steel cable connected to two stationary objects. It also has a tether line that is connected to your dog’s collar. You can install the cable on a tree, your house, a shed, or just about anywhere that will keep it in place. It’s like a clothesline, but much higher.

How To Make A Dog Cable Run – Easy Steps

how to make a dog cable run

Dog cable runs are used by owners whose yards don’t have a fence. Instead of spending a fortune on installing a physical fence, the dog cable run will keep your dog safe. Still, it will let your dog run around and explore the yard.

Unlike other dog runs with fences, those that are made of cable are much cheaper and easier to install. For the specific cable run I’m going to discuss, it only took me less than an hour to put up everything.

The beauty of dog cable runs is you can install long lines or multiple lines so your pooch will have access to your large yard. It’s also easy to remove everything if you want to transfer it somewhere else.

Benefits of a dog run

Dog runs are made for good reasons. If you haven’t decided yet, the following perks might help you:

  • Safety. Dogs are sneaky creatures, and they can dig through your fence to escape. With this, a dog cable run becomes a more feasible solution. It keeps your dog within your yard without sacrificing the fun. Aside from that, you’ll be saved from the hassle of restoring a tunneled fence.
  • Enjoyment. Your dog will enjoy romping in your yard, even if it’s fully leashed. It’s also a great way to exercise your pooch when you can’t take it on long walks.
  • Peace of mind. Are you going out and but still want your dog to have some exercise? If so, you can build a dog cable run. Just make sure that there’s a spot where your dog can rest away from direct sunlight. Please read here How To Make Dog Booties 

How to build a dog cable run

To build a dog cable run, you have to choose a spot for the installation. Make sure that are two structures on your yard that will hold the cable. It must be stable and will not give off even if a large dog pulls the line. Once you’ve found two installation spots, you should proceed with the following:

What you need:

Steel cable
Chain pulley
4 wire rope clips (or more if you want)
A carabiner that fits on the chain pulley loop
Lag screws with a loop
Large screwdriver
A long dog harness

How to install a dog cable run

Step 1. Installing the lag screws

Get your steel cable and loop it into the chain pulley first. This is the first thing you should do before wounding the cable on the first mounting point. Otherwise, you’ll be doing more work.

installing the lag screws

Once the chain pulley is looped on the steel cable, you must decide how high the cable run would be. Of course, there are two things to consider here.: first, the people passing by the dog run and second, the leash length you have.

Once you’ve settled that matter, drill a small hole on the mounting point, about a quarter of an inch is enough. After that, install the lag screw by twisting it by hand or using a screwdriver leveraged on the loop part. Turn the screw until the threads are no longer visible. Do this on both the mounting points.

Step 2. Hoisting the wires

Once you’re done placing the screws, thread one end of the steel cable into the lag screw loop. Pull some length that you will tie together using two wire clips. If you have a large dog, I suggest using three or four to be sure. Make sure that you mount two wire clips in the opposite direction. If you’re using more than two, mount it on alternating sides.

New to using wire clips? Here’s a video guide.

After that, go to the next mounting point and do the same. Try to pull the cable as much as you can to remove too much slack. If you want, you can install a turnbuckle on one end of the cables that you can adjust after installation to remove the slack on the line.

TIP: You can install wire clips on different spots of the cable to serve as stoppers in case you want to control which areas your dog can access.

Step 3. Installing the dog harness

The last step to make the dog cable run is to connect the leash to the chain pulley. For this part, you’ll connect the carabiner into the loop of the pulley. After that, you will connect the loop of the leash to the carabiner. please read here How To Make A Dog Harness.

installing the dog harness

After that, run the pulley all over the cable and check for bumps and kinks that you’ll need to fix. You can also oil the pulley a little bit so it will run smoothly on the cable.

Lastly, attach the leash to the collar of your dog to let them play. After that, you’re all done!

ADDITIONAL NOTES: So why didn’t I just wrap the steel cable on a tree? This will save you from a lot of work, but it will damage the tree after a while. Your dog will tug on the line, which results in the cable scraping the bark of the tree. That’s something we don’t want to happen. I also used lag screws because it’s a good solution if you’re installing the cable on a wall.

Additional tips in using the dog cable run

While dog cable runs are relatively safe, you should still keep these points in mind:

  • Keep your dog supervised. It’s fine to leave your dog on the cable run alone for a few minutes. However, I don’t advise putting them on the cable for long without supervision. Leashes can get tangled, and it can also wrap around trees. Also, two dogs in one cable run is a brewing disaster.
  • Use durable cable steel. If you have a large dog, you must invest in thick and industrial-grade cable steel. This will prevent the line from snapping should your dog tugs hard (please also read my article My Dog Lost A Tooth After Tug Of War, What Should I Do).
  • Start small. I recommend limiting your dog’s access to the dog cable run first. This is advisable for those with nervous canines that get spooked by a lot of things. As your dog adjusts, you can increase the length of the cable they can access.

Where should I place the dog cable run?

If you have a large yard, choosing where to install the dog cable run wouldn’t be a problem. The only thing you should look for is two strong structures that can hold the line. Also, you should choose a spot where your dog can run without interfering with people too much.

where should i place the dog cable run

But what should I do if my dog keeps breaking the cable run? If your dog can break the cable run, that means you’re using substandard materials. Your dog cable run should be strong enough that even a human can hold onto it without snapping. Also, the larger your dog, the thicker the cable should be.


Dog runs are fun and an ingenious way to let your dog enjoy the outdoors. Knowing how to make a dog cable run is pretty easy, and you can purchase all the materials in a local hardware store. Just make sure that you supervise your dog at all times once it’s already using the cable run.

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