Installing a Trolley System

Easiest Method | Real Cases | How to Sink a Post

Please consider building a fence or bringing your dog inside instead of putting your dog on a dog run. Dogs want to be able to run free. Would you want to be attached to a chain for your whole life? Neither does your dog! A trolley/dog run is still a chain.

A one-time investment in a fence will improve your property value and improve your dog's life immeasurably. Learn more about fence building, and read a story about how we fixed a fence to unchain two dogs. If your dog is a fence jumper, there are alternatives (see number 7) other than a trolley or chain. Please explore the rest of this site to learn about ways to improve an outside dog's life.

However a trolley/dog run is better than a fixed chain. Installing a trolley system is easy. A trolley system is like a clothesline that the dog is attached to by a leash. The leash is attached to the line by a rolling trolley. The dog can run back and forth the length of the line.

You can buy dog runs from Petsmart, Walmart and other pet and discount stores. They include easy instructions. You can also buy the individual parts to a trolley (line, trolley, hooks for the posts/trees) at home improvement stores such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. Ask a worker to show you what you need to put up a dog trolley.

We have found that the brand of trolley that works best is:  Prestige® Skyline Aerial Dog Run. This trolley's attachments are made of metal rather than plastic, so they are stronger and less likely to break.

You can attach a stronger downline (leash)  to the trolley for strong dogs. You can replace the downline in the package with the Prestige Beast Tie-Out.


The Easiest Method

The easiest way to attach a trolley is to run it between two trees. It will only take you a few minutes to run the trolley between the trees. If you don’t have two trees, you can easily sink posts into the ground and run the trolley between the posts. Or you can use a tree and one post.


Make sure to put the trolley system in a place where the dog won’t get entangled in objects or be able to jump a fence. If there is a fence in place, and the dog jumps over on his leash, he could be hung.

The trolley kit should include stoppers that you can put anywhere on the line to stop the trolley. For instance, if you want the dog to stop four feet from one end of the line, you can put a stopper at four feet from the end of the line. The trolley won’t be able to get past the stopper.

rope clamp

You can buy extra stoppers at home improvement stores. Ask for rope clamps. Be sure and pick the size that will work best for the size of your line. If the clamp is too big, it will slide around on the line.

Real Cases: Lady and Maggie

Here's how Lady's and Maggie's lives were improved by installing a trolley. 


Lady, before: Lady was chained to this clothesline post. Her yard is not fenced and the owner isn't planning to install one.


Lady, after: We ran the trolley between the two clothesline posts that were already in place. Now, Lady has about 10 times more area to run around in. She loves running on her trolley (though she would love a fenced yard a lot more!)


Maggie, before: Maggie was chained next to her doghouse for six years. Her chain was about six feet long. Maggie's guardian doesn't want her to have access to the entire yard.


Maggie after: We ran her trolley between a tree and a post we installed. Because Maggie can jump the fence, we had to keep her from getting too close to the fence. Otherwise, she could jump over and hang herself. We put a stopper (rope clamp) on the line a few feet from the fence. The stopper keeps Maggie from getting too close to the fence. Now, Maggie has much more room, and RUNS back and forth on her line. She seems to enjoy having her choice of spots to curl up and sleep now.

How to Set a Post


    Strong wooden post. The post should be long enough to allow for about 1.5 feet under the ground, and 5-7 feet above ground. Ideally, the post should ne tall enough for someone to walk under the trolley line. The post needs to be several inches thick so it won't snap.

    One 40 lb. bag of concrete mix is plenty for one post. You can use quick-set.

    Stick or dowel.

    Water from a bucket or hose.

    Shovel or post-hole digger.


    Dig a hole for the post. The post needs to be at least 1 1/2 or two feet underground.

    Put a few rocks in the bottom of the hole, then set the post in the hole. It’s easiest if you have someone to hold the post in the center of the hole.

    Pour about one-third of the concrete mix into the hole (pour it around the post). Pour about half a gallon of water into the hole and stir the concrete around with the stick.

    Keep adding concrete mix and stirring in water in until the hole is filled with the concrete mix. Refer to the directions on the package.

    Cover the concrete with the dirt from the hole you dug. Pile dirt or rocks around the bottom of the post to keep it in place while the concrete sets.

    In 24 hours, you post should be set with regular concrete. With quick-set, your post will be ready in an hour.