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How to Problem Solve your Sky Track and Acclimate your Dog to the System

We can break this down into 3 separate sections: environmental, mechanical, and behavioral. The first is associated with the area around you. What are the limitations of the land? Mechanical refers to the components of the Sky Track. What can you do if something breaks or you lose a component? The way your dog interacts with the Sky Track comprises the third category. "My puppy is freaking out! What do I do?" Let's investigate some of those solutions.

Environmental:

1) There aren't many trees in our campground: 

First, look for anything that can be used as a high anchor:

  • Boulders
  • Tall bushes
  • A crack in a cliff
  • Telephone poles
  • sign posts, etc
  • Man-made structures like bathrooms
  • Top of a tent if well-supported
  • Picnic table
  • Car, trailer, or RV roof racks

You can usually use the car bumper or roof rack to at least get part of the track above ground. Could you ask your neighbor politely to use anything on their site? Worst case scenario, you could use the line as a ground track if there isn't much danger for others in tripping over it. Of course, if trees are difficult to find, then your main concern should be finding shade.

2) These trees are too big for the Straps:

Redwoods have massive trunks. It would take a 15-foot strap to wrap around a 5-foot wide trunk. Wrap the rope around the tree and secure with the rope clamp. Alternately, carry extra rope with you and create a loop around the tree using a square knot to act as an anchor point. Did you look on the other side of the tree to find a broken branch or stub to hook the strap around?

3) The rope I have is too short for the trees in my campsite:

If there is nothing else nearby that can be used as an anchor and your car can't be moved closer to allow the roof or door to secure one end of the line, look for anything that can help you to lengthen the rope, like bungees, cord, tent straps, etc. Can you make a line between the picnic table and the car rack or bumper? Use a sheet bend knot to tie two ropes together of different diameters.

4) The rope is too bright or visible. I like something that will actually blend into the environment / my HOA wants me to use a more muted rope:

Pick up a $5.00 of synthetic dye meant for nylon and polyester and follow the directions on the bottle. Use a diluted mixture of black to mute the color according to preference. Rit Dye More is a common brand sold at Michaels.

Mechanical:

1) In the event of malfunction or loss, we've designed the Sky Track for redundancy. Replace the following with a different component or knot:

  • The Pulley can be replaced with the Carabiner
  • The Carabiner can be replaced with a short rope loop
  • The Ratchet can be replaced with the Rope Clamp
  • The Rope Clamp can be replaced with a slip knot
  • The Strap can be replaced using the Rope Clamp or 7mm Accessory Cord
  • The Bumper can be replaced with the Rope Clamp or a slip knot in the line
  • The Nightline Sky Track rope can be replaced with your own 7.5mm and 8.5mm rope
  • The Adjustable Strap can be replaced with a secondary leash

2) How to properly care for the components:

  • Spray the Carabiner with a little oil if you live near the coast to protect from rusting. The pulley and ratchets are made of aluminum, but the carabiner is steel.
  • Make sure the Bumpers are in full locked position. Align the padlock with the arrow icons. Leaving the bumpers in half lock positions may allow the rope to erode the plastic inner chamber, rendering its rope stop function useless. If this does happen, the Rope Clamp may be substituted.
  • Rope is the most valuable component of the Sky Track. Keep the rope out of the sand and dirt if possible.
  • Add a little oil to the ratchets, the pulley, and the carabiner screw every year or so to make sure all moving parts are well lubricated.
  • Don't leave the Sky Track up all year if not in use. The weather and sun are strong destructive forces. Disconnect the rope from one end and once coiled, hang it from the other strap for temporary storage. Otherwise, it's always best to store in a dark, dry place. 

3) Common issues and Tips:

The blue Bumper doesn’t work. Solution: You may have not tightened it initially so that the padlock and arrow icons align. Replace it with the Rope Clamp if you have one or wrap and tie some rope onto the line. Contact us.

how to hold back large dogs on the track          Use a clamp on each side instead of a bumper

The rope drags a little after the next day and requires some retightening. Solution: Connect the Line Tensioner between the Ratchet and the Strap (via the D-ring). It only takes a couple of inches of stack for some rope drag to occur. All static lines will stretch up to 3% over time so be patient and eventually the rope will stop dragging so much due to weather, temperature changes, and inherent stretch. They also provide some safety stretch to the dog's neck if wearing a collar instead of a harness. Additionally, its a safety hazard to have a low hanging rope which can cause harm to unsuspecting passersby.

keeps the rope taut at all times.          how to connect the line tensioner on a rope system

Behavioral:

1) My dog doesn't like being on the Track:

Most dogs require some time to acclimate to any type of tie out system. It's important to remember that dogs are pack animals and enjoy the social interaction of people. Therefore, they need to know being on the Track is not a form of punishment, abandonment, or isolation. Use these tips:

  • Make one side of the Track a den area complete with toys, blankets or towels with familiar smells, and a water dish. Make it comfy and pick out an area with shade or shelter.
  • Initially, keep your dog on the Track for a limited amount of time until accustomed.
  • Give them plenty of praise and offer a treat for good behavior.

2) My dog barks when I leave him on the Track

This is normal behavior for any dog trying to understand the situation. Are they trying to communicate something to you? Did you forget his favorite toy or a water dish? Does he bark when you leave him at home or shut the door? It's important to ignore the barking but also to reward him for not barking. Give him a chew toy to keep him busy and check in on him so he knows he's not left behind.

3) My dog chews his leash anytime he's tied up:

Using a harness instead of a collar helps your dog to deflect attention away from the idea of being tied to something. Try using a chain section under supervision to connect the harness or collar to the leash temporarily. Then switch it out and observe. Dogs have inherent stress about being bound, which is a survival instinct. Make sure they have plenty of water, treats, toys, and a cozy den so they can feel at home.