Dog Backpacks

By Scott Campbell

There are many dogs that are abandoned or sent to the pound because they are too “hyper” or they are “too much” for the owner. Most of these problems come from lack of exercise. I believe obedience to be the best form of exercise for a dog but they also need physical exercise. Dogs were made to walk, it is what they do, either in a pack or by them selves they walk.

Dogs were also bred originally to work, either on a farm herding livestock, in a field fetching fowl or in a castle catching rats. Granted some dogs are made to walk much further than others and some are made to carry much more weight than others. In either aspect all dogs need some form of exercise and a job to be properly fulfilled. In our daily lives most people do not have enough minutes to properly take care of themselves much less walk a dog 2 or 3 miles.

Even I have a hard time finding enough minutes to properly exercise my dogs. This is why I purchased a dog backpack. Throw a couple of water bottles in the bags and a one mile walk turns into 2 or 3. Not only does the pack give the dog more exercise but it also gives him a job. Might not seem like much to you or me but in dog thinking he is doing a job. Dogs can carry up to ¼ of their body weight. This is not to be done at once but over a period of three months.

This will allow the dog to be accustomed to the pack and build up weight over time. The walks should also start out relatively short in the beginning. The reason for this is; one, the dog will not be used to the pack and it may rub sores on the dog. If the happens the pack needs to be adjusted properly. Two, the dog may get sores on its feet. More weight on the dogs back is going to put more weight on the dog’s feet; this could cause some minor sores. Build up your time and weight and the dog will be fine.

When purchasing a dog backpack one should do some research. Some have poor design that will not stay on your dogs back correctly and some have exposed buckles that can cause sore spots. There are many packs out there that have many different features. I like the ones where the pack can detach from the harness. This makes it easy during breaks to take the weight off the dog but you do not have to get all of the buckles undone.

It is also a good feature to have if one is making water crossings. The brands I recommend are Wenaha, Wolfpack and Eagle Creek When fitting a pack one should make sure

1) easy to put on and take off – look at the positioning and types of the buckles; mine has one that snaps in front of the shoulders and another that wraps under the chest and snaps on the dog’s side;

2) stays in position – without a good strapping system the packs can tend to shift from side to side; take the dog to the store with you, put one on, load it up, and take her for a short walk/jog;

3) drain holes in the bottom, if it doesn’t drain quickly; double bag the food in zip-locs to keep it dry;

4) cool – preferably with an open back. Scott Campbell Contributor On Command Dog Obedience Training Director Duluth GA 30097 email: cell: (404) 488-9499