Dog Backpacks

Does your dog seem to have an endless amount of energy? Do you find that after taking your dog for a long walk he still seems to have just as much energy as when you left the house? You may want to try a dog backpack.

Whenever I walk Rusty on a leash, I often put a dog backpack on him. I use the dog backpack to carry: one water bottle on each side, doggie bags, treats, a few business cards and my wallet. When I am done each side weighs just under two pounds. It’s important that the overall weight of any dog backpack does not exceed 10-20% of your dog’s weight.

Wearing the backpack is a great way to help Rusty work harder during our walk, and he loves it. When I first put the backpack on him, I wasn’t sure how he would react. I was taking a trip to Fort Bragg with both dogs and wanted an easy way to transport their doggie bags, treats and water toys. I tried it on Sadie first, but she wanted nothing to do with it. I could have persisted and she would have eventually gotten use to it.

However, when I put it on Rusty, he never even thought twice about it. Now Rusty associates the dog backpack with going for a walk, and needless to say he loves to see his backpack. I hear many dog owners say, “my dog would never do that.” But the truth is most dogs don’t mind carrying a backpack. Even if it might take a time or two for them to get comfortable with the idea.

A backpack can be a way to help your dog work off his excess energy. With Rusty, it does not seem to matter how long of a walk, I take him on, unless he is off leash and can run, he never gets tired, but using a backpack helps to wear him out.

Wearing a backpack makes Rusty have to work harder during the walk and gives him something to focus on, which makes him less likely to want to chase every skateboarder he encounters. Because, as far as Rusty is concerned skateboarders are evil, right up there with cats, and must be chased whenever possible.

Dogs love to have a job, one easy way to give your dog a job to do is to include a doggie backpack during your walk. Wearing the backpack almost always calms a dog down. Think about when a boy scout troop is out on a hike, they’re hyperactive at camp, but during the hike with their backpacks on, they’re calm and orderly. It works the same way with your dog. If they’re focused on walking and carrying, they become less focused on chasing and barking. The result is a more relaxed and calm dog both during and at the end of your walk.

Things to keep in mind when using a doggie backpack.

  • It can take 2-3 walks for your dog to get use to the backpack. Don’t give up if he doesn’t take to it at first.
  • Make sure you get the correct size/fit for your dog.
  • The first time or two out, I recommend leaving the backpack empty to allow your dog to get use to having a backpack on.
  • When you do start putting weight on your dog make sure each side has an equal amount of weight. This will ensure the backpack is balanced, which will help keep it in the correct place.

Dog backpacks come in various sizes and types.

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