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Author Topic: Backpacking  (Read 2010 times)

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DancingCavy

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Backpacking
« on: October 14, 2006, 01:07:15 PM »
You don't have to be an avid hiker to go backpacking with your dog.  It's a great activity for the both of you and many dogs are quite happy to have a job while out on a walk with you. 

Most importantly, as with starting any activity, have your veterinarian check your dog over to make sure she is healthy.  Secondly, you're going to need to purchase a dog backpack.  One made for humans just won't do.  You can buy them at pet stores like Petsmart or Petco or at many online retailers.  Make sure it is the right size for your dog (most packs list a weight and a girth on the package).

Once you get the backpack, fit it to your dog.  Adjust the straps so that it fits comfortably but isn't too tight or so loose that it slides around.  Remember, your dog hasn't worn a backpack before so it will take some time for her to get used to it.  The first time you put it on, don't leave it on long.  A minute or two at most.  Have your dog wear it for a couple brief sessions before you take her on a walk wearing it.  On your first couple walks, the pack should be empty.  Let her get used to wearing the pack before you add weight to it.  After several walks with an empty pack, you can start adding some weight.  Keep it light to start, then gradually increase it.

Pretty soon, you won't have to carry any of your dog's accessories when you go walking.  She can carry her own water, dish, toys, leashes, and poop bags.  She can even carry some of your stuff too!  Just remember when packing her bag to keep both sides of the pack approximately the same weight.  It is very uncomfortable to have a lot of weight on one side and very little on the other.  Also be sure to keep an eye out for sores that the pack could cause.

Have fun!



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Jamie
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fledchen

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Re: Backpacking
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2009, 09:45:41 AM »
Are there certain dog body types that are easier or more difficult to fit backpacks to? I would think that a sighthound would be more difficult that a Labrador-type dog.
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DancingCavy

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Re: Backpacking
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 12:44:53 PM »
It depends on the type of backpack.  Most canine accessories are designed for a 'generic dog body type.'  So if you have a very narrow dog or a deep-chested dog, it might be difficult to size the pack to your dog. 

Ideally, you want a backpack that places most of the weight on the dog's shoulders.  This Outward Hound pack that Risa is wearing does not.  It places most of the weight on the dog's back.  Ris' build is similar to that of a sighthound (it's likely she has some sighthound in her mix) and she tends to be difficult to size.  I think it's very important to make sure the pack fits properly since a sliding pack could cause discomfort or injury.  Your best bet is to bring your dog with you when picking out a backpack so you can make sure it will fit her comfortably.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2009, 12:47:46 PM by DancingCavy »
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Jamie
Art Director for KsKs
Professional artist and amateur photographer
Risa, CGC: Mystery Mutt.
Kira (RIP) and Dusti: the Teddy guinea pigs.
Dancing Cavy Productions
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