Digging in my basement for backpacking supplies, I ran across an unused dog backpack, still in it's original casing. I thought 'hey, may as well use this since I have it.' The problem was, my only dog the pack would fit on was scared of it. I could tell the moment I put it on him that he was not happy, his tail and ears were tucked, his eyes were wide and he didn't want to move. This, as it turns out, was a very easy fix for us. My dog, Koda, loves fetch, and from experience I know that a bomb could go off nearby and it wouldn't phase Koda if he were playing a game of fetch. So to get him to not only tolerate the backpack, but learn to love the pack, I showed Koda his ball like I always do before fetch, and put the pack on him. This time he hardly noticed anything was attached to him. I also put on the pack before every meal.
|Ruffwear is a great brand for dog packs|
After a few days of this he would associate the pack with a game of fetch and be really excited to put it on. He was time for the walk. To start a dog walking with a backpack, don't put too much weight in it. A dog can carry up to 20% of their own weight, but start off slowly. Go for a short walk and make sure the pack isn't chaffing anywhere.
Slowly increase the weight, I usually fill up water bottles and put them in the pack. It only took me a week to get Koda trained enough for a backpacking trip.
Backpacks can also be a very good training tool, as they help to tire your dog out more effectively than just walks. If you go for long hikes and don't like to carry water bottles, why not let your overly energetic pooch do the job? Backpacks can also give a hard to satisfy dog a job to do, which will help balance your dog's mental stability.