A lot of people use back packs to increase the effectiveness of their daily walks.
High-energy dogs, nervous or anxious dogs and other dogs seems to respond to having a “job” (hauling around a backpack with some moderate weight in the packs). Plus, it uses up to three times the energy … a 15-minute walk has the impact of a 45-minuted walk with a backpack weighted appropriately.
But once people get their backpack, they wonder how to weight it appropriately. How much weight is enough? How much is too much? How do you get your dog used to a packpack and how do you gradually increase weight?
Here are some tips from www.FunStuffForDgos.com.
- Put the backpack on without anything in the pockets at first. Let your dog get used to it. Go for 2-4 walks with the backpack empty.
- If your dog is ignoring the backpack after 2-4 walks (many dogs even become eager to put it on once they connect the backpack to a walk), begin adding weight a little at a time. Go by the size of your dog. For our Irish Setter, I started with a 12-ounce bottle of water on each side. For a Cocker Spaniel, I would start with an orange or something of similar weight.
- Be sure you have even weight on each side of the backpack.
- Go for 2-4 walks with each weight before adding more. Keep the first walk with the new heavier weight short; don’t try to do a two-mile hike if you’ve just added weight.
- Do not add more than 10% of your dog’s own weight to the backpacks. For a 25-lb dog, don’t add more than two and a half pounds total (a pound and a quarter on each side).
- In the summertime, larger dogs can haul chilled bottles of water. This can help cool the dog.
- Owners of small dogs sometimes use beans to add weight to their dogs’ packs. Beans conform to the dog’s body, making the load comfortable. Plus, you have good control over exactly how much weight you add, and can add more in small increments.
- Lisa Woody