Your dogs are your best friends, and rightfully so, you need to train them basic obedience and commands. Raising a dog is nothing less than raising a child, and for your pet to be a good boy or girl, you should invest your time and energy in the early years of your dog’s life in training him or her to become adapted to several commands, tips, and tricks.
It is not something very simple to achieve and takes weeks or so. But in the end, your dogs come out better and stronger, and get to do a lot of interesting things in the few years of their lives. In addition to taking your dogs for walks, some owners around the world get their dogs trained to wear a backpack. It not only gives your dog a job but also helps in calming down some highly driven or nervous dogs during their one or two hours of walking around several routes.
Since most dogs are kept inside the four walls of a house till they grow up, they are likely to get intimidated once exposed to the outer world where they are met with a lot of new people, vehicles and of course, other dogs. The backpacks also serve as an extra weight that helps your dogs in burning those extra calories after a sumptuous meal.
It can also take up the role of serving as a bag to store extra food, waste bags, bowls and other items when you take your dogs for a road trip or hikes. Being multi-purpose in its usage, it is always convenient to have your dog carry a backpack wherever he or she goes.
It poses a significant challenge and reason of interest for your little friend’s daily walks and also helps in keeping your dog healthy, and in shape. However, it takes a great deal of training to make your dogs adjust to carrying the extra weight and is not as easy as strapping a backpack just like that.
Steps to consider while training your dog to wear a backpack
Some dogs easily adjust to the new addition while some show a great deal of resistance. So it is recommended to deal with the different types with a lot of patience. If they have a practice with a harness, it might be an advantage for you, but you should consider the following steps to go ahead with proper training for your little friend,
- Try and put treats in the backpack. Dogs love the treat, and if your straps on a backpack to your dog make sure you let them know it has tasty treats in it, so they get more comfortable carrying it around. You can let your dog sniff and look around the backpack full of treats. Repeat this practice as many times as you need till your dog becomes wary and loses interest in the backpack even though it is loaded with treats.
- Start by placing the backpack on your dog, but do not buckle it. Keep treats in your hand to go with the flow and reward your dog once he or she completes one successful attempt of taking a round with the empty backpack. Treats acts as reinforcements and engage the dog’s interest in carrying new items on their regular schedule. If the backpack goes above your dog’s head, try and holding it with one hand and putting the treats in the other till your dog is comfortable with the addition. If your dog is very frightful of the new practice, take it slowly and feed your dog treats through the backpack’s opening.
- Now try and clicking the back straps together. Now that your dog has enough practice with an empty backpack, you can strap the buckles and leave it that way for about 5 minutes to see how your dog gets adjusted to this. If not, repeat step 2 till your dog gets comfortable. Reward your dog after every step and praise him or her as it makes him or her more eager to listen to you and try new things. Once your dog learns to move around with the buckled straps, it would be easier to introduce new items in his bag and have him go around with that.
- Know how to get a proper fitting for your dog’s backpack. Always choose top backpacks from reputed companies that assist your dog by checking the fitting through his or her chest size. The right backpack gives your dog additional breathing space while allowing him or her to move around with ease. You can also check out some insightful videos online on how to get the proper fit if you have any doubts. Your dog’s backpack should always ride on his shoulders and not entirely on the back. This helps in making your dog carry the bag in a better way, and the backpack also stays in place.
- You can finally add some weight to your dog’s backpack. This depends on a lot of factors, including your dog’s age. More importantly, if your dog is comfortable carrying around the empty backpack, you can now try and experiment with a little weight. You should never put any weight till your puppy is fully grown as the added weight can weaken your puppy’s bones and cause injuries. Gradually increase the weight but do not overburden your dog for the sake of training. Let your dog develop muscles and enough stamina to bear the weight. Small breeds mature faster than larger breeds hence keep all these factors in mind while training your dog to wear a backpack.
Some Do’s to keep in mind when you train your dogs to wear a backpack
It is always advisable to choose good backpacks for your dogs as it not only gives them comfort but also enables them to easily adjust to their new tagalongs with ease, without feeling burdened with the extra weight. While doing so, it is essential to keep in mind some do’s to get ahead with your training procedure,
- The first and foremost reason to buy backpacks is so that it can carry all the items needed by your dog, efficiently and conveniently. A backpack that could be water resistant, allow enough breathing space for the different objects kept inside and is durable would be the ideal choice for your dog. It would also be convenient to carry your dog’s chewable, toys, yummy treats and loads of other stuff.
- The top backpacks for your dog would include sufficient padding so as not to pressurize your dog when he carries it. The extra weight could provide pressure on your dog’s shoulders and chest, so it is always advisable to check those areas once you strap a backpack on your dog.
- It is always recommended to check with your local veterinarian once you decide to add some extra weight to your dog with a backpack. This is advisable for older dogs or those with special conditions to get approval from your veterinarian. For some dogs, 10 to 12% of their body weight acts a good starting point for them to get used to it. Other factors like your dog’s breed, physical fitness and energy levels too play a role in deciding the right weight. Some dogs are capable of carrying heavy weights whereas some are not. Your veterinarian can provide you the right solution to all your queries and can have your dog started off with an empty backpack for practice.
- It is always good to experiment and get creative about the right backpack for your little friends. A lot of people stress about how much weight their dogs can hold, but it is more important to try and get your dog used to weight, little by little to get the accurate threshold. It is not necessary for your dog to be fancy. Instead, you should make your dog used to carrying essential items like water bottles, bowls, poop bags to name a few. If you want to try and make your dog carry your essentials like keys or documents, make sure that the objects are not too pointy or sharp as they might end up hurting your dog instead.
- You should make sure the weight your dog carries is equally distributed on both sides to avoid any discomfort.
- Do give your dog sufficient time to adjust to the new weight. As your dog gets used to the weight, he or she would develop muscles to bear the same. If the weight makes your dog resistant to long hours of walks, you should cut back on the walks and reduce the time frame to provide equal assistance to your dog.
Don’ts to keep in mind while training your dog to wear a backpack
While you keep track of the necessities while training your dog, you also have to make sure to abide by some no-no’s to make your training successful for you, and your dog,
- You should not just rely on your dog’s weight to choose good backpacks for your dogs. Just because our dog is a large breed does not mean he can carry heavy items in his or her backpack. Measure the area around your dog’s chest to get the proper sizing while choosing the correct backpack for your little friend.
- Once you load your dog’s backpack, you should make sure not just to put in everything as it can increase the weight and pressurize your dog instead. Keep a measuring scale by your side to measure the exact weight against your dog’s capacity to carry the backpack with ease.
- It is a common thing to witness if your dog shows any resistance while being trained to carry a backpack. Do not just give up while facing the retaliation. You can start off by giving your dog an empty bag to carry around. Once your dog gets comfortable with the strap-on, you can try and experiment with a little weight for him or her to get used to the new experience. You should not get impatient with your dogs and should give them ample time to get adjusted. It ensures your dog’s safety as well as his or her comfort. You also have to make sure not to mix up resistance with pain. If your dog starts encountering pain or showing any signs of the same during his training with a backpack, you should consult your veterinarian immediately.
Other considerations to keep your little friends safe and secure
Your little friends are mostly attached to you and depend on you for everything, from food to hygiene. So you should give your dogs your all as long as they live and make their lives a memorable one. While getting your dog trained to wear a backpack, never pressurize your dog or punish him or her. It takes time to adapt to a new routine so give your dog ample space. Also, never corner your dog just because he or she takes time to learn.
While training your dog, if he or she shows resistance, let him or her feel it is okay to back away. Beware of sharp objects to avoid any injuries or trauma to your dog. Backpacking is a fun experience, and it is your responsibility to provide the comfort and leisure to your dog in carrying one when you train to wear a backpack.
Be it for long walks, road trips, a walk by the beach, hiking or trekking, a backpack acts a fun addition and also provides an enticing experience for your little friend if he or she can manage the weight. In addition to this, you can further train your dogs into learning newer things and have a good time with your dogs. Give your dogs all the love and support they need in their years of growth and nurture them in the right way, by all means.