When I see Bain sleeping on the couch during the day, I jokingly say to him “Get a job!” So, he did. He didn’t need a résumé either, being CEO of Sleep, Eat and Licking Butts Corporation was enough for me to hear apparently.
Giving your dog a job, whether they are a working breed or not, has many benefits. What I love about the use of a backpack is that it stimulates your dog both physically and mentally. We have been using a backpack for well over a year, and the results have been amazing. The backpack is also a great tool for high energy and anxious dogs, as it gets them to focus on the task at hand.
Bain loves, and tries, to see every dog on the trail, he would get so excited that he would sometimes lunge. A 100lb dog lunging towards you? Yeah, we had to correct that. Thanks to the use of a backpack and consistent training, Bain has been doing extremely well. He has become more stable on walks with his backpack as he seems to be more in the zone, it also allows me to focus more on his manners and training rather than thinking “Oh no, here comes another dog” and preparing myself for the circus that was a year ago now.
Below is a list of the benefits and tips when using a backpack. If you’re looking for your pup to burn a little extra energy on walks, I highly recommend the purchase of one.
It Gives Them a Job (don’t worry, your pup won’t need to write up a résumé!)
Dogs thrive when given a job to do, so if your dog is into nose work, is a therapy dog, or they are simply carrying your keys you should expect to have a very content pooch in your home who is both physically and mentally stimulated.
More Exercise in Less Time
We normally get in our average amount of walking time, but if it turns out to be a hectic day, what would be an hour worth of walking with no backpack is equal to a 30 minute walk with a backpack.
We’ve had a lot of success with the backpack in the last year, Bain does not seem to care much anymore for one of his favorite things – birds. Off leash is a completely different story, but he passes the crows, geese and seagulls with no issues. When his backpack is on, he is on a mission.
Less Pulling, More Training
We were experiencing major pulling issues last year before getting a pack, to the point where my hand would swell up so much I couldn’t fit any rings on it before leaving for work. He has a calmer mindset with his backpack on, and as mentioned above, less pulling allows me to focus on his training more. We work on his heeling, and for certain situations, focusing his attention on us.
Final weight should be no more than 20% of your dog’s body weight.
Do Not Over Do It
Make sure to start off slow and light. We started with no weights, other than keys and poop bags. Then moved up to one water bottle on each side as the months went along. Starting slow does not mean after one month you are already adding the maximum weight, especially if you have a larger breed that grows quickly, you want to be gentle on their joints.
Selecting a Proper Pack
Spending a little extra money will go along way when purchasing a pack for your pup. You want to make sure weight is distributed evenly and is not putting strain on your dog’s spine. Generic backpacks purchased for around $20-$30 normally end up breaking and tearing.
Our only issue experienced is that Bain has become very conditioned to carrying the same amount of weight in his pack, which is great as he a lot more fit, but I will be mixing it up with separate biking and backpack walks.
There are not a lot of safe off leash places located near us, unless we go for a bit of a drive. The backpack has helped Bain burn more energy for most of the times I am not able to let him off leash.
Do you use a backpack for your dog?
Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, questions and concerns should be directed to your vet.