Can my dog use a backpack?
Like horses, dogs have been used to carry various things both by pulling and carrying on their backs. This type of backpack is divided (split) into two equal parts, one on each side of the animal. English uses the word “backpack for dogs” and the Germans use “Rucksack für Hunde”. It is only in recent times that we find mentions that dogs carry things on their backs and then it is mostly in connection with equipment for outdoor life.
What parts does a backpack for dogs consist of?
- Chest strap
- Anterior abdominal soil
- Rear abdominal soil
- Side bags
How do you decide how big a backpack your dog should have?
As a general rule, we can say that the hoof should reach down to the dog’s elbows (the upper visible joint of the dog’s forelegs). This is especially important for short dogs so that the hoof does not hit so much in stumps, stones, shrubs and bushes. If the dog’s size is between 2 sizes, the dog owner must consider whether he needs the largest possible package volume. If not, it turns out that most people are most happy with choosing the smallest size. To choose the size, you need the measurement from the dog’s elbow tip, over the back and down to the elbow tip on the other side.
Which dogs can be used to carry backpack?
Actually all. Originally, all dog breeds have a past as “working animals” that have fulfilled a function for a group of people. They are thus strong and enduring enough to both pull and carry sets in relation to their size. It is our duty to maintain their physiological capacity by giving them meaningful tasks. And one of the tasks may be to let them carry.
How old must the dog be when we start with backpack training?
We can divide this question into 2 parts. One is the mental, that the dog should get used to having something on his back over a given time. Anyone who works with the puppy and young dog from the start and accustoms them to collars, harnesses, claw frames, blankets and the like, will have no problem putting a hoof on the dog’s back when it gets old enough for the physical challenge of carrying a hoof with weight in. An empty backpack is not big other than a tire. An empty hoof for a medium dog, weighs just over 1 kg. The second part is the physical, the carrying of a hoof on the back over a certain time and distance – it requires a physical capacity that must be trained over time in small steps. A dog is not ready to carry a hoof with weight just because it has reached a special age. The dog’s activity from the time it is a puppy is a good preparation for what the dog will be trained for when it has matured. When I got my first dog in 1975, a Greenlander, I was repeatedly told that I must not load it with either a hoof or a harness until it was 2 years old. What I was going to do with the dog before that time was out of the question. Today we know better. The preparation to get a good working dog begins already in the puppy stage with versatile activity. The activity must be in proportion to the dog’s physical development. Training with the hoof should be positive and take place in short intervals with low progression. Always use a leash on the dog during training.
Good summer activity for your dog
Hoof training and hoof walks are a welcome activity during the period of restraint. This is a low to medium intensity activity with an emphasis on strength training that both old and young dogs benefit from. The intensity is increased by walking in hilly and rugged terrain.
How do we pack the backpack?
We always pack the equipment in waterproof packing bags of varying sizes. The dog likes to wade in water and likes to lie down to cool off. The heaviest should be packed as far down as possible and as far forward as possible and as far as possible towards the dog. This is so that the hoof must be stable on the dog. Only the correct packing of the hoof can create stability. Avoid sharp edges towards the dog. When you have finished packing the hoof, let the dog move a little and see if the hoof is straight. If it is not in balance, you can put a small stone on the outside to create balance. If there is one kilo in the left and one kilo in the right bag, it is not certain that the hoof is in balance (force x arm)
What do you typically pack in a backpack for your dog:
- Socks for dog
- First aid – elastic bandage
- Some clothes
- Dog food
How much can a dog carry?
Unfortunately, I can not answer this concretely because it has so many elements in it. Some years ago, many would have answered “up to half the dog’s weight”. This would mean that a dog of 30 kg should be able to carry up to 15 kg – and it could probably do 10-12 meters on a flat surface equal to weight pulling where the record is 5.8 tons on rails at the same distance. Many years ago, the Canadian Equestrian Police conducted a study on how much a horse could carry in total on a day march – and that was up to 20% of the horse’s weight. This is also recommended for dogs, but provided that the dog is mentally and physically trained to carry that weight. When planning a trip, we need to think about the following points: How far should we go? (distance, speed, stages) Pauses? (watering, snacking) How is the terrain? (much up and down) How is the surface (rocky, flat) Temperature (heat, cold) Learn to read the dog’s movements and see how it moves in the terrain. On long and demanding walks, keep track of the dog’s heart rate.
- How far should we go? (distance, speed, stages)
- Pauses? (watering, snacking)
- How is the terrain? (much up and down)
- How is the surface (rocky, flat)
- Temperature (heat, cold)
- Learn to read the dog’s movements
- See how it moves in the terrain.
- On long and demanding walks, keep track of the dog’s heart rate.
What is the benefit of letting your dog carry a backpack?
First, a strong back. And since the backpack should mostly load the dog’s front, it is the muscles around the shoulder, upper arm, elbow and wrist that are loaded. It is these muscles that are especially important in all dog walks. To strengthen these, it is important to walk with moderate weight in rough terrain. It especially improves the supporting muscles.
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