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Discussion Starter #1
At what age is it appropriate to start using a dog backpack on a puppy? I have a 6 mo female, and I'm hoping the added weight might help her work off some of that extra energy on our walks as well as to give her a 'job'. My puppy is pulling excessively (to the point that her gentle leader has cut into her face several times and I've had to stop using it). She also lunges as cars/bikers/joggers, and I'm wondering if the extra weight and 'job' aspect will help distract her from those temptations.

Is there a chart as to how much weight is appropriate to place in a backpack per the age/weight of the dog? I wouldn't want to overload her.

Are there any concerns that having a dog carry a backpack places additional stress on a GSD's joints? I mean, isn't the main reason for keeping a GSD slim to keep from adding the extra weight which adds stress on the joints?
 

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I wouldn't use one, personally. I don't see the point of adding extra weight to a dog...they're not horses after all ;)

As for the pulling you're talking about, have you done any training with her? Classes?
 

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Are there any concerns that having a dog carry a backpack places additional stress on a GSD's joints? I mean, isn't the main reason for keeping a GSD slim to keep from adding the extra weight which adds stress on the joints?
Yes, there are concerns with additional stress on a GSD's joints from a backpack.

I wouldn't put one on her until at least 18 months. You can could start her out carrying an empty one before that but wouldn't add any significant weight. When you do begin to add weight, do it slowly to condition her to be used to carrying it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I wouldn't use one, personally. I don't see the point of adding extra weight to a dog...they're not horses after all ;)

As for the pulling you're talking about, have you done any training with her? Classes?
Yes, doing classes,.. have been for 3 months now. Walking not improving, though everything else is in terms of commands/training.
 

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I am a big proponent for using backpacks to help a dog work off some extra energy, build muscle and endurance, and also for a fun activity to do with your dog.

That said, your puppy is just plain too young to carry weight. You can have her carry an empty backpack so she can get used to the sensation of carrying a pack, and it may even help her focus better on her walk. But she should not carry any weight until she is done growing. A year, or even better, a year and a half, would be a good time to start gradually adding a little bit of weight and building toward heavier loads, but six months old is much, much, much too young. It's just not healthy.

It sounds to me like she could benefit from more off-leash exercise where she can set the place, such as playing fets or playing with other dogs, if you have other dogs or have friends whose dogs are friendly and well-socialized. Just to burn off some of the extra energy.

You may also address with your trainer what options you have in terms of training and terms of training devices to help you teach your puppy to walk nicely on lead, or at least not drag you down the road on your walks.
 

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my 7 month old pup is currently just getting used to carrying an empty pack. i've no intention of putting any weight in the pack until she's at least a year and no intentions of actually loading the pack until she's around 15-18 months old. If the gentle leader isnt working and you're having trouble training her to walk nicely on the leash, they make a harness that goes around the front legs with a strap over their back. I would suggest getting one of those as IMO they seem to work a great deal better to keep the dog from lunging and pulling because it basically lifts their front legs up and squeezes them together making pulling difficult.

Heres a couple ideas for you....

Sporn Non-Pulling Mesh Control Harness - Dog - Free Ship - PetSmart

This is the one i was talking about
Premier Easy Walk Dog Harness - Sales - Web Exclusive - PetSmart
 

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Puppies should not carry extra weight, for the same reason they tell you to keep a puppy slim and not overweight.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
they make a harness that goes around the front legs with a strap over their back. I would suggest getting one of those as IMO they seem to work a great deal better to keep the dog from lunging and pulling because it basically lifts their front legs up and squeezes them together making pulling difficult.

Heres a couple ideas for you....

Sporn Non-Pulling Mesh Control Harness - Dog - Free Ship - PetSmart

This is the one i was talking about
Premier Easy Walk Dog Harness - Sales - Web Exclusive - PetSmart
I had the Premier Easy Walk Dog harness and it never stayed against her chest, but seemed to interfere with her front legs, as if the harness was too big (yet the smaller size was too small). it's possible it was not fitted properly by the store person who helped me (I'm not great at figure out all those straps). I might give it another try. An empty backpack sounds like a nice idea (and I'd have a place to put the poop bag so I can better coordinate holding her lease when she lunges.
 

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Yes, doing classes,.. have been for 3 months now. Walking not improving, though everything else is in terms of commands/training.
What methods have you tried so far? Did you look at the links I provided in your other thread on how to teach polite leash skills?

This is a 6 month old puppy and so far you've asked about using an e-collar, a prong collar, and a backpack to get her to stop pulling. But what are you doing to show her how you'd like her to behave on leash?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What methods have you tried so far? Did you look at the links I provided in your other thread on how to teach polite leash skills?

This is a 6 month old puppy and so far you've asked about using an e-collar, a prong collar, and a backpack to get her to stop pulling. But what are you doing to show her how you'd like her to behave on leash?
Yes, I read the links. I'm working on the silky leash method, which I tried in the past without much luck. I'm hoping it's just a matter of time and persistence, so I'm giving it another go. I've gone to a flat collar, since the gentle leader did nothing. She can read my leash signals fine, when she wants to or when she's not distracted (or maybe both).

I'm not looking for a quick fix, but it's very hard walking her and it's getting to the point where I don't want to walk her, which is NOT the way to go. I'm persisting, but I'm also reading, reading, and reading, searching for additional techniques that I can incorporate while working on the walk, things that will help over all.

I'm spending more time training as well, and firming up the commands we've learned so far. But with her lunging and her strength, it's exhausting just keeping her from running into a car, or pulling me down. It took me half an hour to make it to the curb (40 feet from my door) just by waiting for her to ease up on the lease so we could advance another 1-2 steps. Walking is her main form of exercise, unless I go to the dog parks, which I believe have been causing some problems when small dogs are present. Our dog park doesn't have separate areas for small vs larger dogs. I don't have a fenced-in property.

She heals quite well, but only indoors. She's too distracted and eager to explore outside (which is probably the main part of why we don't have a nice walk yet). I have noticed that she doesn't pay enough attention to me on the walks, I have trouble getting her to look at me, focus on me, which goes back to her being so distracted by her surroundings. She is VERY motivated by food, except when her focus is so intense on the cars or small prey... then nothing seems to break her focus. She does sometime walk nicely on our way back to our house... she knows we're headed home so she's no longer so nose-buried into her surroundings.

So, I don't want anyone here to think I'm ignoring their links/advice when I post multiple questions, but my issues (and yes, I know it's my issues, not my GSD's) are all related and it's quite possible that a multi-part problem also has a multi-part solution. So, again, I read, and try to consider options. I don't dive in without asking questions.
 

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So, I don't want anyone here to think I'm ignoring their links/advice when I post multiple questions, but my issues (and yes, I know it's my issues, not my GSD's) are all related and it's quite possible that a multi-part problem also has a multi-part solution. So, again, I read, and try to consider options. I don't dive in without asking questions.
THANK you! This is what I was looking for, some description of how you've gone about teaching her so far, and what's helped and what hasn't. That makes it so much easier for us to try and help you. I do have some suggestions to address the specifics in your post, but I only have a second right now, I just wanted to acknowledge your post. Truly, I wasn't trying to beat you up, it's just that all the training tools in the world aren't going to help if you're not using them correctly or giving one a real chance before dropping it and moving onto the next one. With anything, the more information you provide, the better answers you'll get. :)
 

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I use the Easy Walk harness with Brody and he does pretty good with it, he still pulls a tad, but he's getting better as he gets older. Good luck!
 
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