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Discussion Starter #1
So i pulled out the doggie backpack we have and didnt know one of the clips had gotten broken. Well hubby fixed it and i put it on Shasta....

She wasn't so sure about it but the treats got pulled out and now she's thrilled! i'll try and get pictures next time for you but the link below is the pack i want to get. I intend on starting day hikes next year when we're in maryland. I just want to get Shasta used to wearing the pack and getting used to carrying some things in it. We're going to gradually work up to a full pack and longer walks. The site i'm going to order this pack from is a new addiction. lol. I love looking at everything and figuring out what else i want to get. I know even on a day hike, we'll both be carrying a pack with emergency supplies in them just in case. Anyone have any other advice other than to be prepared in case we get lost and have to spend the night? I dont intend on getting lost but just in case ya know? I like to wonder off the beaten path sometimes because thats usually when you see the prettiest parts of nature.

But anyway, here's the pack. if anyone has any other pack recommendations that wont cost more than $40, i'd be happy to check those out as well.

Dog Saddle Bag
 

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Eh, I don't have any recommendations that cheap, but this is the pack I'm getting Frag for christmas; Ruff Wear Approach

I can't wait to see pictures of Shasta out hiking in her pack though, it's really cool!

As for extra stuff just in case- water obviously, high protein dog food if you're going to be out a while (or some sort of doggie energy bars), similar energy bars for you, extra socks, maybe some dog booties depending on the elements, a couple space blankets, lighters, matches, and a doggie first aid kit. :D Of course, a GPS could easily bypass most of this to ensure you don't get lost. Unless it's batteries die. Then you are SOL.
 

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Eh, I don't have any recommendations that cheap, but this is the pack I'm getting Frag for christmas; Ruff Wear Approach

I can't wait to see pictures of Shasta out hiking in her pack though, it's really cool!

As for extra stuff just in case- water obviously, high protein dog food if you're going to be out a while (or some sort of doggie energy bars), similar energy bars for you, extra socks, maybe some dog booties depending on the elements, a couple space blankets, lighters, matches, and a doggie first aid kit. :D Of course, a GPS could easily bypass most of this to ensure you don't get lost. Unless it's batteries die. Then you are SOL.
Have done the backpack, never the booties. :rolleyes: Will they actually keep them on?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Eh, I don't have any recommendations that cheap, but this is the pack I'm getting Frag for christmas; Ruff Wear Approach

I can't wait to see pictures of Shasta out hiking in her pack though, it's really cool!

As for extra stuff just in case- water obviously, high protein dog food if you're going to be out a while (or some sort of doggie energy bars), similar energy bars for you, extra socks, maybe some dog booties depending on the elements, a couple space blankets, lighters, matches, and a doggie first aid kit. :D Of course, a GPS could easily bypass most of this to ensure you don't get lost. Unless it's batteries die. Then you are SOL.

i actually saw that pack when i was searching yesterday. thats a pretty nice pack!

so basically everything i already keep in the car just in case with the exception of the dog booties. a GPS is currently out of my price range though, at least for hiking. i just went through my car kit yesterday and had to get rid of a couple expired items but they'll get replaced this week. I'm pretty worried about getting caught in bad weather or something unprepared so i tend to stock up on stuff like that. I'm buying a smaller hikers pack and loading that with supplies to last a couple days if necessary just in case. Better safe than sorry right?!

My hubby doesnt think i could survive in "the wild" on my own for even a night but i think he'd be surprised. lol. I'm pretty darn resourceful.
 

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KZoppa - I had a pack very similar to the one you linked when I first started training Abby to carry a pack. Mostly because I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a pack only to find out that I probably needed nothing that big or that I wasn't going to use it. The one I had was made by Uhlr Gear and I got it off eBay for less than $10.

If you are planning to do extended day hikes and will have your dog carrying water in each side, as well as other preparedness equipment, I really recommend buying a quality pack, especially if you will be using it frequently. It's nice to start pack training with a cheap pack, but once you start doing more weight or carrying more gear for longer periods of time, the quality and fit of the pack make a difference. (For people, too. There are loads of cheap packs on the market but you want something that is well made and well-fitted if you will be using it a lot.)

The cheapest of the good quality dog packs is the Kelty K-9 Chuckwagon. I had one of those for some time and was very, very happy with both the quality and the fit. I eventually sent it to a friend to use with her dog after I got the Ruffwear Approach at a very good price on sale. (The Approach is a little bigger than the Kelty, but you will find that the Kelty is plenty big for most day and weekend hikes.)

The Kelty usually runs between $45 and $50, so it's not really much above your price range limit. It being so close to the holidays, you may be able to get it even cheaper if there's a holiday sale on. You could probably get it very cheap on eBay if you looked.

If a full-function GPS is not something you want or something that may be out of your price range, you may want to consider one of the "Back Track" GPS devices they sell. Bushnell makes one for around $40 and clothing sales also carries them (but a more expensive type, I think). With one of those, you basically make the location of your car or camp site, and if you get lost, it will guide you back to those coordinates. :)

Alternatively, a map and compass go a long way, if you can use them correctly.

As far as dog boots go, I have the RuffWear Grip Trex with the rubber soles and those are nice to have on difficult trails. I've made Abby wear them when we went to Colonial Williamsburg, too, because they use crushed oyster shells for a lot of their side road surfaces, and those tend to have pretty sharp edges. It's also nice to have dog boots on hand if your dog hurts a paw on the trail, so you can bandage it up, protect it with the boot, and make it back to your vehicle without doing further damage to the paw.

Teaching a dog to use booties is not terribly difficult and the RuffWear ones do stay on well, though some of the other brands don't. It's important to get the right fit and check tightness and fit every so often with any of the booties. Once the dog gets over the initial "walking like a parade horse" acclimatization to the booties, they are not usually bothered by them at all.

As far as emergency supplies ... depends on where you're going and how long you're going to be gone. Definitely have fresh drinking water and something to eat. A first aid kit is a must for any hike, whether you're going to get lost or not. Fresh socks, too. And a way of staying warm if you need to shelter out in the woods for a night.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Abby thanks for your response! i have been checking ebay and amazon and a couple other sites for a ruffwear pack but since the more serious hikes wont start until next year, i'm not too concerned about it right now and next year it should be easier to branch out price wise for something better. With Shasta being only 7 months old right now, i dont want to stress her too much. I just want to get us both used to longer walks and gradually add the weight in. I have a bad knee that i have to strengthen before i can do the kind of hikes i want to do. I will definitely check into the booties though. and the backtrack GPS. That sounds pretty nifty. Thanks again!

PS. i actually have the ruffwear site saved in my favorites!
 

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AbbyK9, just wanted to say I'm enjoying your dog blog and photos. Keep up the great work!
 

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Don't worry, a GPS is out of my price range too. I'd get lost and stay lost if I went hiking. :p

Booties are a great idea if you're hiking it rough areas or cold temperatures (or both). Clicker training dogs to accept them usually isn't hard a decent pair fitted correctly will stay on and help. Most dogs ignore them once they get going and have something to do, anyway. Even if they detested them before. They may walk with a swagger for a half mile, but they'll get over it. ;)

Ebay and amazon are both great places to find deals. I will probably end up purchasing the ruff wear pack from ebay instead of a real store to save some money.

Definitely good idea starting out small. Get her used to the pack, then some poop bags (with poop!) in them, then a small water bottle, then a bigger, etc. etc. Just make sure you're keeping even weight in both sides.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Don't worry, a GPS is out of my price range too. I'd get lost and stay lost if I went hiking. :p

Booties are a great idea if you're hiking it rough areas or cold temperatures (or both). Clicker training dogs to accept them usually isn't hard a decent pair fitted correctly will stay on and help. Most dogs ignore them once they get going and have something to do, anyway. Even if they detested them before. They may walk with a swagger for a half mile, but they'll get over it. ;)

Ebay and amazon are both great places to find deals. I will probably end up purchasing the ruff wear pack from ebay instead of a real store to save some money.

Definitely good idea starting out small. Get her used to the pack, then some poop bags (with poop!) in them, then a small water bottle, then a bigger, etc. etc. Just make sure you're keeping even weight in both sides.

oh yeah definitely! dont need both of us walking like drunks lol. plus seeing her pack being uneven would bug me! Planning to do a walk around the bigger block later this evening with her wearing the pack empty just to see how she does. I think she'll be fine once we get walking. Would be nice to have her carry the redbox DVDs instead of me fumbling with them on the walk back! lol. have a long way to go but we'll get there.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
i should also add i dont want to get a more expensive pack just yet because i want to have a better idea of how big she'll be when she's closer to done growing. The older pack i have now is for shorter hikes or like some dogs wear in parades and its adjustable from 30lbs to just about 90lbs. I think around May when she turns a year old, we'll have a rough estimate on her final weight and size. She's going through that goofy waddle stage right now so she looks like she's been drinking her walk is so loose.
 

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AbbyK9, just wanted to say I'm enjoying your dog blog and photos. Keep up the great work!
Thank you! :) I haven't blogged in a while, I should get back to it. Just been too busy with other stuff. I do update the Facebook page pretty frequently, though. (With some help.)

I think around May when she turns a year old, we'll have a rough estimate on her final weight and size.
Don't forget that she will also fill in between 1.5 and 3 years of age, so she may actually get bigger than you expect when seeing her at 1 year.
 

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Unless you're going to be doing a LOT of hiking there's no real reason to get a more expensive pack just yet if she's still growing. A growing dog should not be carrying any real weight in the pack anyway so there should not be a lot of problems with it becoming unbalanced. The problem comes when you start adding weight, the cheaper packs tend to be really hard to balance properly. Even some of the better quality packs can have trouble with that. I've tried several types are personally I like Ruff Wear the best. Kelty is good too.
I am working towards a hiking title for Bianca so she has to carry certain items in her pack: first aid kit, water, bowl, spare collar and leash, matches, knife, at least three baggies (for clean-up), compass, flashlight, owner's I.D. , a signal device (mirror, whistle or cell phone) and map of the area (if needed).
She also usually carries some treats too.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Don't forget that she will also fill in between 1.5 and 3 years of age, so she may actually get bigger than you expect when seeing her at 1 year.

and i have definitely taken that into account. both her mom and dad were pretty wide in the ribcage area, her dad especially. he was a BIG boy. Though i dont expect her to weigh more than 80lbs max when she's done filling out. So i know i'm looking at a large-Xlarge size pack in the future. The pack we have now adjusts from a medium sized dog of 30-40lbs to a pack that should easily fit a 90lb dog. Though the medium sized dog its a little loose. Pretty much she would be carrying a small supply of food, some water for her and a couple emergency supplies like a small first aid kit, an extra compass, and one or two of those reflective emergency blankets. beyond that i would be carrying everything else. We have a long way to go. Right now i'm just looking forward to being able to go camping (even just at a camp ground) with my kids next year. The dogs carrying their own stuff is a perk. Man i need a bigger car!
 

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Unless you're going to be doing a LOT of hiking there's no real reason to get a more expensive pack just yet if she's still growing. A growing dog should not be carrying any real weight in the pack anyway so there should not be a lot of problems with it becoming unbalanced. The problem comes when you start adding weight, the cheaper packs tend to be really hard to balance properly. Even some of the better quality packs can have trouble with that. I've tried several types are personally I like Ruff Wear the best. Kelty is good too.
I am working towards a hiking title for Bianca so she has to carry certain items in her pack: first aid kit, water, bowl, spare collar and leash, matches, knife, at least three baggies (for clean-up), compass, flashlight, owner's I.D. , a signal device (mirror, whistle or cell phone) and map of the area (if needed).
She also usually carries some treats too.

that about coveres what she'd be expected to carry. Both my pack and hers would have basic first aid and such. I would have all the other major stuff. How do you go about earning a hiking title?
 

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I would suggest the REI line of dog packs if you want something well made that isn't going to break the budget. They go on sale a lot too. I believe I picked up the one we have for $34 or something like that on sale.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks GSDElsa! i'll check that out as well!
 

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How do you go about earning a hiking title?
I'm sure Chicagocanine will chime in, as the question was directed at her, but I believe her hiking title would be through Dog Scouts of America. You can also earn Pack Dog titles (Working Pack Dog and Working Pack Dog Excellent) through the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America, even if your dog is a breed other than Swissy.

The GSMDCA has a great PDF on dog packing, too, located at - http://gsmdca.homestead.com/Activities/PackDogInfo.pdf

I have always wanted to get the Working Pack Dog title with Abby and Ronja, but never lived anywhere near an organized GSMDCA hike to participate in.
 

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I'm sure Chicagocanine will chime in, as the question was directed at her, but I believe her hiking title would be through Dog Scouts of America. You can also earn Pack Dog titles (Working Pack Dog and Working Pack Dog Excellent) through the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America, even if your dog is a breed other than Swissy.

The GSMDCA has a great PDF on dog packing, too, located at - http://gsmdca.homestead.com/Activities/PackDogInfo.pdf

I have always wanted to get the Working Pack Dog title with Abby and Ronja, but never lived anywhere near an organized GSMDCA hike to participate in.

thanks! i actually JUST discovered the swissy site. This title is something i would be seriously interested in achieving. Its sound fun and interesting for myself and my dogs. I didnt even know you could achieve titles in hiking. thats pretty cool!
 

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Yep the one I'm working on with Bianca is through Dog Scouts of America. It's nice because you can work on it on your own. It's a lot more basic than the GSMDCA one, you don't have to be hiking on forest trails and the minimum distance for each hike is 1 mile.

Here's a link to the page about it:
Dog Activ- Backpacking
 

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Yep the one I'm working on with Bianca is through Dog Scouts of America. It's nice because you can work on it on your own. It's a lot more basic than the GSMDCA one, you don't have to be hiking on forest trails and the minimum distance for each hike is 1 mile.

Here's a link to the page about it:
Dog Activ- Backpacking

this is something i'm interested in doing. i was looking at the site and locations, but i didnt see any groups in NC or MD which kinda complicates things but i still want to do it. it sounds like something Shasta and i can handle, especially since she doesnt have it in her to be a Schulzhund dog lol.
 
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