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Hey everyone! So West is a little over a year now, and ive been thinking about getting him a backpack for when go on walks or hikes. I wanted to get your thoughts on this; is I a good or bad idea? And if yall have one, which one do you have? Thanks!
 

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i wouldn't put a backpack on my dog untill
he was 2 yrs old or so. my dog weighs
90 lbs but i won't put more than 5 or 6 pounds
in his pack. my dog has an Ollydog pack but i'm
going to buy him an Approach pack. i carry a pack,
my GF carries a pack so the dog doesn't have to
carry much (the pack is for show). find out how much
weight a dog can carry safely. i would use the charts
as a guide line but my dog will carry less weight than
what's recommended.
 

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I agree, I would wait until he's a little older. After that it's fine but be sure to get him used to the empty pack first, and then slowly build up to a little weight. The guidelines I've heard vary but the most common one I hear is you can go up to 10-15% of the dog's weight. Personally my dogs never carry more than about 2-5 pounds.
 

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I use them every day on my 2 dogs, carrying 10 (85 lb dog) and 12 (65 lb dog) pounds. We are not running with them, just walking. I use 1 granite gear pack and one ollydog pack, both work fine and are easy to put on. Once the front strap is adjusted for the dog, all that needs to be done is slide the backpack over the dog's head and secure the underbelly strap. Got both packs at REI.

I would not hesitate to use one on a 1 year old dog, a 20oz water bottle on each side and maybe some chips for hiking, that would be fine. That is under 3 lbs. If you are stressed about too much weight, just have him carry chips, cookies and doggie bags and you can carry the water. :) But really that little weight is nothing to worry about.
 

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Cody has backpacked for 10 miles a day with about 10 to 15 pounds in his pack. He has a Ruffwear Palisades pack. I loved this pack because it has it's own hydration pouches. We were doing a 3 day 3 night hike, with somewhat limited water sources, so I had to carry (and Cody) had to carry a lot of water weight.

He was only 17 months old at this time. I took him on 1 walk for a couple miles with some tshirts in the pack to get him used to it. from there is was right into the 10-15 pounds. honestly it didn't even phase him. he was sprinting with it on. going from the front of our group to the back constantly. just running circles around us. off course we all had 40 pound packs.

anyway, Cody could handle 10 - 15 pounds with ease for 3 days straight at 10 miles a day with lots of elevation change. BUT, i did jog with him a lot before we went so he was well conditioned... here are a couple pics :)
 

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Stark started wearing an EMPTY backpack at around 10-11 months old.

At about 18 months, I started putting a small amount of weight in it - keys, poop bags, phone.

Now at almost 3 years old, he's an old pro.. lol. He has two different bags for different things, he has a larger bag for day trips or long hiking trips where I need him to carry more and then he has the slimmer one for fun outtings or hikes.

Zefra is a little crazy still and I don't think a backpack would hold up.. LMAO... so we will wait awhile for that one. :)
 

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i agree your dog is a little young to have a loaded backpack.

but if you get one, it'll get him used to wearing one, and when he's old enough, you can start putting weights in it (water, sand etc..)
 

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Hi.....

I have an 80# 3 year old GSD. He is my first GSD and I've been told that he may continue to grow for another 2 years. Ruff Gear's chart indicates that he can wear either a medium or large size.- Palisades. His girth measurement is 32".

What size is on Cody????

I don't plan any long range or overnight hiking, so I don't need a ton of room. He will carry a few of his basic things and perhaps some of my light items, wallet, keys, water meds, lunch, handgun, etc.

I live about 4 hours from the nearest store that sells Ruff Gear, so I can't just go in and try them on my boy. I ordered the medium over the net and I have been told that I can exchange it for the large if I wanted to. The medium seems to fit okay, but now I am thinking I'd rather a large.... but I have no idea how a large will fit and look.

Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time.

Dan
 

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who told you a 3 year old dog is going to continue growing?

if your dog is in fact 3 years old, he's at his max size.

he can grow out, but that's up to you to make sure you don't over feed him.
if you can feel his ribs, he's at a good weight.

dogs not used to a backpack will try and get it off. so just leave it empty until he/she gets used to it.
 

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Hahahhaa, Sheldon has been carrying an empty backpack since he was 4 months old =3 He mostly gets to carry his poop bags and poop, but we plan on doing some backpacking trips and hiking trips, so we're getting him used to it young =3
 

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Hi.....

I have an 80# 3 year old GSD. He is my first GSD and I've been told that he may continue to grow for another 2 years. Ruff Gear's chart indicates that he can wear either a medium or large size.- Palisades. His girth measurement is 32".

What size is on Cody????
Medium should be fine. Keefer is 80 pounds with a girth of 33", so he could have worn either size, just like Cody. The medium goes up to a girth of 36". At Cody's age he's not going to continue growing, and even if he did, his girth is not going to grow another 4"! With a large you're going to have a lot of excess strap that you'll never use, and more capacity in the packs, which are bigger on the large than on the medium. If you're planning on doing overnight backpacking trips the extra carrying capacity might be needed, but not for day hikes. I'd stick with the medium.

To the OP, at a year old I agree with getting him used to an empty pack before adding any weight to it. The only reason I might wait a few months to buy one is if you're not sure what size he'll need as an adult - you don't want to buy one now and then have to buy another when he's older and larger! Halo started wearing hers at 16 months old and I had her wear it empty for a month or two before putting stuff in it. But I could already tell that she wasn't going to be anywhere near as big as Keefer, so I got her the small. She's 3 years old now, and it still fits her perfectly, she's 60 pounds and when I measured her to buy the pack her girth was either 26" or 28", I can't remember. Halo has the Ruffwear Approach:



Keefer has the Palisades:

 

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are halo and keefers packs loaded in those pics Debbie? you seem to have them riding closer to their necks that I had on Cody. his seemed to fit a bit further down his back.

i remember i would re-balance each side after he ate or drank so it wouldn't start to slant one way or the other...
 

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Hi.....


I don't plan any long range or overnight hiking, so I don't need a ton of room. He will carry a few of his basic things and perhaps some of my light items, wallet, keys, water meds, lunch, handgun, etc.
Dan
Don't forget you Carry Concealed permit for BOTH of you if your dog is packing. ;)

Just being flippant...but seriously, what if the dog runs off right when you need the weapon? ;)
 

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are halo and keefers packs loaded in those pics Debbie? you seem to have them riding closer to their necks that I had on Cody. his seemed to fit a bit further down his back.

i remember i would re-balance each side after he ate or drank so it wouldn't start to slant one way or the other...
No, they're not loaded - I took those pictures right after I got the packs, they were just modeling them in the backyard!

It's safest to keep the load as far forward as possible, so the weight rests on their shoulders rather than their backs. When I put the pack on pull it forward and adjust the Y straps tightly before hooking the girth straps, but I'm sure there is some shifting of position going on during use.
 

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Hi.....

I have an 80# 3 year old GSD. He is my first GSD and I've been told that he may continue to grow for another 2 years. Ruff Gear's chart indicates that he can wear either a medium or large size.- Palisades. His girth measurement is 32".
I would definitely get the medium. At 3 years your dog is done growing, unless he gets fat in which case he shouldn't be carrying extra weight anyway.


Here is Bianca in her Palisades (also a medium):



IIRC Bianca's girth is 32"?



Awww Keefer and Bianca match! :D

Keefer has the Palisades:

 

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It's safest to keep the load as far forward as possible, so the weight rests on their shoulders rather than their backs. When I put the pack on pull it forward and adjust the Y straps tightly before hooking the girth straps, but I'm sure there is some shifting of position going on during use.
^ THIS.

Any load a dog carries, especially for a long distance or a load that is heavy, should be supported by the front legs and, therefore, sit as far forward over the shoulder as possible. Remember that dogs have very flexible spines, and it's difficult and uncomfortable for them to support weight further down the spine.
 

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I don't know how to respond to each of you without cluttering up this thread.

I want each of you to know that I greatly appreciate your input/advice.

I LOVED the pic's, they were very helpful!!!

I have gone with the medium Palisades Pack.

Falco watched me open the box. He seemed very curious. I put it on him and after adjusting it, he immediately acted like he loved it. Strange, he gave me the impression that he considered it a gift from dad.

I left it on him for about an hour. I had filled it with socks--clean socks, but he might have liked it better had they been dirty. ;>)

After taking it off, he came to it a couple of times and bumped it with his nose. I put it back on and left it on for several hours. I think he knows it's his. Maybe he knows he looks good in red. ;>)

My first impression is that this thing seems well built and reasonably rugged. I like the design, but I would rather it had higher quality buckles or at least an easy way to replace them when they break... but that's just me.

Bottom line.... I believe that my boy and I are going to love this pack. I also bought him a couple of flashing lights and a collapsible bowl.

For us, it's a day trip thing. This should work out very well for our purposes.

Cheers,

Dan & Falco......
 
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