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Can anyone direct me to a site where I can buy saddle bags for Solomon so I can teach him how to bring groceries from the car to the house, He wants a job so bad and I can go bike riding together with him on my side (he can carry his own and my water). I have an idea how to teach him this task but any advice would be deeply appreciated. He is obedience trained off and on leash, however he's rarely on leash. When we go for a walk he naturally sits by my left side without saying "heel" (oh well here I go again yada yada yada) when we walk through the neighborhood no matter if dogs are barking, cats or squirrels running in front of him he will not leave my side and when we get to the park I say "OK" which is his release command then he goes about his business, When his about to do something that I disapprove of I say "Solomon no" off he goes without a moments doubt. Everyday during our walk (1 to 2 miles) we exercise all of his commands such as come,stay,heel,down. I have actually turned my back and walked about 50 meters from him and he sits there and waits until I say "Solomon come". Then and only then he jets right to me and sits. I am very proud of him and I wish I was a dog trainer so I can teach him more, he is so eager to learn and teaching him is so easy. I read a book dog training for dummies, I applied it and now I have a wonderful companion. The only regrets I have is knowing one day he will leave this earth as we all will but it hurts just knowing that
Well on a brighter note I will be taking him for his good citizenship award I believe it's called In September any advice on that I will deeply appreciate it also. Ok thanks for reading my boring post on my friend whom I love so much "Solomon"
 

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I have a Ruffwear Webmaster harness for Kenya and I love the way it fits her, so I got her this new backpack. It's also Ruffwear and is based on the Webmaster harness but has saddle bags. It was $63 and free shipping.



Kenya in the Webmaster harness
 

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The Ruffwear pack Liesje recommends is an excellent quality pack and I second that recommendation.

I have an article about choosing and fitting dog packs, as well as on training dogs to carry packs on my blog, which you can find here - http://abbyk9.blogspot.com/2008/04/dog-packs-101.html It also has links to quality dog packs at the end.

In my opinion, most of the packs sold at pet stores are low-quality packs that don't fit well and are not designed to carry any kind of serious weight (such as groceries) repeatedly. They're just too flimsy and too badly designed compared to the quality packs sold through specific dog retailers or at hiking / outdoor stores. (Yes, many hiking / outdoor stores carry dog gear.)
 

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Thanks guys for your valuable input and it would seem the ruffwear is a much sturdier pack for serious hikers but for now I will try the backpack from petguys. It seems to have a better pouch for groceries, when I get into more serious hiking I will consider the ruffwear. I have read your article on choosing backpacks and it was extremely interesting and enlightening, I will read some more interesting topics that will further my knowledge on different type of equipment and there usefulness, again, thank you
 

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Originally Posted By: LiesjeI have a Ruffwear Webmaster harness for Kenya and I love the way it fits her, so I got her this new backpack. It's also Ruffwear and is based on the Webmaster harness but has saddle bags. It was $63 and free shipping.

Kenya in the Webmaster harness
Can I ask what size you got? The Ruffwear website says to order by girth, but my dog is between sizes Small and Medium. I don't need the extra room in the Medium size panniers, but I'm afraid if I order a Small, because I'm afraid the harness will be too short length-wise.

Since the harness has a handle for lifting your dog over obstacles, I don't want the stomach straps to sit in the wrong spots and hurt her. Kenya's looks like it fits perfectly.
 

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I got Mediums in both. There's room to go both ways on both belly straps, the front/chest straps are all the way tightened on both. She is 60lbs, 21/22". I know someone with a large (but fit) lab/dane mix who got a size Large so I figured that would be way too big. She might even fit into a Small.

We've used the Approach pack a few times now and I REALLY like it. Like Chris said, the store-bought pack I was using before doesn't hold a candle. In fact, we just went to DH's softball game tonight and I had her wearing the pack to carry our wallets, camera, phone, and keys. I'm trying to break it in a little more, but so far so good. The only downfall with packs is that some people assume she is a service dog. When asked I always say no and explain that she is a therapy dog, so they are allowed and encouraged to pet her, but not service dogs (and thank them for asking). I don't have any real plans for the pack other than I thought it looked awesome and I'd like her to be used to it if I ever get back into backpacking. Maybe in the fall and winter I will increase the weight, right now it's too hot for her to even wear it most of the time.

So far, the main things I prefer about the Approach are that the first belly strap loops through the saddle bags, holding them flat against the rib cage. Our cheaper pack had smaller bags, but they flopped around a lot more. Second, I like the Webmaster design that includes TWO belly straps. The straps are thick and padded, so you can fit them tight without having nylon straps digging into the dog's chest. Also, the pack just *seems* made so much better. I've seen a lot of packs in pet stores and this one is thicker, better padding in the right spots, lays flush over the back and around the ribs - everything about it is just....better.





 

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Originally Posted By: Mnemosyne
Can I ask what size you got? The Ruffwear website says to order by girth, but my dog is between sizes Small and Medium. I don't need the extra room in the Medium size panniers, but I'm afraid if I order a Small, because I'm afraid the harness will be too short length-wise.

Since the harness has a handle for lifting your dog over obstacles, I don't want the stomach straps to sit in the wrong spots and hurt her. Kenya's looks like it fits perfectly.
Brenna is about 53-55 lbs and fits in both the small and the medium. I got the small for my beagle but it was too big for her so I got her an XS. The medium fit Brenna fine but was cinched up quite a bit, so I gave it to my mom's 65 lb lab mix. They seem to run on the larger side, and the website says to go small when the dog is between sizes.
 

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I think a Small would fit Kenya too, but I like the size of the Medium pack itself. The front straps are all the way tight and I'd like to tighten them more. My aunt and my sister are very handy with sewing so I'd rather have them shorten the straps then get a Small and have the pack itself be too small/too short.
 

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Oops, I should clarify, I was talking about the harness, I haven't tried a pack from them yet. The front straps were the reason the S was too big on my beagle, her front legs could slip through. That being said, there isn't a huge difference in the size of the S and M.

Here's Brenna in a small:


And a medium:
 

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I love the following pack - I don't know that it's big enough for groceries, but it looks comparable in size to the bags you're talking about:

http://www.amazon.com/Mountainsmith-Dog-...16900456&sr=8-1

I like that it has a chest strap and two belly straps (instead of one). It stays in place really well, although honestly, Kodee hasnt' carried much of a load in it yet. I expect it will fit well loaded down, though, since all 3 straps can be adjusted for a "custom fit." (Jeez, I sound like an advertisement...). It must be comfortable, Kodee has never given a second thought to wearing it, although he was already used to wearing a vest when I bought it.

I looked at the Ruffwear Approach, I think it was, at a local camping store here, and personally, I think the Mountainsmith pack is better constructed. JMO.

 

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Originally Posted By: BrennasMom
They seem to run on the larger side, and the website says to go small when the dog is between sizes.
I saw that on the website, but I wasn't sure it would apply correctly to all dog body types. My GSD is technically much smaller (shorter and lighter) than my mother-in-law's Dobie, but my dog has a much longer torso. I didn't want the under ribcage straps to end up sitting too close up under her "armpits," or the under-the-belly band to sit in the wrong spot. In case she ever does need to be lifted by the handle on the harness, I wanted to make sure the straps sit exactly where they're supposed to.

Originally Posted By: BrennasMomOops, I should clarify, I was talking about the harness, I haven't tried a pack from them yet. The front straps were the reason the S was too big on my beagle, her front legs could slip through. That being said, there isn't a huge difference in the size of the S and M.
Not a big deal, because supposedly, their packs are built on top of their webmaster harness, so the sizing should be exactly the same.

I ended up ordering her a medium. You and Liesje both have females wearing a medium comfortably, and my girl is just a bit bigger than yours (23 inches tall, 64-69lbs and she still has some "filling out" to do), so that seems like a safe bet. I actually ordered the Palisades pack though. I don't need the extra storage room, I just liked that the Palisades pack detaches from the harness, so I end up with both a backpack and a harness. Plus, my dog loves to jump into any stream she comes across, and it's easer to unclip the panniers on the Palisades pack from the harness than it is to take the whole shebang off of her when she's fussing to be allowed into the water.

I'm not terribly thrilled about the $99 price tag on the Palisades, but I'd like to think that this pack will last through her lifetime.
 
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Yep, it will last alright. Odin wears the Palisades I that I bought for his predecessor, Willie, 14 years ago. It's still in great shape.

I have the Palisades II for Frigga and she is so funny in it. I've heard this from other folks here too and it must be something in the GSDs sense of "duty". When I put her pack on Frigga switches from her usual bouncy goofy girl to Miss Serious - Dog on patrol.
 
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