Ireland's Pit Bull Terrier Association (IPBTA)
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BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

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BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by Guest on Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:34 pm

Backpacking with dogs

When hiking itís a ĒruleĒ in Norway that everyone helps with what they can for the group. This also goes for our furry friends. Dogs will gladly carry a backpack with their own stuff, and some of the group stuff too!

Which dogs can backpack?

In general, all dogs can backpack. But smaller dogs can have trouble walking in the terrain, and if they do they should not backpack. Dogs with a shoulderheight of 16 inches and up should be good backpacking dogs

A dog should be fully grown before you put any weight in the backpack, that means around two years depending on breed. If the dog has any illnesses or injuries which hinders their physics, you should always consult your veterinarian before doing anything strenuous.

How heavy can the backpack be?

This depends on the overall condition on the dog, it's strength and size. Fully grown dogs in good shape used to carrying backpacks can carry up to 25% of their bodyweight on trips over multiple days. Remember, itís always better to load less than more!

My experience is that there is usually a correlation between the dogs condition and the owners. If both the dog and the owner is in their prime, you can use these rules for longer hikes:

The dog can carry as much as their owner comparing bodyweight

If the owner weighs around 150 lbs, and can carry 37 lbs, meaning 25 % of their weight. Their dog at 60 lbs should be able to carry 15 lbs. If the owner is comfortable with only 25 lbs, the dogs weight should be adjusted accordingly. Donít forget to add the backpacks weight to the total. The great thing about this rule is that when the owner has to carry his share of the load, the speed will automatically be adjusted by terrain, temperature and other things that also makes the hike more strenuous for the dog.

The dog can probably carry more then what is recommended here, but with a greater risk of injury. These kind of injuries can crop up a long time after the dog was worked. Put 60 lbs in your own backpack and march up a steep hill. Iím sure you can do it, but how long will your knees last?

Which backpack should I chose?

Go to a good petstore and ask a salesperson who knows about backpacking. Ask around groups who regurlarly backpack and find competent people who know what they are talking about. Some petstores only old backpacks, and donít really know a lot about using them. Stay away from those if you are new to the sport.

Here are some tips on what is a good backpack, and how it should fit your dog:

1. The backpack should fit your dog

The backpack should be itís deepest at the front of the dog so that the weight is primarily the front legs ans not it|s back. The packs should reach the dogs elbows on both sides. The most important is that the backpack can be adjusted correctly out from the dogs legs so that it can move freely. When the dog is standing parallel with itís front legs, the backpack should be held at an inch or so out from the legs. This makes the legs just stay clear of the backpack when the dog moves. If the packs are further out than that, the balance of the backpack will be influenced. If they are closer to the legs, they will hinder the dogs movement. The bellystrap should not hinder the dogs breathing, so it shouldnít be too tight. You should be able to put three fingers ďuprightĒ between the belly and the strap. When the dog moves with the backpack, it should sit stable on the dog and not move around. Itís the backpacks construction and correct packing that primarily holds it in place, not the straps.

2. Shape, materials and seems

The backpack should not make blisters or wear the fur. It should be as waterproof as possible, and so solid that it will withstand a lot of contact with trees, bushes and stones. Leather is very good for the material that is touching the dog, and itís very durable. A lot of the quality backpacks combine leather with other fabrics.

Packing the backpack

Be sure that the backpack is balanced. The packs should weigh equally much, or they will move around on the dog, or it will carry it crooked. (not good!) The safest it to weigh the backpacks before putting them on. You can also balance the backpack by putting it over your thigh, but this is not as accurate. The best backbacks are already pretty stable when put on correctly and small differences in weight wonít really matter that much.

Put clothes or something soft closest to the dogs body. Sharp edges should not be packed close to the dog. The heaviest items should be placed in front and at the bottom of the pack. Donít pack items that you need on the hike, all the weighing and balancing will be all for nothing. Put items that are not waterproof in plastic bags. Items that canít withhold a push or a shove (or water for that matter) should be carried in your own backpack. In other words, carry your own sleepingbag and camera.

Getting used to the backpack

You can get your dog used to the backpack pretty early. A puppy of 7-8 months can practice by carrying an empty backpack, but should not carry weight. You could fill it with newspapers or light clothing to fill it out. It is not crucial to get the dog used to it at an early age. Most dogs get used to the backpack pretty quickly, and donít really need a lot of time. A couple of treats and praise is good, as in most other dogtraining. When a untrained dog figures out how to not squeeze itís way through two large stones, but that he actually needs to move over them, deserves praise. It will also motivate your dog to work harder later when it has difficulties.

Let the dog walk normally with the lead either attached to itís collar or on the backpack (backpacks have D-rings on the back). Donít let the pull. When going downhill, you need to attach the lead to the backpack, so the load on the front of the dog doesnít get too heavy.
I prefer a waistbelt and an elastic lead then I go backpacking. The lead is always attached to the backpack itself, not the collar. That way I have both hands free, and itís a comfortable way to hike.

Special concerns

Check your dog regularly for blisters and worn pads. If the backpack or the dog gets wet, observe both of them closely. The risk of blisters and skinirritations increases, and you might have to carry more yourself.
With a good quality backpack the risks of blistering or irritations are less. When you put the packpack on the dog, make sure that the dogs collar is not under the backpack, but lays free.

For longer hikes, make sure your dogs pads are thick and the dog is in good shape.
Make sure you feed your dog more on long trips, fatty foods are good. Also make sure your dog drinks sufficiently. I mix in some liverpate in the water to make sure my dog is not dehydrated.

Always keep your dog leashed when it has a packpack on. The consequences on a dog taking a trip on itís own are bigger if the dog is carrying stuff, it can also get stuck and not find itís way back to you. The dog might think a swim is a good idea, but swimming with a heavy backpack could be dangerous.

A dog that is sick or injured should not be carrying weight before you have talked to your vet. A dog mildly dysplastic with no symptoms can backpack pretty much like a non dysplastic dog, but it might be a good idea to be careful when adding weight to the packs. A dysplastic with symptoms should not carry weight unless your veterinarian says it can.
X-ray your dog before backpacking!

Good luck!
Backpacking is a great way to exercise your dog, and in my experience they really love having a job to do!

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Re: BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by celticpitbulls on Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:42 pm

great post vin.
i use a back pack with butch, my reason is to just give him a job while walking him and it gives him that little extra workout.
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Re: BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by Harry on Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:07 pm

I have a backpack for Bobby and it's really good he's so tired after it even if you put only a couple of KG's in it.


Last edited by GoldenBoy on Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:08 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : missed a word)
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Re: BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:59 pm

Anyone know a good place to get one, ide be into getting one this week.

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Re: BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by Harry on Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:02 pm

Voila:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

It's the one i have, Large for a 35kg Golden Retriever and it's loose at full tighten. so prob medium 4 u.
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Re: BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:20 pm

On the ball there Golden guy, cheers

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Re: BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by celticpitbulls on Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:36 pm

you can also get them up where vin lives 15euro..
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Re: BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:41 pm

celticpitbulls wrote:you can also get them up where vin lives 15euro..

Ye my memory is up me hole, i think i seen them but not sure if there good quality.

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Re: BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by celticpitbulls on Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:44 pm

deco there deadly, dont mind the little bone prints lol!
i use them for butch, 1lt water on each side, he rolls and runs into things and its still in 1 peace. :D
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Re: BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by Harry on Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:53 pm

How come no-one told me about dem ones Evil or Very Mad I hate spending more money den I need 2 Sad Sad Sad
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Re: BACK PACKING WITH YOUR PITTY

Post by eamo s on Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:54 pm

My Zed carries a burst football full of water, fairly heavy. He has some strange obsesion with footballs. I'd be screamin at him to put them down lol! But if i put one of them panniers that Lil has on her Butch, he'd have it destroyed Mad
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