One thing I have found is that there are some people out there that seem to think it is cruel to make a dog wear a backpack. Most folks think it is a good idea so he can carry his own water and such, but it seems not everyone sees it that way. I overheard one lady say “what a shame”.
I'll betcha this is the kind of person who has a yap dog and who refers to it as her baby. She cannot imagine that a dog would have a job to do, and certainly not her precious baby doggiekins.
And what really sucks is that IME this type of ankle biter is a very spoiled dog with atrocious behavior.
A big "Thank You" to those of you who take the time to train your dogs and who give your dogs the opportunity to come along with you on hiking trips. Dogs are too great to be kept in a pen all the time, and too great to be left untrained. If only people would realize it's a whole lot like raising kids...
"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls."
I too have trouble keeping his pack evenly balanced. I try to alternate taking a little water from each side, but still the pack soon starts to lower on one side or the other. I keep working on the problem.
Never though about rattlesnakes. We are supposed to have lots of them around here but I have never come across one.
Which pack does your pup use? I only have experience w/ the older REI Adventure Dog pack. As long as I unload each side evenly and keep the nylon straps tight and dry it's usually fine. But he has a lot of energy and only 3 legs. So a lot of running around and at a lopsided gait at that make it a little difficult. I'm thinking of fastening a snap in the strap past the buckle to keep it from slipping even after it's wet.
Yeah, rattlesnakes are fairly prominent down here and even more so in the dry desert areas. I too, see them rarely if at all but have heard some scary stories including $1200+ vet bills and, the worst possible out come.
The pack we use is Outward Hound. It seems comfortable on him. I think the problem is that he is a large but skinny dog and no matter how I tighten the straps there isn't enough friction to keep the pack from sliding one way or the other. It doesn't seem to be a big deal though. Sometimes I just let it go off center and don't worry about it. I have thought about adding some sheepskin under the straps. My wife is handy in that department and so it could be possible. But would it help?
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
The sheepskin will help only until it gets dirty. That being said, we used to use sheepskin pads on the cinch (girth) of horse saddles, on the front flank (behind the elbow, the bottom shoulder joint) where the skin is otherwise prone to get sores. Fleece, though, is a lot easier to wash out. Hysson's pack came with fleece sleeves on both girth straps.
Hysson, in my avatar, is modeling an older model Ruffwear Palisades. I love this pack because the pack bags detach from the harness. This makes it much easier to remove the pack bags when we stop. I can carry the pack bags and use the harness to assist Hysson on really bad stretches or when fording deeper streams. Hysson loves it, too, judging from his eager barks when I bring it out!
The Ruffwear Palisades is also less prone to tipping than the first pack I bought, the Kelty Sherpa. The Kelty pack has the bags higher up on the dog's back instead of hanging down on the sides. I find that balancing the pack by lifting each side works fine. If the pack should start tipping to one side, I either move a small item or adjust the water.
The Palisades is a pricey pack, though; watch for sales. I was lucky enough to get a closeout price on an older model. At that point I was looking for a pack that would hold 7-8 days' dog kibble, and (as can be seen from the picture) the pack bags are quite spacious. The newer model has smaller pack bags.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
We got the Outward Hound on sale for about $15.00. They sell for about $75.00 here normally. It has worked very well so far, and it does detach easily from the harness for rest stops. It has some padding under the buckles too. Rebel seems to like the pack, and it doesn't seem to leave any sore spots.
I use a pack that separates from the harness/vest. Once I got the harness fitted I don't have any problems keeping the pack upright.
I took my dog out on a horseback ride with his pack. I didn't put too much in it because I knew he would be running a lot, but I wanted to see how the pack would really do. We rode for about 13 miles. My dog kept right up with us running back and forth, jumping over logs and around bushes and trees and not once did I have to get down to adjust his pack. Everyone I was with was surprised how well the pack stayed on.
I use the Traverse Ridge base vest and Wasatch Pack that were done by Trail Pet. The guy I got it from only does them for custom orders for now, but it's a great bag and I highly recommend it. If you're interested in one PM me and I'll get you his contact info.
Loc: Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
Dogs are part of the reason why I use a tarp. I use an old Golite Lair 2, which is just a tarp with a closed off end. I hike with 3 labs and each carries his/her bedroll. I don't worry about tears in the floor obviously but I do have to keep the smelly buggers from snuggling up with me at night (they like to lay against my down quilt).
I take my dog backpakcing all the time. She is a 15 year old sheperd husky mix. She used to sleep in the tent, but two years ago I switched to a hammock. Now she sleeps under the hammock and tarp on a thermarest that I, unfortunately, pack in for her. She has a tendency to scratch the floor prior to laying down and will do it several times throughout the night.The tent floor was never damaged as a result, but I would ask her to stop...lol! If you think it could be a problem, try some non-insulated, light dog booties for when your dog when he/she is in the tent.
I take my dog (Dexter) with me everywhere because he is my service dog. When I first started taking him backpacking/camping, I would tarp it. I found that Dexter would get up to patrol every couple of hours, which would wake me up. Having him in a tent allows both of us to sleep.
I keep the floor of my tent in good condition by placing his bedding right inside the door, about even with my shoulder when I lay down. He must wait until I have entered the tent and am ready for him to come in. He is not allowed in there unless it is time for sleep, and he knows to go directly to his bed and curl up for a good nights rest.
He humps a Ruffwear Approach pack, which is at times a bit too small to accommodate all of the gear he needs to carry. I will have to look into getting him a larger pack soon.