Do dog backpacks help puppies adjust?

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  • Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to bring your dog with you on the go, and dog backpackers can help you get the job done. They are popular for puppies with mobility issues, to go with your dog, and to go on trails. But can they help a puppy get used to the outdoor world? That’s the project my husband and I did with our new Mini Aussie, Betty. Our tool of choice was the K9 Sport Sack — and with Betty’s help, we made it through.

As hiking and camping enthusiasts, in part, we are excited to have a dog as a companion on an outdoor adventure. But since Betty is a 14-week-old puppy, there’s only so much she can do right now. We’re always looking for ways to keep her protected (she’s in the process of puppy shooting) and comfortable while also safely introducing her to places of interest, meeting people outside our home and get acquainted with the new sights and sounds.

Betty is a brave puppy who always wants to try new things, but she’s also a wiggling monster. Here’s what we discovered when we tried to put a puppy in a carry-on backpack.

Review K9 Sport Sack Plus 2

Have Quite a few different types of dog backpackers on the market. One of the main differences between these products is how the dog is led. Some backpacks face forward, with your dog tucked in and looking over your shoulder at where you’re going. Others position your dog so that they look backwards, facing where you’ve been. Some can be worn on the front of the body like a baby carrier, and some are like soft travel crates that are completely sealed – with ventilation and windows, of course.

For our purposes, we wanted a more traditional backpack style that could support the weight of a growing medium breed dog. We went with K9 Sport Sack because it allows a dog to lean towards their person — a trait we think Betty might find useful when a puppy is still learning to be independent and enjoys being able to see us.

Man walking on trail with puppy in backpack

Well, Betty is suppose expected here.

The first day, we have measured Betty from collar to bottom wobbles to find the right size for her, keeping in mind a margin of error for growth. Pass size guidewe chose Plus 2 models average, as it’s designed for small and medium-sized dogs and features removable storage for things like snacks and keys, plus a water bottle holder on the side — perfect for Our outdoor adventure bridge.

Thicker shoulder straps and adjustable chest straps that slide to different positions are also a bonus for giving our back extra support and adjusting to our different sizes (my husband one meter taller than me).

Note: Before buying a dog backpack, you should consult your veterinarian and make sure that your dog’s body and health are suitable for the type of backpack for dogs.

How to get a puppy in a backpack carrier

If you think putting a puppy in a backpack sounds daunting, congratulations – you’re right! Patience and rewards are key.

Hands give the dog in the backpack a treat

We say treat a puppy in a backpack early and often!

Test run at home first. Since Betty is a wiggly monster, I knew bringing her into the pack would be our biggest challenge. Before heading out onto the trail, we let her sniff and check the package at home first, then carried her around the house to make sure she was fit and safe.

If you don’t succeed at first, try, try, try again. The first few times we tried to get Betty on the team, they all failed. Every dog ​​is different, so don’t give up if the first few attempts fail. We followed the package instructions but had to make slight modifications based on Betty’s constant movement.

Finally, we got Betty inside the pack by laying it flat and unlocked, letting her lie down, then quickly tucked her front paws into the leg opening, zipped it, and attached the carabiner to the appendage. her front case. Ruffwear Front Range belt. The instructions say to attach to the collar, but due to Betty’s wiggles and mixed emotions in captivity, we felt a harness was a better choice for her.

K9 Sport Sack on the table for evaluation

K9 Sport Sack is ready for Betty.

Treatment is key. Getting Betty to lie down, petting, and keeping her calm in the harness are all made easier with the help of high-value treats that keep her distraction-free and happy while we learn everything.

Check and check again. Before going out, double check that all components are working properly. This means making sure the zipper is all the way up, the top buckle and carabiner are secure, and the side straps are tight — but not so much that she feels uncomfortable.

Testing K9 Sport Sack Plus 2

For our trip, we chose our favorite park with different woods, beaches and trail terrain. It’s a typical January day (a Pacific Northwest term for when June is the same as January). We agreed that my husband would hold Betty and that I would observe and take notes. One of the first things my husband noticed was how warm her body was against his back. Fortunately, it was a cool morning, but it’s worth noting for hikes on hot days.

Man adjusts puppy riding in backpack

Betty acts as a fur heater in a backpack.

Since we had practice bringing her in, it wasn’t a huge struggle when we got there. With our lie down method we were able to get her in pretty quickly, wiggle and all. Once she posed calmly on my husband’s back, and I attached the optional carry bag before we hit the road.

Attachable storage pack features two zippered compartments. In one large, we were able to fit Betty’s leash, snacks, travel bowl, and poop bag holder. In the smaller top compartment, there’s room for a phone and keys.

We also put a water bottle in one of the side pockets. But we noticed that with her movement, our water bottles kept coming out of our pockets as we walked. In the future, we may try a smaller bottle, although a taller bag could also be helpful.

At first, Betty seemed genuinely interested in the backpack. It gives her a better view than she would ever get on the ground, and like a dog that can’t get through vegetation to save her life, she loves to nibble on trees and bushes (she doesn’t get anything in her mouth; she just loves being so much closer to all the greenery!).

Puppy in backpack taking photo at tree branch

Betty went to the tree and the water bottle rose.

For us, after weeks of walking slowed down by the constant need to sniff everything (teaching a puppy on a leash is hard, man!), it’s nice to enjoy a faster pace, Uninterrupted.

Everything went smoothly, and I occasionally gave her a treat to keep her happy and reassured. But all that’s good can’t last. Midway through our planned excursion, we ran into a problem we hadn’t considered: other dogs.

As a puppy, Betty couldn’t resist greeting her fellow humans. When she passed a dog, she struggled vigorously to free herself from her backpack. Although she was safe with the carabiner, she was successful in sliding her front foot out of the slit, and we had to stop immediately and adjust her to avoid an escape attempt. exit.

Another element we don’t see coming? She’s super adorable in a backpack. In fact, it’s so cute that people come up to and approach her without asking us, which also causes her to become agitated and struggle in the herd. After a few such incidents, we decided it was best to stop and let her go on a leash for a bit.

Puppy riding in a dog backpack

You see the problem?

Verdict: Should You Buy a K9 Sports Condom for Your Dog?

The K9 Sport Sack Plus 2 is a carrier of high quality dog ​​backpacks that provide good support for our dog and have features we appreciate, such as several adjustable straps, buckles and zippers safe, plus extra storage for our and Betty’s needs. However, our energetic puppy still tries to find a way to partially free himself from the pack when particularly provocative events arise.


  • Good support for us with padded straps, adjustable chest strap and good stability on our back
  • Soft but firm padding on the bottom to support half of your dog’s back
  • Optional storage attachment easily fits Betty’s essentials, plus the things we need to carry around, like keys and phones
  • Carabiner to securely grip Betty — and it prevented her from being able to fully fly into the cage
  • Freedom to walk gave us more than forcing her to be tied up
  • Give her a chance to see new things while being protected from the ground
  • Quality materials and hardware seem to last a long time and can withstand many uses
  • Various color options


  • The water bottle keeps slipping out of the bag
  • It may be necessary to consider whether you can carry the extra weight and heat of a dog against your body on a hot day.
  • Backpacks are definitely work for two, both helping Betty in and making sure all the elements are secure as soon as they’re in use; Personally, I don’t know how I can deal with it alone with a puppy
  • How much energy Betty has at this stage – although the security measures seem like good ones that will eventually work if it gets to that point – her attempts to get out still fail made us feel 100% safe.

Puppy riding a dog backpack in the forest

Briefly, the K9 Sport Sack Plus 2 is a promising backpack that has done its job well in terms of both comfort and security. But young, high-energy puppies may not be the best fit for a general dog backpack.

Betty moves around a lot, she’s overstimulated by people and dogs, and she’s still practicing in a cage, let alone a pack. We think she’s done pretty well, all things considered, but she’s not quite ready yet.

However, we think this suit would be a great fit, once she’s more socially integrated and her energy is depleted as well. We plan to try the pack with her again and put her at ease until she matures and can keep up with us on our hikes.

K9 Sport Sack Plus 2 gray

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