We realize that a dog backpack can seem scary or uncomfortable for puppies and adult dogs who have never seen a dog backpack or dog bag before. However, with a little preparation and (lots of) practice, most dogs will love relaxing in the backpack. They can be everywhere, watching everything or taking a restful nap.
This is how easy it is to get your dog used to the backpack! Depending on whether your dog already knows clicker training, you can adapt the training accordingly.
1. Get familiar with the backpack
Your dog must first become familiar with his new backpack. Let him sniff it and give him time to get to know the new object and process everything. Only then should you think about letting your dog run into the backpack. It is not uncommon for dogs to be skeptical or fearful of new, different looking and strange smelling things.
2. Walk into the backpack
Open your dog carrier backpack and place it so that your dog can run into the backpack by itself. Lay a trail of treats so your dog will run into the backpack. Start in small steps. If your dog is very fearful, you may want to start with more distance from the backpack. Never push your dog into the backpack. Put his favorite blanket or toy in the backpack. This will help him get comfortable in the backpack faster and accept the backpack as a safe home. Note: The PeakStone Backpack can be opened extra wide and placed horizontally, as well as vertically. This allows you to get your dog used to the backpack in very small steps.
3. Close the backpack
Roll up the window / windows and fix it / them. This way your dog can see out and you can reward from the outside. When your dog is ready, you can close the backpack. Make sure that fur and ears are not caught in the zipper. Depending on the dog, it is advisable not to put the backpack on immediately. On the contrary, it is best to open the backpack immediately. Make sure that your dog does not get out by itself. Extend the time in the (closed) backpack. Your dog is safe and relaxed in the backpack? Then you are ready for the next step.
4. Put on the backpack
Slowly place the backpack on your back. For the first training sessions, it is recommended to place the backpack on a table or other elevated object and to put it on your back from there. Alternatively, a second person can help you put the backpack on. Start with short walks and steadily increase the time spent in the backpack. In the long run, put the backpack on like a “normal” trekking backpack. First put it on the right bent knee. Grasp the handle with your left hand and the right shoulder strap with your right hand. Put the backpack on your back over your right shoulder. Of course, you can also place the backpack over the left shoulder. Reverse right and left accordingly.
A common mistake that we often see in Instagram Stories is that the treat is held in front of the dog’s nose from the outside. However, the treat is so far away that the dog has to stretch out to reach it. This way you train your dog to climb out of the backpack on his own and lean out. Because (only) in this way he reaches the treat and is also rewarded for his unwanted behavior.
Important: The training can take several days or weeks, depending on the dog. In exceptional cases even longer. Rather make small steps and pay attention to the right timing.
Secure your dog to the harness
We always recommend that you attach your dog to the harness in the backpack. However, this does not replace the training and is not suitable for carrying the weight of your dog permanently.