Apr 12, 2012

Saddle Up!

I think I've mentioned before that Sasha, aka Little Dog, is pretty high energy. Sometimes I wonder if they duped us at the breeder because she can keep up with any lab or boxer out there.

Out on a walk one day Tom ran into a fellow dog owner who uses saddlebags to drain some of the energy in his retriever. He fills the pockets with bags of dried rice to weigh it down.  He said it has been a huge success in keeping his dog from jumping up on people and generally tiring her out.  Sounds exactly like what we need.

So we ventured to the local doggy boutique - our favourite pet food supply store didn't have anything suitable - to see what they offered. We settled on this one because the bags were detachable and the black looked rugged and athletic (very important).

Canine Equipment Backpack Dog

We put two water bottles in each bag and tried it out. There was an instant change in how she acted.  No bouncing around, no jumping on and off the furniture, basically no more Tasmanian Devil. In fact, I think the four bottles were a little too heavy. But it did enable me to get some pictures of her in focus for once.

Canine Equipment Backpack Dog

Canine Equipment Backpack Dog

She wore it around the house for about 30 minutes.  And then we noticed she was lop-sided.  One of the bags had torn completely off when she'd gotten hung up on something (she likes to rub up against the walls and furniture when she walks).  So back to the store we went.  The store owner admitted that the straps on that particular bag didn't look like they were sewn in properly to begin with. However they didn't have any more in stock so we'd have to wait until they could order again. 

That week, while we were waiting for the call that the replacement bag was in, we took a look in the nearest PetSmart. (I wouldn't normally name names, but this has a happy ending so I feel it's worth it.) They had one with slightly bigger bags but they weren't detachable.  I thought that might be better as the bags were less likely to catch on things.  Plus it was $20 less than the first one. And the blue is cute, right? It's from Outward Hound - a dog gear/toy company from Colorado.

Outward Hound Backpack Dog

(Man, this story is long!)

But our 80 pound dog was too small for the rig "suitable for 50-80 pound dogs".  How'd that happen?  We couldn't get the straps around her middle tight enough to keep it upright. Girl is skinny. Maybe it's because Chloe steals her food all the time. 

Canine Equipment Backpack Dog

Or maybe she carries all of her weight in her butt. (That wasn't nice, was it?  Love you baby-dog!)

Buuuut the store didn't have a medium size in stock.  So I went to the one near my work. They had one in pink. I'm sorry I didn't get pictures of that because Sasha looked hilarious in it.  Like one of those foo-foo dogs that wears bonnets and tutus. 

So back to the store again.

I tried another location.  They had red.  Tom hates red.  This is never going to end, right?

Back at my desk, I looked up Outward Hound online.  They do sell them directly and they are only $18.  Petsmart sells them for $45.  Hmmmm, gonna have to look into the shipping costs and see if it's worth it to ship to Canada. But we needed it right away - the dogs were going to the inlaws for the week and we needed them to be calm. (Note: as of writing this, Outward Hound doesn't ship outside the US.)

There was one more Petsmart in the area, so I gave them a call, they had it in blue, in a medium, and they would put it aside for me.  Happy dance!  I went there the next day, and while the clerk was ringing it up, I made an offhand remark about how I'd driven all over the place and wasn't it crazy that online it was so much cheaper (I didn't know at the time that they didn't ship).

The clerk told me that they were obligated to price-match, called his manager, and the manager offered to sell it to me for $20.  I didn't even have proof of the lower price.  How fantastic is that?  I want to give a huge shout-out to Tom at the Scarborough PetSmart for being so generous as to believe me.

So here is our little pack mule all loaded up.  It will be awesome to have this summer when we take them walking in York Regional Forest.  There is a pond there and Chloe loves to fetch balls in the water.  Sasha can carry the ball, the water, the poop bags, the treats... maybe even a towel.

Outward Hound Backpack Dog

Of course Chloe was sad that Sasha was the only one who was getting new clothes every day, so I dug out her lifejacket just for a treat. Instant happy dog. Trust me, this is her happy face.

And I love this picture. She looks like she's holding on for dear life. 
"I will never let go, Jack. I'll never let go."

Canine Equipment Backpack Dog Lifejacket

We've dropped Sasha down to one bottle on each side because carrying two was making her pant too hard. And that's just wearing it around the house. I can't wait to see it in action out on the trail.

Outward Hound Backpack Dog

See? She's tired already!


Fern Smith said...

Your dogs are beautiful!
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Los Johnsons said...

thank you so much for this post! Luckily, we don't have this problem but I have  a friend that DOES! I have already sent your post to him! 

BarbSteadman said...

That's awesome - happy to help!

Joanne Mudd said...

Sasha has a couple of catalog worthy shots here!  So cute!

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