Oct 132016

dog shoppingMiguel noticed that there was no food left that would make his next meal. SHOCK! :shock:

The truck is in repair (STILL, we are in Portugal now) to get ready to pass inspection, and the tiny house is PARKED like you see on the photo here (still without interior: no funds).

dog as foreman

Thus going shopping currently means walking shopping, not driving down there with our tiny truck house and attract the many "OH!" looks that we normally get.

Miguel puts on his much beloved Mountainsmith backpack and leads me to the neighboring town with the cheapest supermarket. I follow all along.

Our 12km / 7.5 miles hike leads us across meadows as well as through narrow roads. The weather is perfect: blue sky, 25 C / 77 F warm, light breeze.

dog with his backpack


Miguel always seems to enjoy wearing his backpack: he's acting proud, controlled. I love it too: it weighs almost nothing itself, and stays put while the dog is walking, it doesn't rub anywhere. AND: The backpack allows him to carry his own food back home. :-)

Makes sense: Why should I carry his food supply? I already have to pay for it.

dog backpack behavior training


In addition, a backpack that stays put clearly controls the dog's behavior: he's calmer and more conscious where he's walking.

We frequently see people pointing in Miguel's direction, enjoying to see a dog so sovereign: he negotiates the traffic with luggage on his back but without a leash.

(I carry a bit myself, and I don't like to walk on-leash anyway, you know that.)

dog locked AND chained


On our walk Miguel meets plenty of dogs locked away AND chained.

Strange. Why not give the dog free run behind the gate?

dog shopaholic


On our way back, Miguel acts even more controlled: The weight of his food shopping is dragging him down. :mrgreen:

dog backpack training


Besides keeping the dog safe in traffic (and without leash), I have put a lot of effort into teaching him to generously avoid obstacles with his backpack:

Initially he rubbed the Mountainsmith backpack along fences and everything, which would at some point have ripped it apart.

Now, FINALLY, Miguel seems to have learned to generously avoid obstacles, considering the additional width of a loaded backpack. :-)

dog backpack load summary


So what did this soon 2 ys old German Shepherd carry? :mrgreen:

The key components of his own food supply, for just 2 days!

  • 4 tins peas
  • 4 tins champignons
  • 2 tins tuna

All together weighing 3kg / 6.6lb.


Is that too much? How much does your dog get to carry in the backpack?

Next mobile tiny house living update is here


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    Your dog is great.

    Thank you for sharing your shopping trip!



    Hi Tim,
    Most grocery stores and supermarkets here do not allow dogs unless they are service dogs, so my dog does not go shopping with me. I would never leave my dog alone outside a store, so she just stays home. As far as the backpack goes, I dont put them on my dog. I was tempted a few times when we went hiking, but I don't want to put that kind of pressure on her back. A dogs back was not made for carrying things. Of course there are a lot of things that they do that they were not made for but I'm not comfortable with it. Miguel doesnt seem to mind though. A friend of mine also has a backpack for her dog and he doesnt seem to mind either. Having had experience with a dog with a bad back though, has made me wary.


      Hmm, interesting (as always), so you say "A dogs back was not made for carrying things", this made me think (and I love thinking as you know).
      Question that arises: Was say a horse's back "made" for carrying things, or even people?

      I'd now say, no. Evolution didn't "make" any animal (nor person) "to carry things", right?
      I guess the right question to ask is, CAN an animal's (or person's) back carry things? Are the skeleton, the muscles, the tendons etc strong enough for that?

      If correct, then we can (and need to) determine: how much? what weight?

      And indeed, before loading anything into a dog's backpack I give this some thought. When I loaded up Miguel for example, I considered his earlier hip injury and the pain he still gets from this sometimes.

      I guess it's important to be considerate (not only with our dogs). But I wouldn't rule out per se that a dog can carry a bit of weight, like I have to do myself as well (although I dare say, with my degree of stiff back certainly I am not made for carrying anything).

      A dog in the wild would pull the food to the dinner table, yes, not load it on its back, true. Makes me smile now, imagining everyone watching Miguel pulling a (strong) bag of foods 6km back "home". Would be fun to watch! (but take forever to get the food home, lol) :mrgreen:


        It's funny, but I was going to add "neither is a horses back" but I then would have started on oxen, and camels, and elephants, and well, you get the idea.If you had snow, you could get Miquel a sled. But I am sure that dragging his pack (or a sled) would truly hurt his hip more! Better keep well enough as it is!! Anyway, I am pretty sure that 6 pounds, evenly distributed, is an easy pack. I think if it bothered him he would definitely try to take it off. German Shepherds are really tough dogs as well, so I'm sure it's all good!!


        Hi Tim,
        Thank you for sharing this.
        Unfortunately here in Ireland Logan has to be muzzled and leashed at all times in public.
        He is well behaved but I know he hates having the muzzle on.
        I still bring him with me as much as I can as he loves to be out and about, and loves meeting new people and animals.
        Logan is definitely a helper and will always try to take anything I am carrying and if Its ok for him I let him.
        His whole demeanour changes and he almost struts,, head high and back straight..
        He seems to take great pride in it. He will take the rubbish/trash to the bins for me and help with bringing in fuel.
        I have always thought that as a working dog this is their nature...
        I had considered a backpack for when we are out, and now I will definitely get one.


        Hi Andrew! I couldn't believe that about the muzzle, googled, and am shocked:
        "The Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 impose additional rules in relation to the following breeds (and strains/cross-breeds) of dog:
        American pit bull terrier.
        English bull terrier.
        Staffordshire bull terrier.
        Bull mastiff.
        Dobermann pinscher.
        German shepherd (Alsatian)
        Rhodesian ridgeback.

        That's bananas! Which politician/bureaucrat was riding which horse to come up with such breed-specific idiocracy? Can't you get rid of such incompetent government? :mrgreen:

        "His whole demeanour changes and he almost struts,, head high and back straight.. He seems to take great pride in it." - totally agree, every owner should try it!


        Hi Tim, I live in the land of incompetent governments.. we get them one after the other..
        It was a reaction brought about after several pit bull attacks on children.
        Who compiled the list is beyond me. Its a shame because the muzzle actually makes people afraid.
        Logan is well behaved and always waits for a cue from me before he will interact with anyone.
        When people or dogs approach us Logan will sit at my side and ignore them until I give the go ahead to interact.
        Everyone who meets him falls for him because he is so gentle and playful, and yet so wise for 17mts old.
        Its such a pity that I cant let him run around and play..


        While I understand the point about Pit Bull attacks, I could you can show those that you pay with your taxes (citizens too often forget this most powerful detail!) how much safer German Shepherd Dogs are than grandmas. Indeed. :mrgreen:

        We have a cool TWEET on this topic too, they better follow our twitter :grin: https://twitter.com/mygsdorg

        "In an average year, 1105 grandmas commit a serious #attack on a person. But only 3 #German-Shepherd #dogs: http://bit.ly/safe-gsds"
        Safe German Shepherd Dogs

        "Who compiled the list is beyond me. Its a shame because the muzzle actually makes people afraid." - Exactly right, Andrew! And makes people afraid of the wrong dog: While they look scared in the direction of the muzzled dog, they don't notice the snarling UNmuzzled dog right behind them...

        "When people or dogs approach us Logan will sit at my side and ignore them until I give the go ahead to interact." Oh! I wish my Miguel had learned that from you!

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