Last week was P’s birthday and for the first time, he gave me a wish list. (I should clarify that he always makes a wish list for our families, but I usually have ideas of what I want to get him already. This year I was in need of ideas)
After doing lots of research, P decided he really wanted the Ruffwear Approach Pack. Not for him to wear of course, but for Kona. The Approach Pack is essentially a harness with two built-in saddle bags that you can fill with all the necessary items when you go for extended hikes with your dog: water, snacks (for the dogs or you), first aid kit, etc.
P asked for the Approach Pack, which is intended for day hikes and is the smallest sized pack that Ruffwear offers. He discovered Ruffwear through a recommendation from a friend of ours who used one of their larger packs for multi-day hikes in the Rockies with her golden retriever.
I wasn’t sure about the idea, but after reading the online reviews I was sold. Many owners report that their dogs are excited to wear the packs and are more obedient and focused on the task when they are wearing them. Plus, a heavy pack tires them out sooner so daily walks do not need to be as long.
There’s a variety of sizes available so finding the right fit was pretty easy. I measured Kona and determined that at her current size she’s right at the bottom range of the Medium. Our neighbour H helped me out and measured Emma (we expect Kona to end up a similar size to her) who was in the middle of the Medium size range. So this one pack should last regardless of how big of a lab Kona turns out to be.
P loves taking Kona for short hikes on the various trails near our home and can’t wait to take her on longer ones. He put the pack on Kona a few times last week to get her used wearing it. Of course, very light loads (a Frisbee and an empty water bottle) were added to the pack.
Looks good on her, doesn’t it? She’s not quite sure what to think of it right now, but we’re confident that over time she will come to love carrying the pack.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit challenging to find the Ruffwear packs if you live in Canada as very few shops carry them and most of the online retailers are US-based and don’t ship to us. I was able to track it down at an online dog supply store based in Langley, B.C., Gear 4 Dogs – and it was at the lower price than anywhere else (even when shipping and taxes were included).