The Usefulness of Dog Backpacks

The Usefulness of Dog Backpacks

The use of a dog backpack is an awesome little tool for providing a harder workout in a much shorter amount of time.  Plus, it gives your pup a job to do and they love that!

Using the Backpack for Workout Purposes

For high-energy dogs that come into our care for daycare or boarding, we increase their workouts by having them sport a backpack, if we’re taking them on a normal leash walk and provided they meet the health and physical requirements.  The backpack is typically filled with either a) nothing, or b) items such as smaller water bottles.  Just walking for 20 minutes with a backpack filled with two, small water bottles (one on each side), the dogs are very tired after the walk is over!

A Tired Bear

If you’re not sure how to get started for your pup, start by making sure that your pup is healthy enough to have increased workouts of this magnitude and doesn’t sport any injuries by seeking your veterinarian’s advice.

Assuming your pup is healthy and able to wear the backpack, start first by getting him/her accustomed to it.  You can do this by just having him/her wear an empty backpack around the house J  When your pup is comfortable with it on, go for a short walk with your pup (just keep the backpack empty for your first walk).  Depending on how well he/she does, you can increase or decrease the time, leave the backpack empty or add weight to it (again, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian on the limitations or restrictions that you need to be aware of for your pup if you’re unsure)!

Giving Your Pup a J-O-B!

Dogs love to have purpose!  In fact, in a dog pack, everyone has a role to play—a purpose—so giving them a job is really something they would appreciate.

A job can consist of your pup carrying items around for you and bringing them to you command or simply having them wait or stay next to you until a project you’re working on is complete.  Below are a couple of simple examples.

A.  Let’s say you are in need of fixing a garden hose that has sprung a leak outside.  Place a roll of duct tape in a pocket on one side of your dog’s backpack and a water bottle on the other side (you never know, you may get really thirsty for some reason).  Have your pup follow you outside (always practice leadership) to where the infamous hose is, place your pup in a down/stay until you have fixed the evil leak.  Just simply giving your pup a job to do even though it isn’t physically exhausting will drain a lot of their mental energy because quite a few skills are being used just in this one simple exercise J

B.  For this second example, let’s say that you have a lot of gardening to do (I guess I have gardening on the mind, which is funny because the “green thumb” gene bypassed me!) and too many items to carry.  While you’re carrying the garden tools (this goes without saying but sharp items should NOT be placed in your dog’s backpack for safety reasons), your pup could be carrying items such as gloves, water, collapsible dog bowl (so that your pup can be hydrated, too), seed packets, bags and things of this nature.  As you work at weeding the garden and walking in between the garden rows, your pup will be following you.  Or you can simply put your pup in a down/stay in a particular spot, and call your pup to you to bring you something when you need it.  After he/she has completed the task, give them the command to go back to their spot and lay down/stay until the next time you call them.  Hopefully, their spot will be a shady spot because wearing backpacks makes one hot.  If you don’t have a shady spot in your garden, or if you’re wanting your pup to follow you walking through the rows, then just make sure you’re only performing the activity for no more than 30 minutes (quite possibly even less than 30 minutes depending on the needs of your pup, weather, etc.).  You can see the obvious skills that you will be using here in this exercise.

Both examples also strengthen you and your pup’s bond—a beautiful thing!

Another way the backpack can come in handy is if you’re busy working with your pup on breed exercises or other types of training such as SAR (Search and Rescue).  If it’s raining outside and you need something constructive to do with your pup indoors to help deplete his/her energy, you can put some items in the backpack and have your pup bring them to you.  This not only puts weight on him/her while moving but also gives a nice refresher on skills training using the commands such as “come”, “wait” or “stay”, “down” and whatever other commands you have taught or are teaching your pup.  Again, it also enhances your bond with your pup.

Bear ready to go

Reminder Tips:

  1. You need to make sure they don’t have any physical limitations
  2. You want to make sure to decrease the amount of time you normally walk them while they’re wearing a backpack (if you walk them typically 45 minutes per walk, start off walking them for 15 minutes with a backpack and increase slowly if necessary)
  3. Take a collapsible water bowl with you on your walks to make sure that your pup is stays sufficiently hydrated


Backyards: Your Pet’s Possible…Prison?!

“We have a great backyard!  Plenty of room for the dogs, kids, us…it’s awesome!  There’s a fence so Spot is secure…a great place for him to just run around and chill when he wants too, which is fantastic because he can get his exercise out in the backyard.”  What’s missing?  Planned and deliberate exercise, e.g., leash walks, leashed bike runs or off-leash running!

After the walk or run, it’s also a good idea to incorporate some breed exercises in your dog’s energy-reduction schedule.  A couple of breed exercise examples are as follows:


  • German Shepherds are of the working breed.  Have them carry a dog pack for 20 minutes or so.   Put a few things in it to weigh it down like a couple of water bottles and have your dog bring you the water every couple of minutes.  Make the full 20 minutes deliberate by commanding him/her the whole time
  • Huskies love to pull!  A great exercise for them would be to put a harness on them which is attached to a car tire (not too heavy or too light).  They can pull the tire to you as you call them from the other side of the yard


Additional notes … dogs are followers by nature.  They need leaders and if no one steps up to take the lead, they will out of necessity.  As their Pack Leader, they look to you to take care of their needs and establish boundaries, which also include exercising them.

Your dog’s need for exercise isn’t optional but rather a necessity.

Remember, a dog’s “energy tank” registers full every day for a fresh start!  What does your dog’s energy tank read today?

New Policy on Aggressive Dogs

Lately it seems like there has been an abundance of loose dogs running around in neighborhoods all over Woodland.  When walking dogs on leash, these loose dogs can often be annoying at most and primarily because the dogs walking with us on leash can lose their concentration and want to run and play with the “lucky one” running off leash.  In most cases, we’re able to throw out a command and make the wandering soul stay at a distance.  However, there are those days when we have the blessing of running into a stubborn soul that just has to meet the new “leashed” kids on the block 😉

Now concerning walking a known dog-aggressive dog on leash, running into these “free spirits” poses a different and quite dangerous problem.  They are not seen by the dog-aggressive dog as new buddies to go meet and play with; rather they are seen as targets.  Nine times out of ten, the loose dog will stay at a distance and decide not to approach us.  On the very rare occasion, however, this isn’t the case despite the actions of the leashed dog displaying volatile behavior, i.e., lunging, growling, baring teeth and so forth.

Even though we haven’t had an incident where a dog fight broke out (thanks in large part to people having called of their loose dogs in time or having an umbrella handy on a remembered occasion which aided in keeping the dogs separate until control could be established to both fur parties) while walking a dog on leash, the potential is definitely there and increasing as more and more loose dogs are found running the streets.

In lieu of this current problem, for clients who have dogs that are NOT dog-friendly and with regards to the service In-Home Visits, we have amended our policies under section “Securing Pet(s)”.  The addition to this section concerning aggressive dogs is noted as follows:

b) Aggressive dogs will not be walked for liability purposes unless they are muzzled.  If not muzzled, all exercise for aggressive dogs will consist of playtime and only on their property.”

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Dog Walks as an Independent Service No Longer Offered

We removed dog walking from our list of services to concentrate our resources to our most popular pet sitting services:  In-Home Visits, Dog Daycare and Dog Boarding.

When we relocated down to the valley back in 2004, dog walkers (professional and non-professional entities) were listing their service at a highly discounted rate, which was below our standard visit rate and which was the same amount of time–30 minutes.  To be competitive, we set up our dog walking rates to be competitive with theirs but just found it to not only be a pricing conflict but a service-scheduling conflict.  Therefore, this past July, we removed the dog walking service entirely.

Dog walks are still performed within the scope of an In-Home Visit routine in which the walks are 10-15 minutes of the 30 minute block of time.  Longer In-Home Visits can be reserved.  Please see our In-Home Visit service page for rates.

The ability to customize your pet’s care is also available.  Just let us know what your dog’s needs are and we’ll work with you to construct a service that meets his/her exercise needs, e.g., in-home visits mixed with partial daycare (if your dog meets the daycare criteria).

Service Change

This is a service change note.

As of July 26, 2012, we are no longer offering dog walks as an independent service.  In an effort to maximum and free up as much time as possible for our most popular [dog] services (dog boarding, daycare and related pet taxi service), we are removing our least requested dog-related service.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach us at

Truckee Pet Sitter Spotlight On: Truckee Tails

We receive numerous requests to date for in and around the Truckee-Tahoe area.  Though we still service clients and friends from the Bay Area to Truckee (specifically for boarding, daycare and pet taxing), many new people calling in are wanting to locate a local pet sitter in Truckee or the surrounding Tahoe area for pet sitting and/or doggie exercise.  So, we thought we would highlight an awesome Truckee pet sitter for you as a recommendation:  Truckee Tails Pet Sitting.

Lisa Purchard of Truckee Tails has been providing people with exhausted dogs since 1999.  She is bonded, insured, and certified in Pet CPR.

Truckee Tails

Lisa provides the best in the way of dog exercise:  Off-leash playgroups.  This service is an elite service providing the adventure and exploration opportunities that most pet owners wish for their dogs to have while traveling with them.  Majority of the dogs (I say majority leaving room for those rare pups who have Duracell batteries built in to them…LOL) are absolutely exhausted–but happily so–at the conclusion of their off-leash excursion with Lisa.  And, having an exhausted pup while on vacation is always a good thing!   With a tired pup, you will have the opportunity to take in the sights and events in the Truckee Tahoe area, focusing on yourself and those with you knowing that everyone (pups to of course) are enjoying themselves.

In conjunction with providing dogs extraordinary off-leash adventures, she also provides In-Home Visits (you’ll want to refer to her service areas in the Truckee area) so if you want to go out to a nice dinner on Lake Tahoe or even Donner Lake, you’ll be able to do so and in peace.

We receive numerous requests to date for in and around the Truckee-Tahoe area specifically for dog boarding or daycare.  Though we still service clients and friends from the Bay Area to Truckee (specifically for boarding, daycare and pet taxing), many new people calling in are wanting to locate a local pet sitter in Truckee or the surrounding Tahoe area. So, we thought we would give you some recommendations of sitters in the Truckee-Tahoe area.


[logo] In the Truckee area, if you’re looking for great off-leash dog hikes that will find you with an exhausted pup, check out Truckee Tails! Lisa Purchard of Truckee Tails has been providing people with exhausted dogs since 1999 and is the pet sitter of choice in Truckee. In conjunction with providing dogs extraordinary off-leash adventures that is sure to wear out even the most energetic of fur-kids, she also provides In-Home Visits (you’ll want to refer to her service areas in the Truckee area) so if you want to go out to a nice dinner on Lake Tahoe or even Donner Lake, you’ll be able to in peace.


Because most Tahoe Truckee property rental places disallow animals to be left in the rooms unattended, a few people look to board their dogs within the area. If you’re looking for cage-free dog boarding facilities, check out the following pet sitters who offer just this service:


  • Lucky Dogs

Owner: Meredith Hobbs [530-412-0683]

  • Northlake Dog Camp

Owner: Megan []

  • Canine Country Pet Pals

Owner: Debora Amaral []


If you prefer to leave your pups with us, we would love to care for them for you! Please refer to our Daycare page for our daycare and boarding criteria.



A Luxurious Ride with Tempur-Pedic

We’re constantly on the lookout for good deals that meet our needs and we found a GREAT deal in the use of Tempur-Pedic bath mats, which double as a bed and area liner in our “Pooch Mobile”.

Prior to coming across the idea of using a foam bath mat as a liner/dog bed for our truck, we were scouting for reasonably priced foam dog beds. The problems we found (just to name a few) were:

  • Too big and bulky
  • Too expensive
  • Wasn’t a good fit for muddy paws and wet dogs


You may be wondering why we were insistent on a foam-based bed and the answer is that our dogs, as well as some regulars we board, are getting up there in years. We wanted where they laid down to be easy on their joints; the inside of the truck was no exception. The difference between the truck and the house is that the truck gets really, really dirty–fast. So, we needed not just a foam bed but a liner for the interior (floor) where the water, dirt and muck wouldn’t ruin the newly-replaced carpet (at least not right away). The foam bath mats was just the trick!

The foam bath mats have a rubber lining and a foam top pad! It was the perfect solution for us so we bought–a few 😉  We purchased six to cover the entire area but could’ve gotten away with just buying five at the cost of $20 each mat.

The real test of this idea came when it was time for the dogs to “load up” for an outdoor hiking adventure (when dogs stay with us, we’re hiking, swimming and performing some serious outdoor adventures). And, what a difference these pads made! What we noticed right away was as follows:

  • The dogs immediately wanted to lay down (even the younger ones that like to stand)
  • The dirt and hair was surprisingly easy to remove (you can always dry shampoo the mats, too, at your local car wash)
  • The pads kept everything from reaching the carpet (even wet paws)


If you’re interested in purchasing some of these bath mats to try out for yourselves, you may be able to find a much better deal than we did. However, we went to Big Lots! to get ours because they are right down the road from us and generally have some pretty good deals most of the time.

We’ll probably end up getting more for the inside of the house, as well as, the deck.  Our dogs always love to lay on our Yoga mats the moment we pull them out for a workout so we’re thinking that they really enjoy the Tempur-Pedic mats just laying around the house 🙂

If you have any ideas that have worked out great for you, feel free to share in the way of a comment!

Product Review: Holt Dog Head Collar

Holt Dog Walking Collar

Quite often we receive questions about how to get dogs to heel and what collar to use to achieve a satisfied dog-walking result, which consists of the dog not pulling you a mile down the road, and it’s been our experience that different dogs respond differently pending variables that consist of their personality, their background, and possible behavioral issues.

On this note of choosing a collar that works for a dogs with specific behavioral issues, we decided to try out the Holt dog collar on two different guys:  1) A sweet boy who stayed with us who was armed with lots of energy, a great desire to pull but needed to wear a head collar due to an infection he had on his neck; and 2) An aggressive guy who tends to lunge at everything from people walking to other dogs to bikes, etc.  So, we had two different dogs with different reasons for sporting a head collar (though both shared the common denominator of being noted very high energy boys on the energy scale).

The Dynamic of the Holt:

The Holt collar works at correcting the dog at the muzzle when they’re not performing on their walk correctly.  Correcting at the muzzle is something that “mama” dogs do especially to older pups (when pups are very young, mother dogs tend to scruff them a lot), and it’s also followed by a specific bark mixed with a growl if you will.  So, as far as the collar simulating the mother’s correction, it obviously doesn’t mimic it exactly (lack of pronged teeth for the tooth effect of course) but at least corrects at the right location and does well otherwise.

An interesting safety feature, and the only feature that made this collar worth buying quite honestly in our opinion, is that it comes with a safety catch if you will.  There is a safety clip that hooks from the head collar to the dog’s regular collar so that on the off-chance he tries to get the head collar off and succeeds, the leash would still be affixed to his regular collar where escape wouldn’t be possible.  This is a huge pro especially if someone or something else distracts you for a moment during your walk and the dog has the head collar off before you can respond.

When we used the collar on our “foster fur-kid” (the name we give all pets that are in our care) with the neck infection, the results were favorable.  He responded instantly to the correction at the muzzle, as opposed to, correction via a pronged collar, which he responded to fairly well but as you know about prongs, they have a tendency to slip too far down the neck so you’re constantly stopping the walk, repositioning the collar to sit at the base of the skull (where correction is received) before you can begin to resume your walk correctly and effectively.

Now, when we used the Holt collar on our little “red case” sweetie who has  aggressive tendencies, you would have thought you were watching a rodeo!  However, after bucking and doing his best to get the muzzle off, in between corrections, he finally succumbed to it and walked pleasantly.  The benefit of this collar for him was that it acted as a restraint because of the collar fitting over the muzzle.  A kudos for the collar to say the least!

At the conclusion of the trial for this collar, at least for the above two dogs with their specific behavioral issues, the collar worked well.

Remember, whatever collar you choose to put on your dog, you first have to be the pack leader.  This will be noted in your attitude and the way you carry yourself 🙂  No collar will work unless you have the basic dynamics of such leadership established and understood—first.

Exclusive European Style Boarding

KYPSAH offers–and has offered–European style boarding since 2004.

What is European Dog Boarding

European style boarding is a cage-free style of boarding where the dogs live as a pack within our home.  In a nutshell, the dogs that partake in sleepovers become like our dogs and live with our family:  They sleep in the house with us just like our own dogs do.  This is the difference between us and a kennel:  There is 24/7 supervision around-the-clock and the dogs that stay with us are in a home—not a “home-like” environment.

Typical Day

A typical day at our home consists of waking up and letting the dogs outside to do their business first-thing.  Afterwards, we exercise them prior to eating breakfast (a dog that may have a medical condition will quite possibly be on his/her own routine where they have to eat first).

Play time

During the course of the day (before and after breakfast), the dogs get a lot of exercise that starts in the morning—weather-permitting.  There are structured leash walks (this means the dogs are not allowed to lead but follow a strict, disciplined walk), skate sessions (this is a good exercise for those that have an abundance of energy), group exercise play after the walk and skate sessions are done (this exercise is only for dogs that are up to playing and do not have physical conditions that prevent such exercise; dogs are also sized up to play with dogs of like-size) and breed exercises.

Among exercising them and throughout their stay with us, they are also rules and boundaries they must adhere to.  Consequently, we keep them burning psychological energy as well by issuing commands when needed, i.e., “out of the kitchen” as the kitchen is off-limits.

After all of the physical exercising, the dogs generally rest for a while and lounge around the rest of the day.

What We Provide

We provide everything:  Toys, treats, beds and all the love they can handle.  The only thing you need to provide is their food.  Homemade diets and medications are also taken care of at no additional charge; you just need to provide the food and we’ll cook it for them as per your instructions.

An Exclusive Style of Boarding

Our dog boarding style is rather exclusive as we only take in a select few on a nightly basis, and since this service is an informal service, it is offered to those people who feel that their pets need more than our other services can offer them.  Therefore, this service is solely for the benefit of the dogs to meet their unique, personal needs, as well as, their owners to give them peace of mind knowing that their dogs are getting the most attention possible.  With this being said, our informal dog boarding service books up very fast and especially around the Holidays.

Thanksgiving 2006

What Type of Dogs We Normally Keep

The types of dogs that really benefit from this style of boarding are as follows:

  • Dogs that are used to having people around them all day
  • Breeds that long for a lot of human interaction
  • Dogs that have health conditions, i.e., Diabetes, seizures that need to be monitored closely
  • Dog families that need to stay together

Important Notes

  1. We do not discriminate among breeds.  We accept all breeds provided the dog meet all of the criteria.
  2. All dogs from one family must meet the criteria—no exceptions.

Now Taking 2012 Reservations!

We are now accepting 2012 reservations!

Please review the following dates for when we are scheduling to be closed and/or only offering minimal services:


  • Saturday, January 7: CLOSED
  • Friday, February 24: Dog Boarding only
  • Saturday, February 25: Dog Boarding only
  • Saturday, March 24: CLOSED
  • Sunday, April 15: CLOSED
  • Saturday, May 19: CLOSED
  • August 13 – 19: CLOSED
  • Sunday, September 9: CLOSED
  • Thanksgiving: CLOSED
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: CLOSED


Okay, now for a little clarification as to the changes this coming year.  The reason we chose Saturdays or Sundays to close was two-fold:


  • We decided to close/offer minimal services on the Saturday or Sunday that surrounded a birthday. We’ve always held birthdays in high regard so this coming year, we decided to take a little time off.
  • The reason we chose either a Saturday or Sunday (even if the birthday fell on a weekday) was so that we didn’t interfere with our client’s work schedule (since we service clients by walking dogs and giving them potty-breaks during the week while our clients are at work).


A big change that you’ll see on the above list is that, for the first time since we opened back in February of 2004, we’ve decided to take one year and not work on  Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  This is a HUGE change for us, and we hope that everyone understands 🙂

Here’s wishing you and yours an early Happy New Year!  We look forward to servicing you this coming year.