Earlier this month I posted a picture on Dog Jaunt’s Facebook page of a colleague of my husband’s carrying Winston, her Boston Terrier, on her shoulders after he’d signaled that he’d had enough of that particular day hike, thank you very much. Reader Tracy added a comment recommending the “Tough Traveler dog perch backpack,” and I spotted an opportunity: I’d heard about the Dog Perch, and I suspect I could get one sent to me for evaluation, but you’d be better off hearing about it from someone who’s used it extensively, and positively enjoys hiking. Tracy’s relatively new to the Dog Jaunt community, and was likely surprised when I pounced, but she unhesitatingly and kindly agreed to share her thoughts about the product:
“We have two Japanese Chins, Josie and Charlie. We take them everywhere we can and have always had a stroller for them to ride in at events like outdoor festivals where they enjoy being off the ground and not in danger of getting stepped on by crowds. When we moved to the Pacific Northwest from the Dallas, Texas area we were excited to get near some beautiful hiking trails in a more temperate climate.
Because they are brachycephalic, Josie and Charlie overheat more easily than some other dog breeds. In addition, Josie is also half the size as Charlie so has to walk twice as fast to keep the same pace. They both can get tired or hot on hikes. We would often end up carrying one or the other for part of the hike and when they were hot, that just made them and us warmer. In addition, even carrying a small dog becomes quite a load. We needed a solution to be able to hike year round and keep everyone comfortable.
I’ve owned front packs for dogs but the ones I have found do not have a secure floor for the dog to stand on, and neither of them like the packs where their legs dangled. I didn’t like the packs that look like regular backpacks because (1) either the dog is basically being carried backwards in a cage, or (2) is bundled up and too warm.
I did quite a bit of research on packs looking for something that would be comfortable to wear, comfortable for the dog to ride in, and also allow me some access to them while they were in the pack. Although it was pricey we decided on the Dog Traveler Dog Perch Backpack.
Not only can I now carry them comfortably but it also has a pocket for things like my wallet, keys, water etc…. Josie is 11 pounds and Charlie is 22 pounds. They both fit comfortably by themselves and seem to enjoy the ride. I have crammed both of them in together when we got off track on the internal trails in Point Defiance Park and had to walk much further to where we had parked than we meant to (if you haven’t walked those trails, it is ridiculously easy to get lost).
They walk most if not all of the trail and I just wear the pack. When and if one of them needs a ride, we load them up and away we go. It makes it much easier to choose to do an unknown path because we have a method of transportation for them if we need it.”
Thank you so much, Tracy!! Please note that the Dog Perch backpack at the top of the Tough Traveler page Tracy and I have both linked to is designed for people between 5′ and 5’11” tall, and is optimized for dogs “up to about 22 lbs.” If you are taller than 5’11”, or your dog is larger than 22 lbs., you have alternatives: The company’s child carrier comes in a number of sizes (including one — the “Stallion” — which fits folks up to 6’6″ tall), and it can accommodate a “Dog Perch Seat” accessory that comes in two sizes (the largest pet size I see mentioned is 26 lbs.). The options could be clearer, frankly; I suggest calling the company (1-800-468-6844 or 1-800-GO-TOUGH) and talking through your needs with them before placing your order.