How To Get Your Dog In A Backpack Carrier

How To Get Your Dog In A Backpack Carrier

Hey! We get a lot of questions about how to get your dog into a K9 Sport Sack dog carrier and we want to make sure that you and your dog have the best experience possible.


Getting your dog in a backpack carrier is just like any other learned dog behavior and it may require some training. Just like you train your dog to use the bathroom outdoors or walk on a leash, you need to train your dog to get in the carrier. In our experience 50% of dogs will take to the K9 Sport Sack on the first try, 30% will need some coaxing with treats and praise, 15% will need more extensive training while 5% will not take to it no matter how good the training or treats. That means there is a 95% chance that with a little more patience and practice, your best friend will eventually come to love the K9 Sport Sack as much as you envisioned when you purchased it! 

A dog receives a treat before getting placed in a K9 Sport Sack carrier

A few things that you’ll need before starting this process are:

  • Your dog’s favorite treats.
  • A calm location, free of distractions.
  • The K9 Sport Sack backpack carrier of your choice.

Make sure to follow these steps in order every time you use the carrier. If you do these steps out of order you might confuse your dog and could make this process more difficult. Remember to be patient. While some dogs will get it the first time, and for some, it may take some training. If your dog is hesitant at first, this is TOTALLY normal, but just like any other learned dog behavior, practice makes perfect. 

Let’s get started!


A happy dog lifts its head to reveal a shiny collar clip for safety
    1. Position your dog in a sitting or standing position next to or on top of the unzipped and open carrier.
    2. Feed your dog’s front legs through leg holes one at a time and buckle the collar enclosure around the back of your dog's neck, this helps your dog to not pull their legs back inside the carrier.
    3. Make sure your dog is in the sitting or laying down position. Tuck their tail and place their hind legs into the bottom of the carrier. Carefully zip up the carrier to the top. When the zipper is at the top of the carrier, unbuckle the collar enclosure and feed the buckle through the zipper loop to secure the zipper. All K9 Sport Sack carriers have non-slip zippers. Safety is our biggest priority, that’s why we use the highest quality zippers possible on all of our carriers to ensure that your dog is safe and secure while in the carrier.
    4. Clip the lumbar straps and cinch them tight to support your dog's back while in the carrier. Tighten the side cinch straps. This will prevent your dog from leaning backward and will keep them in the upright position. If your carrier has a detachable storage bag, make sure to fasten it to the carrier for additional support.
    5. Attach the carabiner safety clip to your dog's collar or harness.
    6. Put the carrier on your back. There are two methods of doing this.

The Standard Method 

A man pulls his K9 Sport Sack on to his shoulder from an elevated, flat surface

Make sure the shoulder straps are loose, then grab underneath the shoulder straps, supporting underneath your dog’s front legs. Lift your dog onto an elevated surface, and safely prop them upright. Once they’re in a stable position, while holding the backpack loop with one hand, feed the opposite arm and shoulder through the shoulder strap. As you stand up, feed your other arm through the second shoulder strap. The proper way to tighten a K9 Sport Sack carrier is different from a regular backpack.

The Two-Person Method 

Have a friend carefully lift the backpack from behind, feed your arms and shoulders through the shoulder straps and place the carrier on your back. The person behind should lift the dog from the base so that it's easier to position the dog on your back. The carrier should be as high up on your back as possible. Once the carrier is in this position, tighten shoulder straps. 

A man helps another get his K9 Sport Sack carrier up and onto his shoulders from behind

    Make sure you are aware of your dog’s weight and your own physical strength before putting on the carrier. This could take a few tries before you get the hang of it. Clip and adjust the sternum strap and hip belt if your carrier has these features for additional support and comfort when carrying your dog.

    Pro Tips for Puppies & High Energy Dogs

    Puppies and high energy dogs might be a little squirmy during this process, but don’t panic. Stay patient and calm during this process and make sure to give your dog plenty of treats and belly scratches. This will help your dog feel more comfortable and safe with the carrier and have positive associations with being in and around the carrier. It’s totally normal if your dog is a little nervous the first time you try to put them in the carrier. Be patient, stay calm, and again, practice makes perfect!

    The more you use the carrier, the smoother this process will be for you and your dog. Pretty soon, your dog will be begging you for a ride because they know how much fun it is to be in a K9 Sport Sack dog carrier.

    If you have any questions please feel free to visit the contact us page on our website and our customer service team will be happy to help.

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    A dog enjoys a ride in a K9 Sport Sack backpack carrier

    Here's how to enter:

    Leave a comment down below about what you learned while following these steps and/or any insight you had while using our carriers.

    We are giving away 5 Tropical Air 2 backpack dog carriers!

    Winners will be announced via email and social media on 10/18/21

    Best of luck!