Tips & Tricks to get your Dog in a K9 Sport Sack

A young man with a brittany spaniel on his back in a K9 Sport Sack Plus 2 backpack carrier

If you have landed on this blog post you may be among dog owners who have tried the bag out and are struggling to get yourself and/or your dog 100% comfortable with it.

Don't worry! You aren't alone and it's perfectly normal needing a little additional help when using the K9 Sport Sack. 

This post will go over some helpful tips, tricks, and FAQ's to help you and your pup have the best possible experience with the K9 Sport Sack.

Use the Correct Method for Getting Your Dog in the K9 Sport Sack 

The first step of using the K9 Sport Sack is getting your pet in the carrier. 

Many people and their pets get frustrated if they are unsuccessful on the first or second try and will proceed to return the bag because it “does not work for my pet”. It is totally normal for your dog to not get into the bag the first time you try. 

If you are struggling to get your dog into the bag click here. Using the correct method with a bit of patience, you and your dog will soon be ready to go on adventures.

Use All Safety, Sizing, and Comfort Features on Your Carrier

All bags come equipped with standard safety features. These will help you and your dog have the best experience using the K9 Sport Sack. 

  • Carabiner Collar Clip: This prevents your dog from getting out of the bag.

  • Side Cinch Straps: This helps keep your dog in a forward position and not lean backwards. Be sure to tighten these down as much as they can. 

  • Collar Enclosure: This will ensure that your dog doesn't force itself up and out of the bag and helps prevent leaning as well. Be sure to tighten this enough.

  • Lumbar Straps: These straps support your dog's back as well as cinch the carrier tighter around your dog for a more snug fit.

  • Zipper Loop: Thread collar enclosure buckle through the zipper loop found on each of our models to ensure that the zipper stays fastened. All of our carriers come equipped with non-slip zippers, but this is an additional feature we recommend using.

  • Side Ventilation: All K9 Sport Sack backpack carriers come equipped with ventilation to provide airflow to your pet to keep it from overheating.

Wearing the Bag Correctly

By wearing the bag correctly you will maximize you and your pet’s comfort and experience. Once you have your dog securely in the bag, you will want to carefully place your dog on your back. 

If you find yourself needing to put the carrier on alone, please click here to watch a video on how this is done.

Now that your dog is on your back, pull down and tighten both shoulder straps (circled in red below) so your dog is resting above your shoulders.

Doing this will make wearing the carrier more comfortable for you and your dog. It also gives your dog a better view, similar to them sticking their head out of a car window. 

Many people feel that they have tightened their straps to the max, and their dog is still not above their shoulders.

If you are feeling your dog is too low on your back, lean forward, and pull down on the shoulder strap to adjust the bag up. 

If you have someone with you, have them lift up on the bottom of the bag (lifting your dog up higher) as you tighten the shoulder straps.

We will address more about using your shoulder straps below in the FAQ section!

“Practice, We Talkin About Practice?” -A.I.

Nothing will help you and your dog get used to the carrier more than practice. We recommend as soon as you get your dog into the K9 Sport Sack, associate the bag immediately with a positive experience.

You can use treats, go outside or even walk around your house. This will help your dog associate the K9 Sport Sack with a great time and help you have more success in future adventures together. 

We also recommend the first few tries in the carrier that you do something short and easy. Many of you have never carried a live pet on your back so it is important that you and your pet become 100% comfortable and capable for future use. 

Keeping Your Dog Content Once He/She Is In the K9 Sport Sack

With practice and fun associated with the backpack carrier, each time should be easier than the last. It is important to understand the queues your pet is giving you while in the carrier. 

Keep treats nearby and recognize when your pet needs a break from the backpack to run around and stretch out.

We recommend having your dog in the bag for no longer than 30-45 minutes at a time. 

Using Your Carrier For Safe Activities

Once you and your dog feel confident to use the carrier, please remember to use your carrier for safe activities. 

Please be mindful of your physical capabilities and the extra moving weight of your dog on your back.

We recommend using the carrier only for activities you feel 100% safe to participate in.

K9 Sport Sack does not assume any liability for accidents of any kind. 

FAQs about using the K9 Sport Sack

1. Why does the bag sit so low on my back?
Pull down on both shoulder straps to lift your bag up. If you are with another person, have them gently lift the base of the carrier up as you pull down on the shoulder straps. 
If you find yourself alone, lean forward and pull down on the straps. Your dog should be able to see over your shoulder and rest their paws there as well. 

If you’ve done this and your dog is still sitting low in the carrier, please call 385 515 8908, send us a message on social media, or email for additional support. 

You may also want to exchange for a different size or get a booster block.

2. Why does my dog lean backwards?

Some dogs really love to lean back into the K9 Sport Sack. This is completely normal and natural.

Please make sure you have tightened your collar enclosure and side cinch straps to help your dog stay forward in the bag.

The new Air 2 and Plus 2 models have a changed design to the side cinch straps and collar enclosure to help ensure this problem is fixed. 

3. Why does my dog pull their front paws back into the carrier?

If you have the right size and are wearing the carrier correctly, it’s not a problem if  your dog prefers to ride in the K9 Sport Sack with their paws inside of the carrier. 

However, if your dog is too small for the bag and isn’t able to put their paws through the arm holes, you need to either exchange the bag out for the right size or get a booster block to give your dog a lift inside the carrier. 

You may also need to pull the collar enclosure a bit tighter and make sure the carabiner clip is clipped to your dog’s collar. 

4. Why is the shoulder strap buckle digging into my armpit? 

This problem usually happens when your dog is riding too low on your back.  Refer to FAQ #1, which explains how to raise the backpack higher up on your shoulders.

This should relieve the pressure under your armpits and distribute the weight more evenly.

If you feel the bag is digging into your armpits, grab both shoulder straps and pull down to adjust the straps out of your armpits.

Ensure your dog is riding high on your back and then tighten shoulder straps.

Most people will tighten the shoulder straps before the dog is riding high on their back causing the buckles to dig. 

Another helpful tip is to tighten the chest clip if your model comes with one

If this is still causing discomfort, we recommend loosening the shoulder straps slightly to alleviate that pain. 

5. How to tell if the K9 Sport Sack is too big or small before making the exchange? 

Before making the decision to exchange, make sure that your dog is sitting in the bag and not standing.

It’s common for your dog to initially stand but will eventually settle into the carrier very similarly to the begging position.

Once your dog is settled in, a clear indicator of the carrier being the wrong size is where your dog’s collar is in relation to the carrier.

If your dog’s collar is sticking out 6+ inches outside of the bag, the carrier is too small. 

If your dog seems to be too low and drowning in the fabric, the carrier is too big. Consider getting a booster block if your dog is riding too low in the carrier instead of exchanging the entire bag. 

Please call 385 515 8908 email, or send us a message on social media for additional support before exchanging or returning. 

6. Why won't my dog get into the K9 Sport Sack? 

This issue generally occurs when people use the wrong method of getting their dog into the bag. 

Ensure you start with the dog's paws first instead of their bottom. Click here to watch a helpful video of the correct method. 

Using treats, praise, and patience goes a long way to helping your dog get into the carrier. 

If you find yourself in a location or environment where there are a lot of distractions, take your dog alone to a calm and quiet place and try there.


We hope this post will be able to help you and your dog have the best experience with the K9 Sport Sack. 

Please don't hesitate to reach out via phone, email, or on social media with any follow up questions you may have!

- The K9 Sport Sack Team