I saw a video on Facebook a few days ago of a puppy happily being carried around in a bag. Yes, that’s it. It should have just been a sweet little video that makes people smile and then move on. But it’s never quite that simple on Facebook is it? Some people have so many strong opinions and they all have to be expressed!
Anyway, back to this puppy in a bag. It got the expected heated reactions. Put it on the ground, it’s got legs. Whatever happened to a collar and leash? It’s not a fashion accessory, it’s a dog. Never heard of a puppy being hurt from a good old walk. Poor dog, stuck in that bag. Yep, people think that they know the full story from that short video and they all know best. But they really, really don’t!
Herbie goes in a bag. Herbie has been used to being carried around in bags since his first week home with us. He now goes in a bag twice a day, every week day. Yes, I totally bought him to make him into a fashion accessory, and no, I don’t understand that he’s a real dog, a proper hound. I’ve overlooked that he has legs!
So what’s the full story?
Before puppies are fully protected by their vaccinations they can’t go down on the ground in public places, due to the risk of catching diseases. But as a puppy’s prime socialisation period is when they’re 8-16 weeks old it’s in their interests to be taken out into the world to experience as much as they can before this never to be repeated window closes. So you carry them around if you know what you’re doing and if you’re a responsible and caring owner. There’s a good reason for a dog in a bag.
Once a puppy can go on the ground, it’s worth getting it used to walking on a lead. This in itself is a training exercise, it doesn’t always just happen. However, puppies bones and joints are soft and still forming so it’s important not to over exercise them on a lead, it’s recommended they have just five minutes lead walking per month of their age. So yes a 12 week old pup can go out on a lead, but only for a 15 minute walk, no more. This might mean that you walk them for a while and then carry them for the rest of the time. Aha, another responsible and caring reason for a dog in a bag.
And what about Herbie at 5 months old? It’s advised that you don’t leave a puppy whilst they’re still young as they still need you. And so he comes everywhere with me, including the school run. But understandably dogs can’t be walked onto the school grounds so I take him in his bag to enable me to safely take my kids to their classroom doors. He’s in the bag, that he often chills out and naps in or nibbles happily on his chew in, to ensure that he’s still happy and safely with me, rather than crying for me left at home. That’s actually the only time he’s in his bag, if he’s out with us any other time he’s happily walking and sniffing along and believe me when I say that he gets plenty of walks, playtime, exercise, fun and attention. This pup wants for nothing!
There are then those dogs recovering from illnesses, surgery, struggling with old age, recovering from reactive and stressful situations, need I go on? There are plenty of reasons for a dog to be in a bag. And all of these have the dog’s best interests at heart. All of these owners know that dogs are dogs and not accessories.
So the take away point here? If you spot a dog in a bag, don’t jump to conclusions. The chances are very slim that that dog lives his entire life in that bag, aren’t they?