Holly’s track on this afternoon’s walk

Holly’s track on this afternoon’s walk

This is why Holly was wearing the backpack in the picture from the park earlier.

Not only do I think it a good idea that she get used to carrying her own water etc when we go on longer hikes, but the Dog Whisperer says that working dogs need to feel they are working, and a backpack is a good way to give them that feeling. So I ordered this Ruff Wear Approach II backpack for her (in x-small- but it fits her really well) and it came today.

I wasn’t sure how she would take to it, but she seemed not to mind it at all after the first 5 minutes and romped around chasing other dogs and tennis balls just like usual. It’s really well designed with a “Y” shaped band that goes around her neck that joins to a padded band around her chest with another around her belly.

I didn’t load much, just a small bottle of water and a spare tennis ball along with my Garmin eTrex Venture HC GPS- and that’s the other reason I thought it’d be fun for Holly to be able to carry things. Ever since I discovered how easily my G1 phone does a GPS track with an app called My Tracks, I thought it’d be interesting to compare my track on a walk with Holly’s. I’ve always reckoned that a dog probably walks at least twice as far as as you do on a walk, so I’m going to find out by tracking me walking with my phone, and Holly with the eTrex at the same time, and then comparing the tracks.

The G1 uploads direct to Google Maps, and with a little help from a great website called GPS Visualizer it’s turned out to be pretty easy to convert the eTrex output into a Google map too. This was the first test to see how Holly handled the backpack and how the eTrex handled being bumped around on a dogs back- and it seems to have worked pretty well! I set this one up to change color over distance so all the overlapping shows up, and as you can see she covered over 2 miles running after her tennis ball, and you can easily tell where I stood in the middle and threw the ball in all directions for her and the other dogs who were there. The track from the eTrex doesn’t import all the fun things like average speed, time moving etc. like the track from the phone does, but it does record all that stuff so I can just add that manually.

So… watch this space- I hope to try and do a walk with a human/dog comparison track on Friday 🙂

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