I am planning to hike a section of the Bruce Trail next year with my German Shepherd. It's mostly low hills but every once in a while I run into vertical ladders.

How can I carry my German Shepherd up and down ladders?

He is not trained with ladders in any way right now but I can work on it, I have time.

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    Unfortunately I cannot tell you how, but at least that it works: The "dog unit" of the Swiss army had a joint demonstration with us, where we led them along wire bridges, abseils and up/down ladders. I believe they could have even been German Shepherds, at least they were big for sure. They were carried in harnesses in the chest area. It did look both scary and a bit ridiculous, especially when the human carrying the dog was rather small and light, but it apparently worked.
    – imsodin
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 19:40
  • Check out Julius K9. They have special harnesses to carry dogs. A bit pricey though but might be worth it.
    – Techie_Gus
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 20:04
  • Search YouTube on training a dog on a ladder
    – paparazzo
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 17:05
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    There is a related question and answer How would I get my dog down from our 3rd floor bedroom if there was a fire? at our sister site for pets. Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 17:41
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    Are you sure dogs allowed on the section of trail with ladders? Per source, they are not allowed on parts of the trail. Where dogs are permitted, keep dogs on a leash and under control at all times. Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


What you probably need is a dog carry harness (pictured below)

They're relatively easily purchased, though mostly people have them for small rather than large dogs. Finding one rated for an Alsatian may be harder but they're certainly made for military and police use.

You'll need to practice carrying in a controlled environment as much for your own safety as training the dog to the harness.

Holstered attack dog

  • 2
    Lol, that photo made me smile :D
    – fgysin
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 12:57

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