We scoured through the best advice on how to train and teach our dogs to love to walk on the treadmill and do exercises. There are a million tips out there, so we compiled the best ones and came up with a step-by-step guide. Check it out!
The first advice is to be patient with your pet dogs. It is not realistic to turn on the machine and order your dog to go into it with full gusto and willingness. Remember when you first brought that treadmill home? You were intimidated by it too. So before starting, please understand that you have to be extra careful with your pet dog in this activity, this can be intimidating to them.
Get to know your dog
Another important aspect to look at before starting any training and treadmill exercises for your dog, get to know him first. Trust me, this will make the rest of the process easier. Try to ask yourself, what motivates your dog? Is it play, food, or toys? Is he scared of loud mechanical sounds? How trusting is he of you? All of these would play a great part in introducing treadmill exercises with your pets. Use food to engage food motivated pups, or toys when they are more responsive to that.
Make him/her feel comfortable
Do not start running or walking on a treadmill on the first go. For the first week or two, start simple. Entice your dog up the treadmill with it turned off. Place treats, water, or his favorite toy on top of the treadmill. Practice simple commands that he already knows so he understands that he should listen to you when he is on top of the treadmill. Ask him to sit, lie down, roll over, or any simple commands. Do this two or three times a day to make your dogs feel comfortable on top of the treadmill. Another important part is making sure he sees you using the treadmill.
Prepare a command
When your dog is already comfortable on the treadmill, prepare a unique command so he knows that it is “play on the treadmill time.” Unique commands that you don’t usually use like “mount” and “dismount.” At this point do not turn the treadmill on just yet. I know it’s been a long time to this point, but remember rule number 1, “be patient.” When you are more comfortable or you feel that your dog is comfortable enough, then proceed to the next step, otherwise keep building that trust and comfort level on the treadmill. Also, continue letting him see you walk and run on the treadmill.
When you feel that your dog is ready, clip a leash on him as if you are about to go out on a walk. Lead him nose up on the treadmill at the slowest possible pace. Guide him and observe his gait. If he walks slow, maintain the speed, if he is more comfortable and seems ready, slowly increase your speed. Stop the exercise at any time that you see panic or mistrust in your dog’s eyes or body language. Repeat this process until he is comfortable enough on the treadmill.
Walk with him/her
Never, ever leave your dog to walk alone on the treadmill especially on the initial stage, and even on the later stages. When he is on the treadmill walking, stand beside him the same way that you would do when out on a walk.
Teach your dog how to stop and dismount
Teach your dog how to stop and dismount. Remember your clumsy self when you first started using the treadmill? Remember how dumb you felt? Don’t let your dog feel the same way.
Notice how we did not name our article, “seven easy steps to teach your day how to enjoy treadmill exercises?” Because we know this would not be easy especially if it involves a weird mechanical contraption that makes weird noises and our fur family members. Our goal here is to introduce them to the treadmill so that they would learn to be comfortable in the machine and not be intimidated or fear it on the way to even more activities that they can enjoy while exercising and burning up pent energy.
To close this article out, here are a couple of tips that would help a great big deal training and teaching your dogs to love treadmill exercises.
Extra tips for a dog treadmill training
Do not face walls
Position your treadmill on a floor-length window or place a picture or painting of wonderful scenery in front of your treadmill. Your dog has enough sense in him to not start practicing on a foreign contraption which simulates walking towards a wall. Trust us, this makes it a lot easier.
Celebrate small success
Celebrate small success with treats, belly rubs, and a whole lot of “good boy/girl rubs.” Does he step on the treadmill for the first time? Instant treats. Sitting for the first time on the treadmill? Give him a belly rub. First time walking? Shower him with “good job buddy.”