I bet every dog owner, at some point, wished they had a treadmill for their dog. That’s especially true during cold winter months, when it’s pouring rain or when we’re having a really lazy day – it happens to the best of us! Regardless of the reason, it is well worth teaching your dog how to use a treadmill as it’s a great tool that serves many purposes. It can assist with:
- Weight management
- Burning off excess energy
- Stress relief
- Conditioning for canine athlete
- Assist with rehabilitation from injuries
- Substitute for outdoor exercise during extreme weather conditions or while the owner is unwell
How To Teach a Dog To Use a Treadmill
The most important thing to keep in mind when teaching your dog to use a treadmill is to never use force. Give them time to get familiar with the equipment and accustomed to the sound it makes. Here are some easy steps to get started:
- Let he dog smell the treadmill and reward them for their interest
- Lure your dog onto the treadmill and reward them while they’re standing on it
- Turn it into a game: jumping on and off the treadmill, each time encourage your dog to stay on it a bit longer. Give them a reward while they are standing on the treadmill
- Turn on the treadmill while your dog is in the room, but not on it. Let them get familiar with the sound the treadmill makes.
- Put a flat collar or harness on your dog and a leash *NEVER tie your dog to the treadmill* this will help you assist your dog while the treadmill is moving
- Turn on the treadmill to the lowest setting and help your dog ease into a steady pace. Don’t force them to stay on the treadmill if the want to get off, reward a steady, relaxed pace and repeat, repeat, repeat until your dog feels comfortable and at ease.
- You can slowly increase the speed and the cardio workout will become its own reward for your dog.
Don’t get discouraged, it can take many weeks before your dogs starts getting the hang of it.
Once your dog becomes comfortable with the treadmill remember to:
- Increase the duration and speed in small increments over a period of time
- Don’t forget to do a warm up and cool down
- Don’t feed or water your dog immediately before or after exercising as this may cause bloat.
- Take your dog for a potty break before and after using the treadmill
- Always supervise your dog while on the treadmill