Treadmill Training For Dogs: Dos and Don’ts?

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Dogs, like humans, really need a reasonable exercise, and what’s better than treadmill training for dogs in this regard?

Long walks and running together are an ideal way to keep your dog in good shape. But, unfortunately, not everyone has the strength and time to provide their dogs a pleasant walk often enough. As a solution, a treadmill machine was developed for animals who cannot count on jogging with their carer. The machine not only helps to maintain an active movement, but also to form beautiful shape, and to recover after injuries.

Who Needs to Run on a Treadmill?

  1. Dogs who are obese and not very mobile
  2. Dogs who attend exhibitions
  3. Dogs who participate in sports, working, and sledding,
  4. Dogs with ordinary and high physical activity
  5. Dogs with excess energy (from so-called ADHD)
  6. Dogs who undergo orthopedic surgery.

The Benefit of Treadmill Training For Dog

The benefits of treadmill training for the dog are many. In case you have a healthy dog, and you teach your dog to use a treadmill, you will achieve, 

  • Improvement of gait and posture
  • Ideal rhythm and pace of steps in the ring for dogs shows
  • Fitness improvement
  • Weight loss
  • Discharge of excess energy, which otherwise dogs can use in a way not necessarily liked by their owners;).

In case your dog needs treadmill training for rehabilitation purposes (on the prescription of your veterinarian) you can achieve:

  • Quick recovery after orthopedic and neurological procedures,
  • Improvement in motor skills in degeneration and paralysis of limbs by renewing motor memory
  • Prevention of muscle atrophy
  • Strengthen selected muscle groups
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Increased endurance
  • Improved cardiovascular efficiency
  • Effective prevention in the treatment of obesity
  • Improvement in the motor skills and comfort of life for older dogs

How to Teach Your Dog to Use Treadmill?

Teaching the dog to get onto a treadmill is undoubtedly not easy, and with little knowledge, it can become dangerous too. So here, we give a detailed guide on how to teach your dog to use a treadmill with all its do’s and don’ts. Read on!

Dos and Don’ts of Treadmill Training for Dogs

Like many other training manuals, there are dos and don’ts of that should be noted to teach your dogs to use treadmill such as:

Dos of Treadmill Training for Dogs 

  1. Start accustoming the pet to the simulator while it is still off.
    Take the dog on a leash and bring it to the running belt. Give the dog time to get comfortable, sniff, and study the track, as dogs with unusual objects usually do. Then say the phrase “treadmill,” emphasizing with an intonation that this is a good thing. Praise your dog for learning the simulator. Be sure to repeat the dog’s nickname and the phrase “treadmill” often so that he remembers what it is called.
  2. Move away from the track with the dog for a couple of minutes, go back and try again. Repeat this for several days without starting the track until you are sure that your dog is no longer afraid of it.
  3. As soon as you understand, that your dog is approaching the track without fear and almost does not study it. Put your dog on a leash again and go to the running belt with the dog, and then get off. Praise the dog even more, this time. Repeat this part of the workout until the dog stops hesitating before entering the track. Remember that you can use all the tricks to lure him to the track, but never try to force him to do it.
  4. When your dog learns to stand steadily off the track, try turning it on at the lowest available speed. The dog can start to shake even from the noise of the machine turning on, not to mention the fact that under its paws, the track will begin to move. Try to turn the attention of the animal to yourself, show how you calmly and confidently walk, that you are not worried about what is happening, and want your dog to do the same. If your dog is used to obeying you, he will try to overcome his fear and will surely catch the rhythm of movement. Gradually, you can try to get off the track and give the dog more space. In any case, do not go far! Stand right next to it, with a leash in one hand, and cheer the dog up with the whole look. In your other, you can hold something tasty to give it to the dog and from time to time. With that, keep stretching out his hand to the beginning of the path so that the dog runs there and does not trail at the end of the canvas — the principle of “a donkey running for a carrot” works. On the one hand, the animal himself likes to run like this, but on the other hand, he does not quite understand what is happening and why this should be done. A small prize, in the form of his favorite treat, will create the motive he needs. Do not forget to praise your pet.
  5. If your dog jumps off the canvas, as soon as it starts to move, grab it with your hands and put it back, only gently and carefully, do not scold him, so as not to fix the negative feelings. In this case, stay with him on the running belt for a longer time so that he becomes comfortable. Then ask someone else to help you with the “bait” that needs to be kept ahead, as described above.
    Make sure that the track at this stage works stably at the lowest speeds.
  6. After you complete steps 4 and 5 several times on different days, you can proceed to a smooth increase in speed. Closely monitor all movements of the pet while it is on the treadmill.
  7. At the beginning of training, the dog should be on a leash at all times. Remove it only when you notice that the dog is enthusiastically and confidently running. You can try to do it quietly. Do not forget to give goodies and vigorously praise.
  8. Allow your dog to achieve some results independently; do not force him if something goes wrong. Slow down if he suddenly starts to lag and increase it if he is lazy, but he can do more. The first training should be no more than 5 minutes, then try to increase it to 20. Before running, it is better to arrange a warm-up. Try to get your dog to run regularly, and not from time to time, to train yourself in the mechanism. Be sure to let the animal move if it is raining, or other bad weather outside. Or, you cannot walk outside, but do not replace outdoor jogging with a simulator. If the window is sunny and dry – the dog may consider this to be a form of punishment and not pleasure and will be reluctant to run on. With all your appearance, emphasize all the advantages of running on the track, and your dog will always be happy to join you in training. In this way, you will help each other to keep fit. It’s more fun together!

Don’ts of Treadmill Training for Dogs 

  1. Do not neglect socializing. A treadmill is a simulator for keeping your pet in good physical shape, do not neglect socialization. Try to walk your dog on the street and let her communicate with other dogs. Be persistent and purposeful. Dogs need regular daily activities, not just periodic weekend activities!
  2. Do not deal with the dog immediately after feeding it. Before starting your workout, wait at least 1 hour, optimally 2 hours. Training on a full stomach, especially in dog breeds of large breeds and a rough chest, can lead to an inversion of the intestines and stomach.
  3. Do not start regular classes on a treadmill with puppies of small breeds until they reach six months of age, and with puppies of large breeds – up to nine months. Excessive load on the joints during the period of active growth can lead to problems in the formation of bones and cartilage, which will become a problem in adulthood. Use the early age of your pet to accustom him to the track well, practicing with them no more than 5 minutes a day.
  4. Never leave your dog alone on a treadmill, especially when tired.

Things to consider before starting a treadmill Training for your dog

Before starting the treadmill training for dogs, it is essential to consider the following points:

  1. Consult your veterinarian, especially if your dog is not young, or if she has been injured or has a predisposition to diseases of the musculoskeletal system or heart.
  2. The dog should always have access to freshwater – before and after training.
  3. Before training, the dog should be well walked.
  4. The beginning and end of each workout should be a quiet walk for 5 minutes.
  5. Age and breed are the main factors that should determine the amount and level of training your pet has.
  6. Small and old dogs usually do not need the same physical exertion as large or young dogs. However, your task is to determine the optimal training regimen. If in doubt, consult a competent veterinarian for help. Typically, for domestic dogs, approximately 30-40 minute lessons are sufficient. Some dogs can be trained twice a day for 30 minutes; some dogs will have to break the 30-minute training into short approaches throughout the day.
  7. If your dog is overweight, combine training with switching to the right feeding regimen. Do not rush to train the dog to the track. For the first time, it’s enough that she just walked along the path for 5-10 minutes. Do not forget to encourage the dog with small pieces of a delicious treat.
  8. Increase your walking time by 2 minutes daily until the dog gets used to the trainer. When the dog begins to walk confidently and calmly for 20 minutes, it also gradually increases the speed of movement (by about 1-1.5 km / h per lesson).
  9. Carefully monitor the condition of the dog before and during the training sessions. Make sure that it is physically stable and doesn’t have any heart, muscular, joint, or bone problems. Also take note, if the dog quickly gets tired, suffocates, or becomes nervous during the training session. In this case, slow down the track or stop it and let it rest.
  10. If your dog has a short muzzle (bulldog, Shih Tzu, Pekingese) or short legs (dachshund, basset), you need to be mainly responsible for choosing the right training regimen.

Safety & Precautions When Using Treadmill For Your Dogs

As explained earlier, there are several safety measures and precautionary tips that should be taken into account. These include:

  1. Start slow and always end each training session first with a decrease in speed, and only then turn it off completely
  2. Teach your dog to sit down after training is finished – this skill is useful for the dog to get used to leaving the track only at your command
  3. Hold the dog by the collar in the first lessons – this will ensure more reliable control over it
  4. For every experience, be prepared to turn off the simulator urgently. Stand as close as possible to the off button and train yourself to do it, of course, without a dog called therein.

Having this complete treadmill training for dogs guide in hand, you can surely teach your dog to use a treadmill safely. We wish you luck! (Thumbs Up)

Sara Malik

Sara Malik

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