Dog treadmill training tips are what you need if you want to get your furry friend to actually use a treadmill.
While humans understand that their treadmill is simply a convenient way to exercise no matter the weather, dogs see a whirring belt and see something that is decidedly intimidating.
It takes a lot of effort and patience to teach your dog how to walk on one.
Today, we’re going to talk about some tips so you can get your pooch to use this convenient exercise aid.
Dog Treadmill Training Tips
As you can see, dog treadmills can be a valuable tool in keeping your dog healthy, but there’s still the problem of actually getting him to use it. For many dogs, a treadmill can be a frightening beast.
These tips will help you ease your dog into using a treadmill, allowing him to be confident and secure while using it instead of nervous and wondering when he can get off of it – if you ever get him on it at all.
Get a Dog Treadmill
First and foremost, don’t try to put your dog on a human treadmill. Human treadmills were designed for humans, while dog treadmills are designed for dogs.
At first glance, it may seem like there’s no difference between the two, but dog treadmills were actually designed to take several factors into account.
Longer, Wider Track
Dog treadmills are longer and wider than human treadmills. This design allows for a dog’s longer gate as well as allowing the dogs to “float” from side to side as they walk or run.
This allows for more natural movement as well as adding in an element of safety.
Little to No Gap on the Side of the Belt
Human treadmills have a built-in gap between the edge of the belt and the side of the treadmill.
While posing no risk to humans, a dog’s paw could easily wander off the belt and into that gap. Good dog treadmills are designed to drastically reduce or eliminate this gap.
Dog treadmills are designed with side guard rails to help train your dog to use the treadmill as well as keep him from falling off the side should he wander too close to the edge.
Before you can use any of the dog treadmill training tips in this post, you’ll have to have a treadmill that doesn’t terrify your dog.
Human treadmills can be quite loud, which will almost certainly deter virtually every dog from using them. Dog treadmills are designed with that in mind.
Good dog treadmills operate very quietly, ensuring that your dog won’t be immediately terrified by his treadmill.
Dog Treadmill Training Tips Done Three Ways
There’s more than one way to train a dog to use a treadmill.
I’m going to look at three ways of training that utilize different dog treadmill training tips to successfully get your pooch treading on the mill.
These three approaches all use positive reinforcement and focus on patience so your dog can get used to his new exercise equipment, making for an easier transition to actually using it.
The Practice Slow Method
Using this method, the treadmill will literally be the platform on which he learns. All training will be done on the treadmill.
This gets him used to the apparatus itself and shows him that he doesn’t have to fear it.
- Coax your dog onto the treadmill and then practice obedience commands that he already knows. Sit, stay, and paw are all excellent choices.
- Reward him for performing your commands. This gets him acclimated to the treadmill and following commands while on it.
- Leash your dog and face him forward while on the treadmill. Hold the leash – DO NOT tie it off.
- Start the treadmill on the slowest setting, saying, “ready,” as you do so.
- While standing in front of the treadmill, encourage your dog to walk forward towards you, giving him constant praise.
- As your dog gets used to moving on the treadmill, slowly increase the speed, encouraging him as you do so. Immediately slow the treadmill down if your dog becomes nervous.
It’s important that you don’t allow your dog to simply jump off of the treadmill when it comes to a stop.
When the treadmill stops, give him the “Off” command, and encourage him to get off the treadmill, praising him liberally when he does.
This training method uses dog treadmill training tips to acclimate your dog to the treadmill prior to use.
Using this method, you’ll get your dog used to being on and around the treadmill before ever turning it on.
- Bring your dog to the treadmill while it’s off.
- Get on the treadmill and call your dog to get on it with you. If he is hesitant offer him a treat.
- When he gets on the treadmill, reward him with praise and treats.
- After he’s comfortable, ask him to get on the treadmill without you.
- Hold a treat over the treadmill to coax him onto it, and then give him the treat when he gets on the treadmill.
- While your dog is on the treadmill, give him the “stay” command.
- Provide him with treats regularly until he’s comfortable standing on the treadmill.
Now, we’re ready for phase two:
- Bring your dog to the side of the treadmill and turn it on. Give him treats as he stands next to the treadmill to make it a positive experience.
- Ask your dog to get on the treadmill and give him a treat when he does. Leash him and stand next to him as though you were on a walk.
- Turn on the treadmill at its slowest speed, continuing to stand next to your dog. Immediately turn off the treadmill if he becomes nervous.
- Once you get him started, hold a treat in front of him, to encourage him to walk forward and reward him with the treats and praise as he walks.
- Slowly increase the speed as your dog becomes more comfortable on the treadmill.
It could take days or weeks depending on how well your dog takes to treadmill walking. Be sure not to rush the process. Reward him liberally whenever he accepts the new speed.
Capture with Clicker
This method uses dog treadmill training tips for clicker training. Using this method, you’ll combine clicking and treats to “capture” the command in your dog’s mind by clicking when he performs the command.
- Place a treat on the treadmill while it’s turned off. Click when your dog jumps onto the treadmill.
- Combine a command like “get on” with a treat on the treadmill. Say “get on” as you place the treat and when your dog jumps onto the treadmill, click.
- Ask your dog to get off the treadmill with a command like “get off” and click when he does so.
- Command your dog to get on the treadmill and click and treat periodically while he stands on the stationary treadmill.
- Once your dog is comfortable standing on the treadmill, turn it on to the slowest setting and encourage your dog to walk forward. As he does, click and treat.
- Slowly increase the speed as your training progresses. Don’t use treats in this phase, as your dog could choke. Rather, click and praise.
- As your dog gets more and more comfortable on the treadmill, gradually remove the click. Keep rewarding him with praise, however.
Dog Treadmill Training Tips to Help Get Your Dog Going
These three methods of dog treadmill training tips will match almost any owner’s training style.
Using these tips, you’ll be able to successfully teach your dog to walk on a treadmill.
Remember, it takes time and patience to train a dog to do anything, especially something like walking on a treadmill.
Follow these dog treadmill training tips, practice patience, and go at your dog’s pace, and you’ll be well on your way to your dog using his treadmill.
Did you teach your dog to use one? Share your own dog treadmill training tips below.
Do you have any current dog training challenges?
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My Nan’s dog had a treadmill, he had a pelvis injury and it was part of his physio after an operation!
I remember when I went to Harrods with my niece a few years back and in their doggie parlour there were many dogs on treadmills and they had the TV on for the dogs…it was cute 🙂