So you bought a dog treadmill to help with the daily exercise requirements, and now the big question is “how to get a scared dog on a treadmill?”
Where do you even start?
How long will it take for them to get used to it?
In this article, you will learn how to teach your dog to walk on a treadmill even when they are fearful and anxious.
RELATED: Best dog treadmill for pitbull
Getting a Scared Dog on a Treadmill
First, remember, walking on a treadmill is a totally new concept to your dog!
Without a proper way of explaining to them exactly how this activity is going to work, he could appear to be uninterested with the whole idea.
If your dog hates treadmill, how to get your dog to use a treadmill is going to be the next challenge.
Use the steps below to teach him that the treadmill is safe and fun.
1. Introduce the dog treadmill
You have your bright and shiny new treadmill all assembled and ready for use, but your dog won’t go anywhere near it.
Introducing the device is the first step on how to teach your dog to walk on a treadmill.
If you’re dealing with multiple dogs, there is a chance that one of them will get curious, so let that pup investigate first.
You can carry the most apprehensive pup over (or gently lead her there on a leash if she’s too big to carry) and slowly introduce her to the device.
You need to lead the way and show that the treadmill is not harmful.
Start operating the treadmill to see the reaction. It’s also best to let your pet hear the treadmill moving so that she will get accustomed to the sound and won’t panic when it starts.
Let your dog sniff the treadmill as long as she wants so she can familiarize and feel safe around it.
Take a look at the video below for tips on introducing your dog to the device, then keep reading more info:
Be patient when she runs away at first, and always do your best to gently lead her back to the treadmill.
DO NOT FORCE HER to go near it. Use treats, gently cajoling and force-free methods to entice her towards it.
The introduction may be the first and only thing you need to do with your dog, until such time that she is comfortable with the idea of using it.
If you don’t succeed at first, try again. You will know your pet is ready when she leads you to operate the device.
Related: Best exercise equipment for dogs
2. Develop a bond with the dog and the treadmill
Your pup isn’t going to magically figure out how to use a dog treadmill in their first try.
One of the basic concepts when it comes to teaching your dog anything is to show your dog what they need to do over and over again, and pretty soon, this routine will become a game for them.
Patience is crucial in the first days. You’ll also want to create a positive association with the treadmill
It’s best to begin leading your dog to the treadmill by using a toy or his favorite treat.
You can also opt to feed your dog with meals while they are standing near the treadmill.
Start using whatever it is your dog likes so they can associate happiness with getting on the treadmill.
You need to think of this like you’re training a new trick and add some fun things in between.
Do not expect your canine to complete the skills in just one day, and don’t expect your dog to get it right the first time.
Each pet has a different pace, so you should adapt to her, and you shouldn’t be too upset if she doesn’t mount the dog treadmill on the first day.
3. Gradually increase the difficulty
Start with what is manageable. Begin training your pet at an average speed.
Starting a treadmill too slow will cause some moment of hesitant steps that will interrupt a rather smooth pace for walking.
Let your dog walk with enough speed that is quick enough so your dog will not hesitate, and she will naturally start adjusting to the speed.
Teach your pet to walk before she can run for miles in a day.
Start with 5 minutes on the first session, and add more minutes as your dog gets more accustomed to the device.
Like any training, you can’t rush your pet to do more than what is manageable, or you will end up traumatizing her.
The goal is to make her enjoy running on the treadmill so that it becomes a habit over time.
Take a look at the video below for an idea of how the first session should go:
4. Adjust to the dog’s mood or pace
Often, when you get too focused on making your dogs do something, you will lose the fun and bonding moment you’re supposed to share with your dog.
Remember that your furry friends are sensitive.
Your dog will feel your agitation or frustration, and he will start to be uncomfortable around you.
The dog should feel happy and comfortable while doing its exercise.
Have fun with experimenting tricks. Try with a leash or no leash at all— anything that you think will make them comfortable.
Not all dogs are the same. Some methods that worked with your small dog won’t work with your big dog.
If you need a visual guide to training your dog to use a treadmill, check out the video below:
How long should a dog be on a treadmill?
There is no exact length of time on how long should a dog be trained on a treadmill.
It’s only a matter of observing the canine and his reaction.
Some dogs can last long and others for a quick time. You should know how to spot a tired or overworked dog.
Watch how this dog trainer dealt with difficult dogs on the treadmill:
Benefits of Getting Your Dog to Exercise with a Treadmill
You might think that a treadmill can’t substitute a long walk in the park.
That may be true, but there are several benefits when you train your dog with a dog treadmill.
Take a look at a few in the below video, then keep reading for more great benefits!
Numerous dog breeds do tantrums when under-exercised, and the weather won’t always be suitable for a walk outside.
If you’re in a place that is frequented by harsh weather like storms and blizzards, keeping a dog treadmill is also a good investment.
You can still give your dog a proper amount of exercise during the winter or rainy seasons.
Snow and ice can crack your dog’s paws due to salt that helps melt snow off the sidewalks and roads.
Dog treadmills are also great for dog owners with disabilities or senior citizens.
With no proper exercise, dogs will become overweight or obese.
The extra weight will put more stress on the dog’s joints and will cause more pressing problems like hip dysplasia and arthritis.
Aside from that, these issues could make things more difficult for your home.
Overweight dogs have a higher risk of the following:
- Heart disease
- Increased blood pressure
- Decreased liver function
- Heat intolerance
- Digestive problems
- Reduced lifespan
Dog Treadmill vs. Human Treadmill
A treadmill designed for dogs can accommodate an average canine’s leg length and speed.
While you can substitute with a human treadmill, there could be issues with speed settings, sound, and vibrations that could scare the dog.
If your pet is already anxious, a human treadmill might frighten her even more.
Whenever dogs are shown something several times, they will begin to use the offering tactics and showcase their brilliant behavior through performing tricks on their own.
It is solely a matter of teaching your dog how to do tricks over and over until they get it.
Who knows? With enough patience and perseverance, your dog might be able to run on a treadmill unsupervised.