Train your dog to walk on the treadmill.
For someone who never heard of such a thing, maybe you the reader is properly saying to yourself “are you kidding?” My answer to you is “no I am not.” In fact, this reminds me of something that happened years ago.
Years before I became a Poughkeepsie dog trainer I had my German Shepherd Blade and was a new dog owner, but I knew my boy needed more exercise. I was plaining on buying a dog treadmill, a treadmill designed for dog use only, which I will explain in more detail later on. A friend of mine said “Really? I have never heard of such a thing.” Even his daughter who was a veterinary technician had never heard of such a thing and she thought that I was crazy. Despite her opinion, at the time I knew that I was on the right track. My friend’s idea was for me to tie a line from my house to the tree and have my dog run back and forth.
Having the line and having your dog run back and forth is not beneficial at all. If anything, it could cause bad mental behaviors. I will address this in a future blog along with other things to avoid.
Training your dog can be very super beneficial for all dogs and I highly recommend it for dogs with behavior issues.
There are two types of treadmills you can use for your dog. A treadmill designed for a dog, whether it runs by the dog’s movement or by an electric motor. Then there is the human treadmill such as the ones at the local gym or purchased at the sports store. Either case, the following are reasons why you should treadmill train your dog.
Depending on the dog there are two points of confidence building. Throughout my years of being a Poughkeepsie dog trainer I have come across both of these. The first point: some dogs will not step up onto the treadmill. The second point is that having dog stay on the treadmill while it moves and have them not panic. These two can be such a benefit for them after they overcome their fear.
2. Mental Exercise
Once they start to walk on the treadmill the mental aspect is great for them. When a dog walks outside they can focus on different smells and what is going on around them (such as people, cars, etc.) In other words, they are not working their minds at all. But when they are on the treadmill at that point they are working. They have to focus on the work at hand which is staying on the treadmill. I don’t have them go any faster than 2.0 mph on the human treadmill.
Making them work mentally can help their behavior issues that they may have. Even if they don’t have any issues, it will help them be more calm throughout the day.
3. Physical Exercise
Whether you use a human or dog treadmill, their age and their physical abilities will determine how hard they work. But even a walk at 2.0 mph for 20-30 minutes once a day will be a great physical exercise for your dog. Physical exercise is great for your dog’s health even if they are a small dog like a pug or a big dog like a mastiff.
After getting your dog used to training on the treadmill, the highest level to get your dog to is off leash, having your dog go on the treadmill on command and they start walking on it without the leash. When you can achieve this level of training as an owner, you now have this control and leadership. Having better control and leadership of your dog will help behavior issues or bad manners.
You might want to exercise your dog but it is winter and too cold to be outside for long; maybe there is a ton of snow or ice or it has been raining all day or you have some injury in which you can’t take your dog for a long walk or maybe you even had a long day of work and you are tired but you want to exercise your dog. The treadmill is the best idea to achieve this goal for your dog.
Once you are done training for a number of sessions and your dog gets use to it, they will start to enjoy it and actually have fun doing it. It can be an activity you both can look forward to doing.