Have you ever thought about how to keep your dog active if he’s in the apartment all the time? There are moments when you can’t walk or play fetch game, due to bad weather or lack of free time. The treadmill can be of great benefit to the dog(1).
Experts in charge of pets use them for training, condition analysis, therapy for recovery from illness or injury, etc. These machines do not take up much space. You can place them on the terrace or in the corner of the room.
There are different running devices on which your dog can exercise. There are two types, according to what drives them:
– Powered by dog energy
– Powered by electric
The treadmill your dog drives by its movement doesn’t have options for speed settings. You can set the tilt or the distance your pup should pass during one session. Also, you can save these setting for later.
The electronic treadmill has the option of regulating the speed, angle, and the distance your dog needs to pass during a training session. Also, you can save all settings for the future workout. These devices can be specially designed for pets, but the ordinary treadmill (like those in a gym) will serve too.
In order to provide comfort for your dog, treadmill dimensions should follow your dog measurements. If it is not long enough, it won’t be able to run fast because of the inability to stretch its legs and move freely.
How to Create Your Pup’s Workout Routine?
At first, your dog might be skeptical of this device. If your dog starts to train for the first time, you should divide the workout session into stages. Try to convince your pup to step on the treadmill, but do not push it. Perhaps moving surface will scare it, so you need to set the lowest speed.
If this doesn’t work, start with a treat. Show it to your canine, take it to the tape and give it a deserved prize. For every next step, like putting its front paw, and then all four legs on the treadmill, treat it again.
After that, praise your good boy and give it a belly rub. Every dog will react to rewarding(2). Your pup will expect treat every time, but don’t spoil it. From time to time, give it a snack or short cuddle, but only after it did something right.
Check the video to see some guidelines for taking you pup on a treadmill:
Teach Your Dog how to Move on Treadmill
On a treadmill that the dog moves at his own speed, let it find the pace that suits it at the beginning. After a couple of times on its own, you have to organize its training and direct its movements. Keep in mind that this is a learning phase and be patient.
If you have an electronic treadmill, set the slowest pace, without tilting, as when walking. If you have determined that the training lasts 15 minutes, change the speed alternately. Hold a leash all the time and encourage it by speech. Adjust the training to the dog’s age, as well as its physical predispositions.
After the initial training, gradually increase the speed every time, until the dog starts running. It can happen that treadmill newbies fall out of the rhythm and begin to fall behind. Be very careful if you notice that the dog doesn’t follow the speed, and immediately reduce it.
As for tilt option, start changing the angle of dog’s movement when it hits a routine in training. Begin with a slope change while your pup is in walking phase. During a session, combine speed and tilt. Keep track of dog behavior all the time. If it looks exhausted, do not force it. If the dog has learned to run on the tilt, you can exercise this every day.
Pros and Cons of Treadmill for Dog
One of the main benefits of a treadmill for dogs is a full body workout. Also, after getting used to the treadmill, you can release it from the leash. Outside the dog must be tied, because of possible distractions like other dogs.
Training on this device is a solution in situations when you just can’t take your pup outside. Often it may happen that your dog becomes hyperactive in the evening and wants to go out – take it to the treadmill and let it run until it gets tired.
Treadmills for dogs with the electric drive are not always the best choice for “beginners.” For canines that are just starting with training, the better choice is the mechanic treadmill. Your dog has full control of its movement, so there is no possibility to exaggerate in the workout.
Too intense training can lead to an increase in heart rate in a dog and to reduce its condition. It can later be reflected in the short lifespan and potential heart problems when your pet enters into mature years. If your dog had any health issues, speak to your vet about treadmill training.
Useful Tips before Your Dog Starts Workout
Some common mistakes in treadmill training(3) you should avoid. Before exercising on a treadmill, don’t give your dog a fatty and abundant meal or a lot of water to drink. It can cause bloating, cramps, and nausea in your pet. Except its training will be ruined, you’ll probably have to clean after him.
While on the treadmill, don’t ever bind the dog to the holders. If it is tied, the dog can easily hurt or choke. It is best to keep it on a leash with a relaxed necklace to have control over his pace of exercise. Also, do not leave the dog without guidance. Be there to control his movement, speed or tilt on the treadmill.
Before starting training on a treadmill, your dog should warm up. In this way, your pet will avoid inflammatory processes in the muscles and possible injuries. Stretch his hips, shoulders and chest muscles, which are most active while walking or running.
Stretching is recommended for every day, especially in dogs of bigger breeds, to prevent musculoskeletal problems. When their limbs are movable, dogs have an increased range of motions. If you walk your pet every day, he’ll get enough stretching before treadmill.