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How to Train Your Dog to Run on a Dog Treadmill

Jul 24, 2008
If you would like to teach your dog to run on a dog treadmill, you need to ensure you have trained it extensively so that it is able to use the treadmill on a regular basis without the need for continuous reinforcement.

In order to train a dog to use dog treadmills, you should follow these easy steps:

1) First, allow your dog time to habituate itself to the treadmill by allowing it to explore it when the treadmill is both on and off. Every time your dog goes closer to the treadmill and does not act afraid, be sure and reward it with either praise or a treat, so that it associates the treadmill with positive things.

2) After your dog is used to the dog treadmill, you want your dog to feel comfortable standing on the treadmill as well. It is best to start by keeping the dog treadmill turned off. Lead your dog on top of the treadmill (use a leash if you like) and while it is standing on the treadmill be sure and reinforce it often by giving it both praise and treats (if you use a clicker, click only when the dog is standing comfortably on the treadmill - if it appears anxious, try to wait).

3) Once your dog is comfortably on the dog treadmill, it is time to turn it on for the first time. Always start at the absolute slowest speed possible. Your dog may be frightened at first, and if it shows fear you need to remember these two things:
a. Do not reinforce the fear by acting very worried and hugging your dog immediately. This will only teach the dog that the fear was warranted. If you remain calm, your dog will remain calm.
b. Do not push your dog back onto the treadmill either. Instead, continue to reinforce your dog with praise and treats whenever it is doing anything positive on the treadmill.

4) When your dog is finally walking on the treadmill for a while, do not make it walk for too long. Although it may even be enjoying the walk, it is best not to risk any stress or tiredness right away, which could cause the dog to associate the dog treadmill with negative feelings. Instead, continue to praise and give treats and, after about 5 to 10 minutes, turn the treadmill off and allow your dog to rest.

5) The next day, repeat the process again. And again, use only the slowest speed, except this time you will want to increase the time the dog spends on the treadmill. Constant praise and treats are still necessary, and if your dog shows any signs of getting too tired, it is okay to stop the treadmill and try again the next day. However, if your dog appears afraid, the same rules still apply - do not immediately turn off the dog treadmill, otherwise the dog again risks associating the treadmill with fear. Try to calm the fear with petting and praise.

6) Now that your dog has had some practice walking on the treadmill for a while it is okay to speed it up. Again, continuous praise and treats, and not too fast. Any change you make on the treadmill, even if your dog appears to be enjoying it should always be done in moderation to prevent any fear.

7) Once your dog has been using the dog treadmill successfully you are ready to allow your dog to stay on the treadmill for a long period of time at any speed you want. Try to keep the speed down while your dog is gaining strength, but once you know your pet has the strength to stand for a long time you are ready to allow your dog daily exercise on the dog treadmill.

Dog treadmills are a great way to keep your dog happy, healthy and fit. If you correctly train your dog to use the treadmill, you can be sure it will appreciate the exercise for years to come.
About the Author
To get more information on dog treadmills visit our Dog Treadmill website.
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