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"The Treadmill" - by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer/Daycare Supervisor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:00

How many of you have a treadmill in your home?  How many would think to use it to walk your dog?  Treadmills are very useful, especially in winter when you don’t or cannot walk your dog outside. Depending on their age & size, the training can be accomplished in anywhere from an hour to as long as a month, but it can be done.

Step 1:  Take the dog to the treadmill & place some treats around it; if they approach like it’s no big deal, move to the next step.

Step 2:  Place some treats on the treadmill.  NOTE: The treadmill is not to be turned on yet. When your dog approaches & eats the treats, move to the next step.

Step 3:  We're looking for the dog’s feet to touch the treadmill; use treats to lure them up onto the treadmill. Some will just walk onto it; others will look at you like 'you’re crazy'.  Reward for any paw touch. If you have a dog that just walks on, show them how to turn around & walk off by luring them with a treat.

With nervous dogs, you must go slow.  Reward for one foot on the treadmill, then wait until you get 2 feet on, & so on.  You may have to treat your dog on the treadmill for a few days or weeks until they show no sign of fear when standing on it. 

So far we haven’t forced the dog to do anything. We’ve rewarded it for any forward movement as well as standing on the treadmill in a relaxed manner.  Now, repeat Steps 1 & 2 with the treadmill ON or 'running' until the dog is relaxed with the sound. We're now in the last stage - the time-line for which could've been an hour or 3-4 weeks, depending on the dog.

Step 4:  Make sure the dog’s collar is on tight, so they can’t slip out of it.  Attach the leash & get some really good treats.  Have 2 friends or family members around to help. The trick to this step is to keep the dog on the treadmill until they're walking comfortably, and not trying to get off. One friend should be at the front of the treadmill, rewarding treats and: to also stop the dog from jumping off.  Someone else should be at the the opposite end, to stop them from trying to jump off the sides.  YOUR job is to keep your dog centered on the treadmill via the leash and  stop them from sliding off the back.

Remember: always start on the SLOWEST speed (a very slow walking dog speed).  If you pull the leash straight up & a little forward for a few seconds it will cause your dog to move forward.  So in the beginning, go no longer than 2-5 minutes until they get used to it.  Always stop the treadmill at the end & allow your dog to turn around & walk off.

At first, the dog’s initial reaction is always the biggest - so be prepared!  The humans in the room should be relaxed & positive, never impatient.  Support your dog with hands, leash & voice.  When they're relaxed, you can slowly increase the treadmill's speed until they're doing a relaxed walk.  After approximately one minute, stop the treadmill, turn the dog around & let them walk off at the back.  Give your dog 'a party' of MUCH PRAISE, lots of treats, pats & hugs.  They just went for their first walk on the treadmill.   And from here on, everything will be easier, the next time.

Safety is of the utmost importance!  So never tie your dog to the treadmill.  Never leave your dog unattended. Never ask your dog to do more than they can handle, and please: Never put the speed up so that they have to run!  The treadmill is only to be used for enjoyable exercise. May your dog(s) learn to heart the Treadmill! smiley Jean

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:38
 


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