Treadmills and Dogs: My Experience


When finding a new exercise regimen for your pooch, always take into account your dog’s health, breed, individual exercise requirements and discuss it with your vet.


Treadmills are a phenomenal supplement to a dogs exercise program.  When I first got my Doberman Pinscher Lola, I truly believed that I would be able to adequately exercise her by taking her for walks.  It took me awhile to realize that I was sorely mistaken.  She is Miss Energy, she has a multitude of caffeine like energy spurts that I can only attribute to the fact that she is a working breed.  Her desire to work is deeply ingrained and not satisfying that need would be detrimental to her overall well-being.  So…we bought her a treadmill.

Lola and her Treadmill


These steps are those that worked for Lola and will not work on every dog.  For a personalized approach catered specifically to your dog’s needs, contact a trainer.

We used a leash on Lola throughout this entire process; it was only until she became comfortable with the treadmill that I removed the leash.

1. We made sure that we had plenty of Lola’s favorite treats and treated lavishly in steps 1 and 2 to make it a positive experience for her.  Lola was not innately afraid of the treadmill but was a bit cautious.  We let her inspect the treadmill while it was turned off, treating when she showed interest, sniffed it or just got close to it.  We also put some treats on top of the treadmill to encourage the investigation process.

2. I turned the treadmill on at a slow setting and let Lola investigate but did not allow her to jump on it.  Again, treating her lavishly for her non-fearful behavior.

3. Once she was comfortable just standing next to the turned on treadmill, it was time to put her on it.  This step required two people.  While the treadmill was turned off, I took Lola’s leash and guided her onto the machine using her leash and a favorite treat to entice her.  Once she was comfortably placed on the treadmill, I praised and treated.  My Husband straddled the treadmill so that he was standing above Lola; his job was to make sure that Lola didn’t try to jump off the sides.  I stood in front of the treadmill holding Lola’s leash.  My job was to make sure that Lola didn’t try to move too far forward or fall behind and exit the treadmill.  I turned the treadmill on a very slow setting and let her walk.  At this point, treating stopped because we quickly realized that the treats were distracting her from walking and were causing her to fall behind.  If at any point Lola managed to jump off the treadmill, I immediately turned off the machine, guided her back on and turned the treadmill on again.


4. When Lola was done with her exercise session, I turned the treadmill off and waited for all of the parts to stop moving and then I said “Free” in an excited voice.  The idea was to teach Lola that she was not to exit the treadmill until I said “Free!”  In the event that she did jump off, I immediately guided her back onto the treadmill.

She had a couple of scary experiences where she walked too fast, too slow or jumped off but we overcame them by staying calm and immediately guiding her back on.  We progressed to faster speeds as Lola became acclimated but kept a careful eye on her to ensure that she was not getting too tired.  We took things very slow until we learned how long she could comfortably jog for.

All dogs will be different and not all dogs will have Lola’s stamina.  It is your job to decide what is safe for your dog and to be careful so that you don’t overwork your dog.  You must work on the individual dog’s energy level and gradually up the amount of time if needed.  Always watch your dog and never leave your dog unattended while on the treadmill.

What does your dog think of the treadmill? Let me know!  I love comments.

Happy Jogging!!
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