It is no secret that just about any breed of dog requires regular exercise to keep them healthy. Most of the time, that involves regular walks. That activity can be good for managing weight, boredom, and ensuring that some of the more common health issues that dogs deal with.
It makes a lot of sense if you have a treadmill in your home to wonder whether or not it can make for a good substitute for outdoor walks. But is it safe to use with your dog? Here is what you need to know.
Can Dogs Use Human Treadmills?
So, are treadmills good for dogs? The good news is that, yes, you can let your dog use your treadmill. It isn’t as simple as putting them on the treadmill and watching them go, however. There are a few basic steps that go into the process of getting them acclimated.
Using a treadmill can be beneficial for those who live in larger metropolitan areas. Some breeds of dogs are a bit nervous around a lot of activity. Where there are a lot of other dogs, people, and cars, they may become skittish and difficult to work with.
Having a treadmill means that they can walk in the comfort of your own home. There are no other distractions to worry about and they can get their daily exercise in without concern of becoming skittish or scared.
The important part is knowing how to properly train your dog to use the treadmill. There is more to it than simply putting them on and letting them go. Here are a few steps for properly training your dog to use your treadmill.
Take the Time to Introduce Them
When implementing a treadmill into the equation, the key is patience and breaking it down into small steps. The first, and perhaps most important, step is introducing them to the treadmill. You may not get them to start moving on that first time but it is an important step nonetheless.
Have them get on the treadmill, giving them a treat each time. If you have a clicker, make sure that you click before giving them the treat. Then have them get off of the treadmill before giving them another treat. Repeat this process a few times to familiarize them with the process of simply getting on and off of the treadmill.
When they are comfortable getting onto the treadmill, turn the treadmill on. That is not to say that you need to begin the motion. It is more about familiarizing them with the pattern of getting on the treadmill, having the power turned on, etc. Make sure to reward them each step of the way as well.
From there, it is about moving gradually. Start at a lower speed and make sure that you have a plethora of treats available. You want to make sure that you are reinforcing that it is okay to get on the treadmill and that motion is expected. Lots of treats go best here.
It is also important to keep training sessions short. You can break them up into several different sessions per day because the goal is to build up your dog’s confidence. Make sure that you don’t move on to other steps until you are entirely sure that your dog is confident with what is happening and doing well with that current step.
Having the necessary confidence will allow them to not only begin motion, but to get to higher speeds. Be patient with your dog; this is a new experience for them and it can be a scary one.
Though the answer to the question, “Are treadmills good for dogs?” is a resounding “yes,” it takes time and patience. The goal is to ensure that your dog loves to get on the treadmill. If they are skittish or scared, it can make it far more difficult to get them to use the treadmill regularly. If you mention the treadmill, they should get excited at the prospect.
Make sure to continue giving them treats every step of the way as positive reinforcement. After some time – maybe a few weeks in some instances – they should become very clearly comfortable with the process of getting on the treadmill.
As they begin to move, you can observe how they do. If they seem confident, you can slowly increase the speed. Make sure to watch how they move and observe their comfort levels. You should determine the point in which it is a little too much for them and know where that place is.
Eventually, you should get to a point where telling them about the treadmill induces excitement and they are ready to get on at a moment’s notice. You can then feel comfortable knowing that you have a good method of keeping your dog fit and healthy.
The good news for those who live in larger metropolitan areas is that you can use a treadmill as a substitute for regular walks. Treadmills are fine to use with just about any breed of dog except for the largest ones.
Just make sure that you take the time to properly train them before letting them go. It shouldn’t take long before they are familiar with how to walk or run on the treadmill and you can have an effective means of keeping them fit and active.