Two seasons seem to be extremely hard both for human beings and their dogs, leaving them inactive and lethargic: lazy days of summer and the frosty months of winter. In these two seasons, physical activities, cardiovascular exercises, and games get nominal. Less activity with long hours of sleep puts the health of the owner and his pet in jeopardy.
A dog owner is always very concerned about the health of his/her pet. He/she understands that lack of exercise can affect his/her physical health and contribute to stress. And this worries the dog owner a lot. Ultimately this anxiety can lead to fear or aggression.
Your pet is naturally very active. Just as your pet needs fresh drinking water and healthy food, he has a similar intuitive desire for physical activity. Little puppies persistently express this desire for movement through play and exploration.
What’s the solution to this problem then? It’s great to walk your dog regularly to keep it active and maintain its agility. But where to walk? Walking in crowded places, loud music, strangers or, other canines can offend your dog.
Now, if going for a walk causes stress, it means your dog is gaining very little by being outside on his walk. And it’s very unpleasant to be anxious all the time.
Importance of Treadmill
You can exercise your dog at home. And you can do it without a machine. There are several health-related exercise activities you can do to make your dog active and strengthen its muscles. Climbing up and downstairs, using different targets, or playing hide and seek can prove beneficial. But what if your dog restricted from walking outside is fed-up with repeating the same activities?
There is one solution to all these problems. Bring out something new for your friend and companion. Introduce your canine with the idea of using a dog treadmill and relieve yourself and your pet from stress and anxiety. It might sound ridiculous. However, it’s the best choice and will work wonders: exercising on a treadmill can raise your dog’s spirits, hold back destructive weariness, lower their stress, and keep dogs healthy and fit around the year. Treadmills are a great way to get your dog a full-body workout. Putting a prompting treat bowl at the end of the machine will be enticing enough to make a dog get started.
Now, the actual job starts. How to get your dog on a treadmill? The dog owner should train himself first to handle his dog easily. He must know all the tricks that can attract his dog to the walking machine.
What kind of treadmill should I choose for my dog?
Treadmills are quite expensive and can run upwards as much as $25000. So, choosing the one that serves the purpose rightly and is not a strain on your wallet could be the right choice.
The treadmill you choose for your dog depends on how you want to train your dog, keeping your dog’s size in mind.
Another important aspect is to select a treadmill that accommodates the natural gait of your dog.
The treadmill must be at least twice the dog’s body’s length from the front of his chest to the back of his butt, although 3x length is ideal.
How to train a dog to use a treadmill?
Initially, it can be a strenuous job to train your dog to use the treadmill. Break the process of using the treadmill down into small steps and build an association with them. Begin it by teaching your dog to get on the machine. Then get him off the treadmill. Repeat it several times and then end the session.
Never force your dog to get on the machine. If your dog shows nervousness about the equipment and is slower in getting accustomed to new things, you need to start slowly by just staying near your dog. You have to be very patient in the beginning. Please wait until the dog develops this desire and habit of getting on the machine on his own.
Once your dog gets used to get up and stand on the machine, turn the power on. Get the canine accustomed to the sound of the motor, and make sure your dog is comfortable before moving on.
Get Going Slowly
Now starts the crucial phase: begin with the moderate speed, and motivate your dog with a treat. The more the reinforcement is, the more the dog will build a positive treadmill walking behavior.
The training session shouldn’t last long. Try to do short sessions in a day, and when you notice your dog has a desire to get off, stop there. Never overdo it.
Another thing to be considered during training sessions is never to rush from one step to the next. Let your dog get familiar with the first step, and make sure your dog enjoys the training.
Once your dog starts loving being on the treadmill, increase the speed. But do it gradually. Hold the safety string so you can stop the treadmill if there is any problem.
Dog treadmills are different because they have side panels, so you may need to do extra training to get your dog familiar with them. However, you can remove the side panels, so your dog is entirely at ease getting on and off the treadmill.
Finally, a crucial point in treating anxiety during training sessions is to teach our dogs to relax. Without being able to relax, our work using operant conditioning is not likely to be successful.
Things to be remembered
- Never leave your dog alone on the treadmill.
- Never put your dog in a harness on the treadmill – it can be dangerous for your dog if they start to get tired and want to get off the machine.
- Walking on a treadmill is relatively different from walking your dog outside. It’s more demanding physically because there’s no stopping. So if you want your dog to pick up the pace, do it separately by increasing duration.
Although a treadmill walk doesn’t go parallel with getting to see and interacting with the world. But when it’s impossible for whatever reason, it’s a great alternative.