Treadmill Train Your Dog
One of the major causes of dog behavior problems is lack of exercise. Dogs are born to run, jump, chase and bite. If dogs don’t have the opportunity to exercise, they’ll probably develop underlying behavioral problems that owners aren’t going to like.
Learning to train your dog to use a treadmill can help her get the exercise she needs. The treadmill lets your dog run regardless of weather. Plus, it eliminates distractions and gives her a great physical and mental workout.
How to Teach a Dog to Use a Treadmill
Introduce the Treadmill
Start off by introducing your dog to the treadmill when it’s turned off. Lure your dog on and off the treadmill while making sure to praise and treat her when all four paws are on the machine and she is facing the right direction. If, by chance, your dog is hesitant to get on the treadmill, start counter-conditioning.
To do this, you should fulfill her daily needs on the treadmill—meals, treats, attention, etc. Once your dog has a success rate more than over 90 percent following the lure, introduce a cue. The cue can be a word or phrase tied in with the dog’s action of having all four legs on the treadmill. If you ever catch your dog on the treadmill, make sure to lavishly praise and treat her, making the treadmill a fun place.
Desensitize Her to the Sound
Now, begin desensitizing your dog to the noise of the treadmill. Whenever your dog comes to you while you’re on the treadmill, treat and praise her. You can also treat and praise her for being near the treadmill while it’s on. Once she grows accustomed to the sound, turn the treadmill off and have her climb back onto it.
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Start the treadmill on the slowest speed and have your dog stay close to your baited hand as the tread starts to move. Praise her for stepping forward on the track and reaching for the treat. Once your dog grows accustomed to this, you can place the treats at the front of the treadmill (the non-moving part) and encourage her to eat the treats.
Start Your Dog Slow
Start feeding your dog from the front of the treadmill and increasing the time gap between treats. As your dog adjusts to the treadmill, you can gradually increase the speed and duration of the sessions. (Do not treat your dog at higher speeds, as it could present a choking hazard). After a few weeks, your dog will be able to run on the treadmill from anywhere between five to 10 minutes. At that point, you can start increasing the time of each workout by one to two minutes. Build up gradually until you reach 30 minutes. Keep in mind you should never leave your dog unattended so consider tying her leash to the treadmill.
Running on a treadmill can give your dog a great workout. Providing your dog with regular exercise can lead to better behavior. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog. As with all exercise programs, check with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is healthy enough.
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