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Teach Your Dog to Walk on a Treadmill

Your dog is active by nature and enjoys spending time outdoors. He loves to walk, run, jump and swim. Your dog enjoys physical activity every day and needs to exercise to maintain good health through his lifetime. If you are unable to exercise your dog outdoors, the next best thing is to teach him how to enjoy walking on the treadmill indoors.

Exercising your dog will maintain his good health and reduce the risk of heart disease and he will not have any digestive problems and it reduces stress. Your dog will be able to get good rest if he has a problem with insomnia. Exercise keeps your dog from becoming obese. Arthritis and diabetes is a factor in obese dogs. Dogs get bored so they turn to digging and chewing, so you need to offer your dog activities that are a challenge he will not want to dig or chew. Exercising your dog daily will keep him from being hyperactive and he will bark less and will also reduce any anxiety he has and build self confidence.

To train your dog on a treadmill you will need to be resistant and patient. Your dog could be afraid of the machine because of the noise and fear it permanently so do not push him too hard in the beginning. Place the treadmill away from the wall, because your dog is very smart to walk into an immoveable surface and he will stay clear from it. While the treadmill is turned off let your dog stand on it until he gets used to it. Give your dog treats as you would when you reward him for doing good. If he is not eager to step on the treadmill you can step on and off the machine with your dog and each time you practice increase the time you are on the belt. Keep practicing getting on and off with your dog. Praise and give him treats each time he gets on the belt until he is comfortable getting on and off the treadmill by himself. This is a very important step and could take several practices, so do not give up. Bring your dog close to it and turn it on. Do not put him on it right away until he sees that it moves. When he can calmly sit next to the moving belt praise him and give him treats.

Put your dog on his leash and without any incline set the treadmill at a very slow speed and either coax or put him on the belt as you give him his treats and praise him. Stand next to him on the machine as he starts walking on the belt and hold his leash tense and upwards as you would when you take him out for a walk. Be sure to give him treats and praise him. Keep practicing until your dog is walking on the treadmill easily. Holding the leash and some treats to encourage him to walk toward you, stand in front of the treadmill. Until he is used to the motion of the machine you could walk on the treadmill with him. Remain on the treadmill with your dog at all times and always keep him on the leash so he stays in the center of the moving belt. Exercise time should begin with thirty seconds to one minute practice sessions, then increase the time up to five to ten minutes and continue increasing the time until he is walking or trotting for twenty or thirty minutes. To give your dog a workout that is a little harder you could incline the belt gradually.

It may take a little while for your dog to really catch on but when you exercise with him it will really make this a fun activity that your dog will enjoy with you.

Photo credit: Lam Thuy Vo/Flickr

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Please consult the services of a Professional Dog Trainer, Behaviorist or Veterinarian before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.