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Is A Dog Treadmill Right For You?

Treadmill training can promote health and vitality for dogs of all ages, from puppies to seniors. Whether you are trying to help your dog lose weight, recover from an injury, or just trying to get your dog regular exercise – the treadmill can be a valuable tool. However, before you rush to buy a dog treadmill consider these questions and your answers.

1. Health Assessment: What is my dog’s current health?

Before beginning any new exercise program you should first understand your dogs health condition. We recommend scheduling a health assessment with your veterinarian. Ideally, you should discuss the goals you have in mind for your dog. They may include weight reduction, general exercise, conditioning, rehabilitation, or behavior modification. It is important to assess and discuss any health risks and/or conditions that may restrict your dog’s activity and your intended goal(s).

2. Breed Particulars: How well do you know your dog?

Some breeds are built for speed (Dogs That Love to Jog) and some are not. But what they all have in common – they need exercise to live longer, healthier and happier lives. Some will go faster, others slower. Consider breed characteristics and tailor your dog treadmill workouts to meet their needs.

3. Dog Treadmill Selection: Do you know what size to buy?

The single most important factor in selecting a dog treadmill is the running surface area. The running area or belt size for your dog must be long enough to accommodate her natural stride and any drifting that may occur during exercise. Asking a dog to compensate for a running area that is too small for its natural walking, trotting or running gaits will undoubtedly lead to injury. Be sure to read our size guidelines before purchasing your dog treadmill.

4. Training: How do I get my dog to stay on the Dog Treadmill?

To train your dog properly on the treadmill you will absolutely need to commit to the time necessary to get your dog comfortable with the dog treadmill. If this is even a question, please don’t invest in a dog treadmill – neither you nor your dog will be happy with the results.

The most important treadmill accessory items required for training are a leash, and either a harness or collar to guide your dog. For small dogs with delicate necks a front attachment harness is ideal.

Finally, consider what motivates your dog. Training treats often provide motivation for many dogs when offered as bait during the initial training sessions. Choose an all-natural treat that tempts the scent glands and prompts attention. Once technique has been established treats may be offered at the end of the workout session as a reward. Some dogs may not be enticed by treats. If this is the case you may wish to try a favorite toy, or a lightly loaded backpack to divert their attention so they are less focused on their new experience.

5. Body Language: Can you help provide your dog with a positive experience?

The body language of your dog can tell you a lot about their experience. During the training period and introduction of your dog to the dog treadmill it is not unusual for them to be stressed. The treadmill is a new experience and unless your dog has grown up on moving surfaces, chances are he will think that the ground moving means he needs to flee to stable ground. Just like any new experience you may encounter, the first few times may be unnerving, but if you are introduced to it slowly, with calm reassurance and guidance you quickly adapt. If your dog appears stressed, slow down the process and offer assurance. Stop the treadmill and ask your dog to sit while you give them a massage or rub down, then play a game of fetch. Try again later.

It is important to always be with your dog during its exercise sessions. Dogs can have off days, or they may become sick. Be vigilant and watch your dog for any strange behavior like fatigue or discomfort. Even after much practice you should always be in the same room. Never plan to leave your dog alone on a dog treadmill!