- The weather is too cold or rainy (hello, East Coast USA!)
- It is too dark outside before or after work
- If you have an injury and can’t run with your dog
- If your dog is recovering from injury and needs a controlled surface and speed to re-acclimate their mobility patterns and to build base fitness levels
- If you need to stay at the house for some reason (e.g. watch the kids, wait for the “cable guy”, etc.)
We recommend using a treadmill that is made for a dog’s frame, like the one from DogTread, versus using a human treadmill.
In a recent eHow video, we share a few tips to make “dog treading” easier, safer, and more enjoyable for both you and your dog. These include:
- Make sure the platform length is appropriate for your dog
- Use the leash to guide the dog but DON’T tie the leash to the railing
- Stand in the front or side (pictured) position to keep your dog on point
- Use treats for rewards and to keep the dog focused.
- Use a lot of positive reinforcement to help your dog enjoy their treadmill workouts
- Stay on the treadmill for a minimum of 5 minutes to reinforce the movement patterns and acclimate the dog to the moving belt
- End the workout on the treadmill in the stopped position
Watch Slimdoggy Jack on the treadmill at the fitness room at the Pooch Hotel in West LA. He hadn’t been on a mill for almost two years but he seemed to re-acclimate quickly. The longer treadmill base made it much easier for him compared to a human treadmill.
Once your dog is proficient on the mill, you can increase speed and duration of the session. Soon you will be able to exercise side by side with them! Try squats, burpees, pushups, and planks while your dog is getting in their cardio.
Steve Pelletier is the Founder of Slimdoggy.com, where he writes about canine food, fitness, and overall health. Steve is also the inventor of the Slimdoggy app, a “Runkeeper” and “Weight Watchers” for dogs, that helps pet owners keep their dogs fit and healthy. Steve has been on ABC TV and several radio shows and podcasts where he shares his insights on how to keep a dog fit, trim, and healthy.