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What Happens if My Dog Doesn’t Like the Treadmill

Did you ever decide to do something that lots of people make a big hoopla about how cool it is and how good it is for you, like running for instance, and when you first tried it, it pretty much sucked?  But then you kept on doing it because you’ve read about it, heard about it on the news, and had personal friends tell you how great it is for you and how much they love it.  So you kept at it and it really wasn’t long and you found yourself liking it?  Even feeling comfortable with it?

How about when you first got the mini van and you hated the idea of driving a “mini van”… and then you found yourself not long afterwards loving how well it works and not worried about what seemed to be “not like you” at first?

Well same is true for many dogs and a new activity.  Starting a dog on a treadmill is a new concept for any dog and without a good way to explain exactly how it’s going to work, your dog may appear to not like the whole idea at first.

12-DogTreading-blog-261x174If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  An old solid saying which happens to also be one of the basic concepts of teaching a dog anything.  Show your dog what to do over and over and pretty soon…. it becomes a game.

When dogs are shown something enough times it is amazing they will begin to use the tactic of offering their brilliant behavior by performing the trick on their own for you.  It was a matter of showing your dog to do whatever trick i.e “shaking the paw” or “getting on a treadmill” over and over.

It works!

Think of teaching your dog how to get on a treadmill the same way as you would teach your dog to shake or give a high five.

If you already have a dog that knows how to do this trick, then you can probably visualize the steps it took to teach it.  You showed your dog what to do, then gave some sort of reward to your dog.

Now, think about the second time you showed your dog how to “shake a paw”.  Awwwhah… your dog didn’t just do it because you showed him one time!  You had to keep showing it over and over.  And because it was a fun game for you to teach your dog, or at least you think it’s cute, you kept on doing it until your dog got it.

Same is true for teaching a dog to run on a treadmill.

Some dogs get on and go right away.  It’s a natural thing.  For those that don’t, use the same concept of teaching your dog to “shake a paw”.  Keep practicing.  Practice is the way for anyone, dog or human, to develop a good habit.

Treadmill Training Tips for the Fearful or Anxious Dog

  • Lead your dog onto the treadmill using treats or a toy.
  • This could be the only thing you do with your dog that day.
  • You can feed your dog meals while she is standing on the treadmill.
  • Use whatever your dog likes and already associates as “ a good thing” as a way to get on the treadmill.
  • Get enough speed going quickly enough that your dog does not hesitate, but instead naturally begins to move.  A treadmill started too slow can cause the moment of unsure steps that interrupts a smooth walking pace.
  • Think of it as training a new game or trick and have fun in your own mind.
  • Don’t expect to get the complete “trick” down in one day.

Some people are too focused on making their dog do it.  Leave that concept behind you so your dog can too.  Have fun with your dog on and around the treadmill, by walking with a loose lease or with no leash at all;  over it, around, on it.  Think of it more of a flowing dance with your dog rather than stiff movements.

Don’t get hung up on making your dog do it the first time, or even the second or fifth time.  Just keep finding ways to keep your dog in movement while you start the treadmill and it will become comfortable and a very easy game to play.

If it just isn’t working for you, consider a professional trainer’s assistance.  One session could be the difference to a very healthy, happy dog.


Jt Clough, has studied, applied and taught others how to create a balanced life with calm dog training techniques through her lifetime commitment to health and fitness. Clough is also the creator of dog wellness programs and author of the 5K Training Guide | Running with Dogs and Treading for Dogs DVD,  further inspiring people to introduce playtime in life through the eyes of a dog changing unwanted behaviors to practicing a healthy lifestyle.

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2 responses to “What Happens if My Dog Doesn’t Like the Treadmill”

  1. K9 Coach says:

    What Happens if My Dog Doesn't Like the Treadmill

  2. RT @DogTreadPro: What Happens if My Dog Doesn't Like the Treadmill