Treadmills for Dogs — Training Your Canine (Instruction Part 1)

Treadmills for dogs are a very effective way to exercise your canine. In our introductory article, we reviewed benefits and dog treadmill recommendations.

In this article, I will share with you each training phase, the weekly schedule, and issues that you or your dog may encounter.

Training your dog to walk, run, and enjoy the treadmill is simple as long as you do it safely. At the Neuman K-9 Academy, we teach each and every boot camper to run on the treadmill. This plays a vital role in the training process, especially when addressing behavioral problems.

The first step is preparation. We will review:

1. Equipment
2. Positions
3. Surface Conditioning

Treadmills for Dogs Training: Equipment

The equipment list for training your dog on the treadmill is relatively short:

Treadmill – Electronic human powered treadmill. The belt length should be sized according to your dog.

For small and medium sized dogs, a 50" – 54" long belt is recommended. For a large breed dog, I suggest 60" or longer. If your belt size is not long enough, it will prevent your dog from working at higher speeds because they will not be able to extend their gait and move freely.

Leash – I suggest a 6' leash. Material is a personal preference, but I like to use something easy to grip and not too narrow (5/8" or better).

Flat Collar – Leather or nylon is standard. I do NOT recommend using a choke chain, pinch collar, or harness. Correction is not needed nor recommended for treadmill training dogs.

Treadmills for Dogs Training: Positions

The position of the handler / trainer is a very important part of the training phase. As you review this instruction, I will be referring to three positions:

Position 1: Standing on the right or left side of the dog next to the treadmill.

Position 2: Standing or kneeling in front of the dog and treadmill

Position 3: Standing in front of or diagonal to the treadmill at the end of the leash.

Treadmills for Dogs Training: Surface Conditioning

One of the most important aspects to getting a dog up and running on the treadmill is surface conditioning. This means, first getting your dog used to jumping up on the machine, and second, walking on the moving surface.

I begin the process by baiting the dog up on to the treadmill. I do this by having a handful of tasty treats cut up in small pieces. I show my hand to the dog and lure them to the machine in steps.

First, lure them up to the machine (give a treat). Second, lure the dog's front paws up onto the machine (give treat). Third, lure the dog's back paws onto the treadmill (all four paws on machine / give treat). Fourth, release the dog (say okay, click, or whatever your queue is) and give the dog lots of praise.

Repeat this process several times until the dog is readily jumping up on the machine with enthusiasm. Treadmills for dogs can be intimidating at first. For some dogs, this process will take several sessions. For others, they will be jumping up on the treadmill after the first couple of tries.

When your dog has mastered enthusiasm for jumping up and standing on the treadmills, you're ready to move on to the next phase of Treadmills for Dogs Training.

Canine Treadmill Training - Instruction Part 2

Learn more about the types of dog training programs offered by Neuman K-9 Academy.

Other pages you may find helpful:
Dog Training Articles
Neuman K-9 Academy FAQs

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