Previously, we covered an introduction to Dog Treadmills – their
our machine recommendations. We then moved on to the first three steps of
Treadmills for Dogs Training.
In the final stages of canine treadmill training, you should begin to advance your dog's ability to change speeds, incline and decline the machine in motion, and increase the duration of the workout.
Along the way, you may encounter challenges that we will work through - so keep reading. You may find some valuable tips and tricks!
We will cover:
6. Problem Solving
Training your canine to increase and decrease speeds will give you the ability to vary the workout and keep
their focus on the treadmill.
Start out in Position 1 (next to dog, short loose leash - see
Instruction Part 1 for all positions). You are walking the dog at the normal walking pace. After a few
minutes, slowly start to increase speed
on the treadmill (gradually) while monitoring the gait of the dog.
If they break stride into a jog, I will continue for a few minutes and then slow back down to the walking pace.
When you increase the speed, the dog may start to lag to the back of the treadmill. Use verbal praise to encourage your dog to stay at the front. If they are not changing speeds when you increase – and continue to lag, you will need to do speed intervals. Here's how:
Turn the treadmill back down to a comfortable walking pace; increase back up to a jogging pace; decrease to walking speed, etc. By doing intervals (speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down) for several sessions in a row, it will increase confidence and train the canine to increase speed as the speed of the belt moves faster.
For dogs that are very uncertain, it may take 5 to 7 sessions to see a little progress. The signs of progress are the dog staying at the front of the treadmill as you increase the speed. The end result for the second phase is your dog at the ideal jogging speed (varies per dog) for 3 to 5 minutes – at the front of the machine.
The schedule will vary depending on the skill set of your dog. However, here is the guidelines we use at
Neuman K-9 Academy.
The possibilities are endless as to what will challenge your dog the most on the treadmill. But here are a few
that we have encountered over the years.
This one by far is the most frustrating challenge, but preventing it is easy.
Let the dog out to go to the bathroom before the workout!
I also keep a close eye on the dog's movement. If they begin to move funny (stride changes), their back end starts to hunch, or they all of a sudden start sniffing the belt, I will turn off the treadmill and quickly get them outside. After a while, you will be able to read the body language of your dog to determine if they might need a bathroom break.
Lastly, if you continue to have accidents regardless of the bathroom breaks, run your dog on the treadmill opposite of the times you feed.
Going to Position 2 or 3 prematurely will result in dogs trying to jump off
the treadmill. I recommend staying in Position 1 for the first two weeks. Then work with a short but loose leash
in Position 2.
If you are having instances where your dog jumps off a few times in a session, you should revert back to Position 1 for a while before going back to Position 2 or 3.
Have your dog sit on the treadmill before it is allowed to jump off when the exercise is complete. This will imprint in the dog's mind that it must stay on the machine until released.
Forging during canine treadmill training is common in high drive dogs at the beginning of the workout.
There are several ways to address this and the best solution will vary per dog. However, you can try giving a
verbal correction ("No"), or use back pressure on the leash to help burn off the initial energy.
You can also turn on the incline right at the beginning of the workout to burn off their initial energy. After a couple minutes, most dogs will settle – but forging in the beginning is usually the byproduct of a lot of energy and excitement to get going with the exercise.
If your dog does a lot of forging, I do NOT recommend Position 2. This frontal position of the trainer / handler will only encourage the dog to run faster or come through the front of the treadmill.
Lagging can be the result of several things. The first and most obvious could be that the dog is tired.
If your dog is panting, drops of saliva are coming off of the tongue, or your dog is struggling to maintain
position at the front of the treadmill (lagging), it is most likely time to do the cool down and end the session.
Lagging can also be the result of increasing speed too soon in the canine treadmill training process. If lagging occurs in the first three phases of training, most likely you are moving at a pace too quick for your dog. Slow down and do intervals. Dogs need to build up stamina and build the necessary muscles to do longer workouts.
Lagging can also be the result of asking too much of your dog early on. Maintaining a schedule and gradually increasing the workout will prevent lagging.
Remember, not all dogs are created equal. Dogs that are more laid back (couch potatoes) might not be as motivated or enthusiastic about the treadmill. These dogs will require a ton of praise and motivation to engage in their canine treadmill training.
If you introduce the treadmill and train your dog properly, not only will this be a safe way to exercise your
dog, but they will love the physical and mental release they get from the exercise. You can exercise your dog
year around and have a much healthier and happier canine companion.
Please feel free to contact us if you have questions regarding canine treadmill training.