It may sound like a joke, but teaching your dog to walk on the treadmill is an extremely useful tool for exercising your dog. It’s not a replacement for taking your dog on a walk, but is a great supplement for high energy dogs. Using a treadmill gets your dog tired without getting you tired!

Begin with the treadmill off. Put a leash on your dog and lead him to the treadmill. Put him on, give him a treat, then lead him off. Repeat several times without turning the treadmill on. This helps your dog assimilate the treadmill with a good thing (the treat he receives when he is on it). This makes the treadmill a fun event that your dog will enjoy (and not ever a punishment). After your dog thinks of the treadmill as a good thing, it’s time to continue with the training. Lead your dog onto the treadmill and give him a treat. Turn your treadmill onto its lowest setting. Your dog may panic for several seconds but make sure you stay calm (keep that leash free of tension). Situate yourself so that your dog cannot leave the treadmill on his own (next to your dog or placing your feet on the runners with your dog in-between your legs). After a few long seconds of panic, your dog will understand that all he has to do is put one foot in front of the other. When your dog is calm and walking properly, turn off the treadmill and give your dog a treat. Take him off the treadmill. Then repeat the whole process again.

You can adjust the speed early on to find what is best for your dog (3 miles per hour is the fastest I put my guys on–a nice steady trot). It may take him some time to get used to it, but my dogs have learned that they receive a challenge when they are walking on the treadmill and so they will jump up there and look at me to turn it on for them!

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