Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Treadmill Training

Trying to figure out how to exercise Joy's 6 dogs on a regular basis while she is laid up, I finally found my inspiration to learn how to train the treadmill.  Googling "Dog Treadmill Training", I came up with mostly amateurish videos. This is one of the most professional ones:

There are several different ways to train the treadmill. Some handlers train from the side.  Some straddle the belt.  Some use leashes, others not.  Some use treats and/or clickers, some not.  But most had these things in common:
  1. Get D used to getting on and off the treadmill.  Reward for each behavior. Break it down as needed (reward for 1 paw touch, 2 paws on, 4 on, whatever it takes). Build value into the treadmill.
  2. Get D used to the sound of the treadmill running with them nearby.
  3. Have D on the belt before turning the treadmill on.  Start slow and gradually increase speed.
  4. Practice daily in short segments 30 seconds to 30 minutes long.
Leashes and Treats: The above video does NOT use treats, however in another video by the same trainer, he does lure D onto the belt with treats.  He uses a leash here, but in other videos he does not.  Guess it depends upon the dog.

I found this text on one treadmill training site:
"turn on the treadmill to its slowest speed while your dog is standing on it. The dog will automatically begin walking". While mine just jump off, here's a video that supports that claim:

Once the dog is fully trained, they can exercise a couple of times a day -- great if you have no yard, it's wet, freezing or too hot outside, or you're unable to walk them.  Be sure you don't ever leave the room, especially if D is tied to the treadmill.  Some treadmills come with a magnet you attach to the control console, and a clip you can attach to the collar.  It acts like a leash but if D jumps off, it pulls the magnet off and stops the machine.

One video showed 2 Welsh Corgis walking side by side.  Another showed a dog and a cat.

So now, looks like I have a diverse bunch of dogs I can practice on, starting with mine tomorrow!  Maybe I'll get out the camera and tripod and post my own amateurish video on YouTube!

Meanwhile, you can access some other treadmill training videos from the thumbnails appearing under each of the videos above after you watch them, provided courtesy of YouTube (I had nothing to do with choosing these).

Upwards and onward!

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