Introducing Your Dog to a TreadmillAs with any other new tool, you should take the time to familiarize your dog with the treadmill before you use it. Start by introducing your dog to a non-running treadmill. Let them sniff around it and get used to the smell, then let them stand on it, again while it is not running.
Some dogs take to standing on the treadmill right away, while others may become nervous if they can feel the platform wobbling slightly. If your dog is hesitant about standing on the treadmill, use a pleasant scent or a treat to lead them onto it and repeat until your dog is no longer nervous, using the pleasant stimulus to create a positive association.
Once your dog is used to standing on the treadmill calmly, then you can start it out at its lowest speed. Most dogs will naturally begin walking, although you should have your dog attached by a short lead to the front of the treadmill at this point.
You would be amazed at how quickly a lot of dogs take to the idea once the treadmill is in motion, because it allows them to run. They don’t necessarily care that they aren’t going anywhere, and the side-rails on a treadmill designed for dogs keeps them focused forward. Once they get the idea, some dogs will actually get on the treadmill themselves, looking for their human to start it up. To them, it’s just as exciting as going for a walk or a ride in the car.
I hope this helps to answer a lot of the questions I’ve received about treadmills. Like a specific kind of lead, a backpack, or a clicker, a treadmill is just a tool. It isn’t meant to replace the walk all the time, but it can be a valuable part of my Exercise, Discipline, and Affection when used in the right way and for the right reasons.