How To Introduce Your Dog To The Treadmill

Updated: Apr 6, 2019

Please follow this link to our YouTube video showing you a demonstration of how to introduce a dog to the treadmill.

The video contains step by step instructions in the description. You can also follow the same instructions bellow:

This is a quick video showing how to introduce your dog to the treadmill!

1. 0:00 - 0:05 Quick affection

2. 0:06 - 0:16 Desensitization

Challenge at 0:16. This is where I don't physically force the dog to continue moving forward because he is telling me he is feeling unsure about the treadmill, so I stop and give him the chance to move forward, despite all distractions. Me kneeling down makes it easier for him to want to move forward.

3. 0:28 - 0:40 Reward him for moving forward and continue desensitization

4. 0:41 - 0:46 Stop and stand on the treadmill and reward the dog for staying.

5. 0:47 - 0:54 Take a moment to stop and go through some of the sounds of the machine. If this triggers a strong reaction from your dog, restart the steps above. The last thing you want is to leave this exercise on a negative note.

6. 0:55 - 1:10 Start the treadmill at the slowest speed possible with no incline.

7. 1:11 - 1:17 Notice one of his front paw touches the black cover piece of the treadmill. This tells me I am okay with continuing to slowly increase the speed.

8. 1:18 - 1:23 I stop increasing the speed, noticing that he fell back just a little bit and really focus on how he is feeling thus far.

9. 1:24 - 1:33 I am holding the leash forward to guide him a little bit as I begin to increase the speed a little bit, however, I am not holding the dog in place, he is choosing to continue moving forward. My legs on each side are simply providing him with comfort, they can't physically hold him in place against his will. That said, as I have been working with this dog for some time, and I physically tired him with other activities before this one (as this is more of a mental challenge for him), this is a time where you could skip to step 20. of this video, if you're not feeling 100% confident in this exercise and would rather keep it short and sweet.

10. 1:34 - 1:39 Another gentle reminder guiding him forward just a little bit. I know to do this as a reaction to him wanting to give up a little sooner than I would want him to.I know this speed isn't challenging for him, so by giving him a reminder, I am just asking him to stay in place for a few more minutes.

11. 1:40 - 1:48 I felt that he was leaning his body more to his left, so I placed myself on his right, to encourage him to walk a little closer to my side.

12. 1:49 - 1:54 Verbal praise to reassure him as I'm walking to the front of the treadmill to encourage him more to keep moving forward.

13. 1:55 - 2:07 I increase the speed as I felt his drive to move forward faster kicked in after placing myself face to face to him and continue praising his progress.

15. 2:08 - 2:37 Increased the incline a little bit and praised as he felt the change.

16. 2:38 - 2:51 Lowered the speed a little to be safe.

17. 2:52 - 2:57 Felt he was having an easy time so I increased the speed back up a bit.

18. 2:58 - 3:23 Lowered the incline to give him a break from it and continue praising as he felt the change.

19: 3:24 - 3:37 Noticed he was again having an easy time wanting to move forward so I increase the speed a little.

20. 3:38 - 4:38 Begin cooldown by lowering speed and continue praising

21. 4:39 - 4:54 Little reminder to stay focused on moving forward. When a dog is no longer finding the treadmill challenging enough, he will begin looking side to side. But even though the exercise is about to end, I always want it to end on my terms, so I have better control over the activity, anytime him and I do it together.

22. 4:55 - 5:05 Praise and gave him a verbal signal telling him the exercise was over.

23. 5:06 - 5:22 Praising and more desensitizing.

Thank you and have a great run! :D