Originally Posted by Mrs.Cicero
I have a Sheltie/Aussie cross that is an 8-mile-a-day dog. He isn't getting 8 miles of walking in this cold and snow. I'd like to teach him to walk on the treadmill, but have no idea how to do that. If it helps, he does sit, down, come, stay, plays frisbee and fetch, waits for food (i put it in the dish while he's sitting somewhere in the kitchen - he doesn't come to the food til he's told to do so, and he calls off his food (i trained him to do that 'cause the horses i work with are all trained to do it, and i wondered if a dog could learn it, too). I haven't managed to get him to balance a treat on his nose without eating it yet, but Mr.C is working on that with him. In the spring we'll do agility stuff, but right now he is bored and gnawing on the kids' toys. So, how do i teach him to walk on the treadmill for a little exercise? Currently, he'll sit on it on command, though he won't get up on it unless he's told to "up". Thanks and Merry Christmas!
A treadmill is a GREAT tool btw. For most dogs, you need to ease them into it. I would first bring the dog around the treadmill and encourage him to sniff it etc.. Put the dog on it while it is not moving and give him a small treat or two. Also bring the dog in while you are using the treadmill to get it used to the sound of the treadmill running or just turn it on at low speed with him in the room. If the dog has made it this far without issue, then start feeding the dog on the treadmill. Basically you want the dog to associate the treadmill with all positive things.
Once you feel that the dog has no issues with being in the room with the treadmill on or him being physically on the treadmill, then it's time to actually get him on it. Take him for a short walk around the block and then into the room with the treadmill. While still holding the leash, put the treadmill on at it's lowest speed. If the dog reacts with panic, DO NOT panic with him. You need to be calm, cool and collected during the whole time. If it is extreme panic, then take him off and repeat the process. If he is startled, then use the leash to keep him on the treadmill. Only after the dog starts walking should you give encouragement. Most dogs will adapt very well to the treadmill.
I have three issues though, first, NEVER use the treadmill for a walk substitute, NEVER use the leash to tie the dog to it and for the first few days never let the dog out of your sight while he is on it.