Johann has been an online writer for over four years. His articles often focus on pet care.
Treadmill Exercise: A Dog's Perspective
Walking on a treadmill is a great alternative exercise for dogs. When I got my last injury (an iliopsoas muscle pull) at an agility trial, I had a lot of rehabilitation to do to get back in shape for running agility again. Mum helped me with lots of stretching and strengthening exercises, but she also taught me, a dog, how to walk on a treadmill to get additional exercise.
Even though I'm kind of scared of machines in general (like our Dyson and Mum's Sonicare toothbrush), she taught me not to be afraid of the treadmill. Now, I'm a treadmill-walking machine, and I love it!
Walking on a treadmill is a great alternative exercise for dogs, especially in the dead of winter when it's too cold for a walk or during the extreme heat of summer. It's no substitute for a nice long walk, run, or hike, but it comes in real handy when I need my exercise and can't get outside.
You can train your dog to walk on a human treadmill (or a dog treadmill), just like I do. It's easy. So, sit back and learn how!
Tips for Teaching a Dog to Walk on a Treadmill
Before Mum taught me to walk on our treadmill (it's a human treadmill), she got a few tips from friends and from various websites. Here is what she learned and utilized to help me learn.
How to Get a Dog to Walk on a Treadmill
- Place the treadmill so the dog isn't walking into a wall (very important).
- Start by having the dog get up on the treadmill (without it running) to get used to being on the machine. (Use clicker training if your pup is clicker trained—and click, and treat!)
- Do this for however long it takes for your dog to be very interested in being on the treadmill.
- Then, have your dog stand or sit near the treadmill, and turn it on.
- Have your dog get used to the sound a few feet away from the treadmill, click and treat, and continue until the dog is comfortable.
- Put your dog on a leash.
- If your dog is light enough to pick up, I recommend starting the treadmill at a very slow speed and then placing your pup onto the treadmill using a treat as a lure. If they are big dogs, have the dog stand on the treadmill as you turn it on at a very, very slow speed, also using a treat as a lure to have them walk forward. Praise them, praise them, praise them! Your dog may be a bit frightened at first, but stay calm and say encouraging words.
- Keep trying these steps until your pup is comfortable walking on the treadmill.
- Stand next to your dog holding his/her leash taught in an upright position as they walk on the treadmill, simulating a walk alongside you.
- If your dog is still uncomfortable, you may want to stand in front of the treadmill, holding their leash for them to be in the correct position, and use a treat as a lure to walk toward you.
Pretty soon, your pup will be a natural at walking on the treadmill. But please remember, always supervise your dog, and use a leash/harness to keep them centered on the tread for safety. Don't feed your dog one hour before or after rigorous exercise.
Mum has me walk at a pace of a good trot like show dog trots in the competition ring. Now that I'm used to it, I walk on it for about 20 minutes, two times a day, with a slow warm-up and a slow cooldown. Remember, I'm a working breed, so I am used to being very, very active. Have your dog walk on the treadmill from 5- to a maximum of 10-minute intervals to begin with, and increase the time very slowly, always watching them for any discomfort.
When your dog is finished walking on the treadmill, walk them around your house for a few minutes. Getting off a treadmill is very disorienting (you know how you feel when you get off the machine). Walking them around will help them get over their "sea legs!"
Precautions and Setup
- Make sure your treadmill belt is the right length for your dog. For smaller dogs, a human treadmill works just fine. But if you have a larger dog, like a Golden, you'll need a dog treadmill; the belts are longer and you need that to keep their stride natural.
- To increase the difficulty for your dog and build more muscle, increase the incline on your treadmill. But make sure your dog can handle the extra "load" and increase very gradually.
- Don't have your dog walk on the treadmill at least one hour before or after a meal. Just like swimming, okay?
- Keep the treadmill clean from dog hair and drool. It's not good for the machine.
- Make sure your dog's nails are clipped properly for their safety.
- Have fun!
That's Me Walking on the Treadmill!
Get your dog a treadmill!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Johann The Dog
Read More From Pethelpful
Give me some woofs!
invictus95 on August 13, 2014:
First of all, your dog is awesome, and second of all I've never seen a dog using a treadmill before, so this is pretty cool to see! I <3 dogs.
Stephanie from Canada on June 14, 2014:
This would be great for dog owners! We tried putting our cat on the treadmill one time...he wasn't impressed. I would imagine it works much better for a dog.
brenda-gossett-77 on May 15, 2014:
This was a very informative , well put together piece that I know some of my canine clients will enjoy looking into .
Squiggli on May 12, 2014:
We tried walking with our Maltese a few years ago! He didn't care for it too much, and was actually afraid of it. However, I also know someone else who absolutely LOVES to walk their dogs on their treadmill!
Stephanie from Canada on December 13, 2013:
We actually tried turning on the treadmill with our cat once...he was not impressed! Walking your dog on a treadmill is great, though, especially for when the weather is bad.
adoptionfirst on October 23, 2013:
This is a great exercise idea for dogs especially for my dogs! Since I tend to have many dogs at one time it is hard to give them all the exercise they need so this would be a great alternative if needed! Thanks for sharing!
cafedangvamua on September 16, 2013:
socialcx1 on July 06, 2013:
Thanks, enjoyed your lens immensely.
chrisilouwho on June 03, 2013:
such cute videos
JRsFavoriteFinds on April 29, 2013:
Great lens! I have seen the Dog Whisperer use treadmills for dogs. Thanks for the "how to tips".
ian-patrick-716 on April 25, 2013:
anonymous on April 22, 2013:
mrdata on April 15, 2013:
Cool lens! Thanks!
DavidJH on April 07, 2013:
What a lovely lense, about a great topic!
piotrek18061970 on March 24, 2013:
khatha0808 on March 06, 2013:
I love two Corgis working together. So cute video.
opatoday on February 25, 2013:
Amazing thank you
suepogson on February 16, 2013:
Great! Bit sad that the cat treadmill is facing a wall though - wouldn't it be nicer if they could see something? Or is the point that they can't run off it? Your one looks much nicer!
daisychainsaw lm on February 13, 2013:
What a clever, lovely dog; looks like a collie, like my dog, they are very clever.
anonymous on February 13, 2013:
Very nice lens :)
JeffGilbert on January 31, 2013:
Definitely a great thing for those winter months, especially for people who live out in areas where it gets very cold. However, I keep getting visions of George Jetson walking Astro. :) Great lens.
mwiener on January 31, 2013:
This gives me a lot of ideas what to tell my daughter about taking care of her dog. Or, perhaps, I can just pass the lens to her. Thanks!
antonioknapp7 on January 27, 2013:
wow, never thought you can teach a dog to walk on a treadmill
Lee from Derbyshire, UK on January 19, 2013:
Haha useful but funny lens! Great video
karen-stephens on January 12, 2013:
I love the cat video.. ha ha
BAMditty on January 05, 2013:
I've always wondered how that would work out... Really cool that it works!! :D
DesignSpace on January 05, 2013:
....This is quite possibly the most awesome thing I've ever read.
CynergySoftware on January 03, 2013:
Oh this is so cool! But would make me even lazier then I already am :)
Amy Trumpeter from Oxford on December 29, 2012:
Wow, great lens! I didn't know that you could get doggy treadmills!
viscri8 on December 29, 2012:
I should very well teach myself too to walk with a dog -- and THEN teach the dog to walk with me on a treadmill!
Lee Hansen from Vermont on December 27, 2012:
Hi paw to Johan!I think I need to get my cat Terra on the treadmill!
Donallphin on December 20, 2012:
I have a dog treat company and one of the most amazing thing I witness almost daily is the shear numbers of overweight dogs that don't get the opportunity to get proper exercise. Great lens. Very informational.
mistaben on December 16, 2012:
Brilliant idea, Very fun lens, loved it =)
dellgirl on December 14, 2012:
You really put a lot of thought into this, itâs very helpful and so informative! I learned a lot, thank you for sharing.
AnimalHouse on December 11, 2012:
Treadmills are great exercise not just for humans but also for dogs. This help dogs to keep their body in good condition.
jdeeze on December 07, 2012:
My neighbors dog is obese, you best believe I emailed this great lens to him!
amitsarkar lm on December 07, 2012:
I think good lens...
jillian22 on December 05, 2012:
I'll give it another try.
KatPalmer LM on November 29, 2012:
Thanks for this lens. We couldn't get our dog to walk on the treadmill until we took your tip to move it so it's not facing the wall. Now she loves it!
luqman-ali-31105 on November 06, 2012:
it's great work
keri-dennisfulmore on November 05, 2012:
Im so gonna try this.
Petzard on November 02, 2012:
HAHA... What a great exercise for dogs:) Woof!
uneasywriter lm on November 02, 2012:
I don't know how but my dog already seems to know how to do this. She loves walking on a treadmill. Good lens!
Laura from Australia on October 31, 2012:
Thankyou! I will try teach my dog to walk on a treadmill.
rooshoo on October 28, 2012:
My sister's dog desperately needs to get on a treadmill. He's sweet but a bit on the chunky side! Great lens.
Mr-Panda LM on October 27, 2012:
I love the videos! I taught my puppy how to do this a few years ago, and she got the hang of it eventually!
anonymous on October 26, 2012:
I like your Site very Informative..Lets Be Friends
patrick-j-hargis on October 21, 2012:
anonymous on October 20, 2012:
Brilliant idea, and a wonderful lens!
MeandmyArrow on October 18, 2012:
My dog won't even walk around the neighborhood--too boring we think. She just sits down on the road; would rather chase chipmunks when we walk in the woods! Not sure we'll make it it the treadmill but it sounds great for most dogs!
jimmyboy88 on October 12, 2012:
good, i don't have to walk my dog so often :)
abarth76 lm on October 06, 2012:
Good idea especially if you ave a very active dog.
JonTempleton on September 25, 2012:
That's great, but how about teaching my wife?
StephenObrion on September 07, 2012:
First a treadmill... next is a skateboard!
ghoulfriend on September 05, 2012:
Too cute! I wish my jack russell terrier would use the treadmill. She needs it! (Or maybe I do.)
Dianeyp LM on September 02, 2012:
This would be perfect for those really cold days in winter!
dantheman098 on September 02, 2012:
i like that, sounds rather successful
FreddieHanger on August 31, 2012:
I'll try to teach my dog this but I doubt I'll be successful... lol
BillyPilgrim LM on August 29, 2012:
Great lens - couldn't stop laughing at the dogs on the treadmill x
anne mohanraj on August 25, 2012:
bwet on August 18, 2012:
what a hilarious lens. love it. never knew that there are threadmills for dogs!
RuralFloridaLiving on August 15, 2012:
Very funny! Enjoyed reading your lens.
RuralFloridaLiving on August 15, 2012:
Very funny! Enjoyed reading your lens.
anonymous on August 08, 2012:
Great article! Very valuable tips on how to train our pooches to walk on a treadmill including getting on and off it, in regards to both their safety and enjoyment.
Once they get the hang on how to use it, they will get their exercise regardless of the temperatures outside in the comfort of their home.
squidstorm on August 04, 2012:
Awesome if you don't have a park nearby :)
KimGiancaterino on July 28, 2012:
I'm not sure our cats would be excited about this idea. They're more into toilet paper unrolling, like your cartoon! I salute any dog who masters the skill.
suzy-t on July 22, 2012:
Great Lens. Adorable written. Blessed and pinned to my SquidAngel page.
ziggyzane on July 19, 2012:
anonymous on July 11, 2012:
Really cool lens! Definitely a good exercise for our pets!
OliviaDaughter LM on July 09, 2012:
Absolutely wonderful lens.
poorwendy lm on July 07, 2012:
Neat idea. Those dogs looks so cute running on a treadmill.
Jan_62 on June 29, 2012:
Love this lens and all the videos! it really put a smile on my face, thanks!
Aleayah on June 28, 2012:
Check. I will surely try this on my pup.
mysweetjane lm on June 26, 2012:
I'm going to try this! One of my dogs def needs to lose a little bit of weight to get rid of the beach ball on legs affect
chadwik05 on June 15, 2012:
Definitely going to try this!
hntrssthmpsn on June 09, 2012:
Awesome! I have a dog. I have a treadmill. I have to try this!
RykiBergstrand on May 22, 2012:
Guess who used this simply to be more lazy? Yeah, this girl! haha
GRM on May 21, 2012:
This lens is really cool. I had always wondered how dogs learn to walk on the treadmill, and now I know. Johann, Daizy says hi, and says she wants to learn too!
sunny saib on May 20, 2012:
good one,, hello johann! :)
stargoldteam12 on May 11, 2012:
faber80 on May 09, 2012:
It's definitely a good exercise for our dogs.
arcarmi on May 04, 2012:
Cool! I was wondering if it would ever be possible to get my dog on the treadmill!
Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on May 03, 2012:
@jennalee1374: Thank you!
Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on May 03, 2012:
@anonymous: Good for you Mandee and your pups!
anonymous on May 03, 2012:
I have 2 dogs, one is a regular treadmill LOVER! I have to fight for my own time on it! The other is just a year old and is still getting the hang of it but its GREAT! I have a small house and they get to burn off the extra energy they build up, as well as it being better for them than being sedintary. Not to mention I live in Sunny Florida, so often times its just too, too hot for a long walk or its raining! Treadmills have been a godsend for me and my pups!
PaulRyan on May 01, 2012:
Prefer the cat version (below). :-P An interesting read though. :)
apuppyslife on April 18, 2012:
Great lens! Will have to try this.
jennalee1374 on April 17, 2012:
I am so happy to see people teaching others about clicker training and positive reinforcement! Makes me so happy! Great lense and I will definitely use the information :)
anonymous on April 12, 2012:
My little havanese just seems terrified of the treadmill but I'd love to get him walking on it for those cold days.
neujunior on April 06, 2012:
It's a great exercise not only for you but for your dog as well ...male dog names
Aleayah on April 04, 2012:
I really like lense! super WOW
racko09 on April 02, 2012:
wow i like it :D
LM 829917 on March 24, 2012:
lunagaze on March 23, 2012:
Great lens, I want to do this but I am just so worried something might go wrong and result in a dog with a broken neck.
anonymous on March 12, 2012:
When we walk, she says Trot and then when I walk close to her, I think, she clicks and I get a treat. Iâm not sure exactly what sheâs doing yet but i hope to figure it out soon. There was my mat on the floor by the camera and I like running to my mat, because I get lots of clicks and treats there! And then on the jumps too, they are fun.
Funny_Beekeeper on March 09, 2012:
I might consider getting one treamill for my dog especially during the winter season when it's impossible to go on alk because of snow or bad weather. I like this lens, you gave me some great ideas how to spend time with my dog and how to keep him fit ;)
anonymous on March 04, 2012:
This Lens was so enjoyable. Nice idea writing from the dog's perspective. I don't own any animals. We have 6 children combined the oldest being 14 and the youngest is 6 months. They keep us busy for now.
jordanmilesbask on March 03, 2012:
Wow, I should try this with our dog TyTy.. Great Lens!
Please come and visit my lens - http://www.squidoo.com/cute-pet-dog
tifanny1bt on March 02, 2012:
Dogs skills and abilities is increasing from generation to generation. Who know we might teach them to use the computer. :-)
Great lens by the way. Good Luck.
Johann The Dog (author) from Northeast Georgia on March 02, 2012:
@anonymous: Fixed, thank you!