When newcomers tour our daycare and boarding facility in Santa Monica, they always chuckle when they pass the doggy treadmill. They ask: “Is that for real?”
The simple answer: absolutely.
Pet owners might think it’s impossible to get their dog on a treadmill, but once you do, there are a host of benefits for dogs and owners. (Learn how to get your dog started on a treadmill here.)
A main cause of canine behavioral problems is boredom. Your furniture, shoes, or neighbors’ ears can fall victim to a bored dog. A dog learns to focus on the moving track during treadmill workouts and to keep pace, which engages their mind and body. It’s also a great way to add variety to your dog’s existing exercise routine.
Reduce behavioral problems
Many professional trainers will advise those with high-energy or working breeds to “find your dog a job.” A treadmill workout can be part of the solution. Dogs have to “work” in order to stay on the treadmill, and it gives them a specific task to focus on. Increased mental stimulation helps dogs to feel important and happy.
Improve training results
Under-exercised dogs have trouble concentrating on tasks, such as training, or might be difficult to control. This can can make even the most basic obedience training time-consuming and ineffective. You’ll find tired or “worked” dogs are better able to focus, resulting in improved training outcomes. Just 10 minutes on the treadmill can help your dog be ready to learn new skills and obedience training.
Stay, or get fit
More than 50% of American dogs are either overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Obesity causes joint strain, arthritis, fatigue, and heart problems. The biggest factors contributing to weight gain are limited or no physical activity and overfeeding.
Offering treadmill workouts in conjunction with a healthy diet can help dogs build muscle tone, increase stamina, and lose weight. Consult with your veterinarian before starting your pup on an exercise routine if she is overweight or obese.
Improve socialization skills
Hyperactive dogs have difficultly interacting with groups of dogs. Their energy levels create stress and can trigger undesirable reactions from other dogs. Fifteen to 30 minutes on the treadmill prior to social interactions at a daycare facility or a dog park can significantly decrease hyperactivity and give your dog a more positive play experience.
Originally published on March 14, 2019. Updated on May 29, 2020.