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Pet Health

10/17/2022

Treadmill Training for Dogs

This week is “Let’s Get Physical Week” at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts! Does that conjure up images of dogs in…

This week is “Let’s Get Physical Week” at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts! Does that conjure up images of dogs in sweatbands exercising to Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical?” It does for me. And for some reason, I am envisioning Frenchies. (Maybe because they would be so cute in a headband!) Anyway, we are not talking about Doggie Zumba or Jazzercise. We are talking about the importance of exercise for your pet and, more specifically, our Treadmill Training program!

Many of you may not even realize that Holiday Barn Pet Resorts has a Treadmill Training program! You should see our adorable guests on the treadmill, like Shylee. She had so much fun! And what’s more, it is so good for her!

FUN FACT: Dogs have been using treadmills since the early 1900s! Back then, animal-powered treadmills were used to churn butter and ice cream, as well as help with various other tasks!

Why Should You Try Treadmill Training for Your Dog?

When we think of a treadmill workout, we usually think of it as a tool for losing weight. Although the treadmill can be a huge help in losing weight, it has so many more benefits for our dogs. Treadmill training improves muscle strength, builds stamina, increases confidence, and provides mental stimulation for your dog. It can also help to reduce behavioral problems. Treadmills have also been used for years in physical therapy to help dogs recover from injuries.

Your Dog’s Physical Activity

So much of your dog’s health is dependent on robust, physical activity. As the body moves, blood and oxygen circulate throughout the body, assuring all organs are functioning properly. A sedentary lifestyle puts your dog at risk for muscle weakness, diabetes, hypertension, cardiac complications, joint pain, and, of course, obesity.

Obesity alone can be responsible for a whole slew of health problems, often serious: arthritis, kidney and liver disease, heart failure, and cancer. None of us want that for our dogs. A healthy weight results in a happier, healthier dog and a longer life. Whether on a treadmill or otherwise, exercise is essential for helping your dog maintain an ideal weight.

Because of our busy schedules, it is not always possible to make sure your dog has adequate exercise. Sometimes rain, snow, or extreme heat will prevent us from spending time outside walking or playing with our dogs. An indoor treadmill workout is a very effective way to assure your dog gets the exercise they require.

How Can Treadmill Training Reduce Behavioral Problems?

Our Professional Dog Trainers find that many of the behavioral problems they observe come from a lack of physical activity. A lack of exercise can cause a dog to be frustrated or bored. When these feelings occur, a dog may act out in any number of destructive ways: getting into the trash, digging, or destroying household items. Dogs may even begin to respond aggressively toward other pets or people.

How Does Treadmill Training Help With Mental Stimulation For Our Dogs?

The benefits of Treadmill training are not limited to our dog’s physical well-being. Physical activity is intrinsically linked to better mental health in that it boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels, just like in humans. These brain chemicals affect focus and attention. In this way, treadmill training is mentally stimulating for dogs, as well.

Learning to walk on a treadmill requires focus. There is no stopping to sniff or mark when they’re on a treadmill walk. The dog must concentrate on keeping pace with the movement of the track. Like our enrichment activities at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts, the treadmill satisfies the dog’s natural desire to think and process a new situation. It gives them a task to accomplish. It makes them happy!

Dogs that do not have enough physical or mental activity in their lives often have trouble concentrating and can be difficult to manage. Our Dog trainers will sometimes initiate a treadmill session just prior to training. Afterward, the dogs are in a much better frame of mind to learn new skills.

What Type of Treadmill Should My Dog Use?

It is recommended to use a treadmill specifically designed for dogs. There are several reasons a human treadmill is not appropriate:

• A human treadmill may not be compatible with a dog’s stride, resulting in an awkward gait.
• Similarly, the walking platform may be too short to accommodate four legs!
• Human treadmills tend to be louder and may frighten the dog.
• There is a lack of dog-specific safety features on a human treadmill. (i.e., guardrails, protective casing against fur, etc.)

It is important to buy a quality pet treadmill with a sturdy design. Cheaper brands have the potential to cause injury.

How to Begin Treadmill Training

First of all, is your dog physically able to begin treadmill training? Does your dog struggle with any physical maladies or medical conditions that could hinder this type of type of exercise? Is your dog fearful or intimidated by new things? Is your puppy old enough to use a treadmill? Incorrectly introducing treadmill training to a dog with any of these conditions will likely lead to a negative outcome.

Unfortunately, starting treadmill training with our dog is where many of us fail. An unfavorable introduction to treadmill exercise can result in an adverse association for your pup. Proper introduction and training are critical to prevent injury and to help your dog enjoy the treadmill experience.

The importance of safety and skilled instruction cannot be overlooked. The Dog Trainers at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts can safely and effectively train your dog to use a treadmill, monitor their capability, and supervise their progress. Once your dog is trained, treadmill sessions can be added to daycare, boarding, or grooming appointments for $18 per session.

Treadmill training may be just what you have been looking for. Call to get started with your dog’s treadmill training today and you can look forward to a more calm, content, and fit dog! For our Glen Allen location, call 804-672-2200, and for our Midlothian location, call 804-794-5400.

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