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 Dog Training

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Cowboy and the Treadmill

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Treadmill FAQ

Running on the treadmill is awesome!

Why does my dog need to run on a treadmill?

With the unpredictable weather here in South Florida, you can't always take your dog on a long daily walk. Sometimes your job, your family, illness or another life event prevents you from walking your dog. But dogs need between 30-45 minutes a day of exercise. A treadmill provides the perfect solution. Every day is a perfect day to run your dog indoors – weather is never an issue. A treadmill can give your dog a much-needed cardio and mental release, and help them to live a happier and more balanced life. 

I take my dog for walks all the time. My dog already gets plenty of exercise.

A dog has 4 legs; we only have 2. After you take your dog for a walk of a few blocks, your dog is warmed up and ready to run. In the wild, your dog would travel many miles a day, but humans have forced their dogs to spend most of the day laying on their joints and sleeping. Give your dog the daily release he needs in order to live a more natural life. Your dog will be happier and you will see the difference. 

Why is exercise so important for my dog?

Dogs are not meant to sleep all day. Exercise is vital to their health and well-being. It is also a great way to keep your dog calm and relaxed while you are out of the house or when guests come over.

The benefits of an exercise program are many. Physically conditioned dogs perform better in sports and competitions, with less occurrence and severity of injury. They are also able to maintain a healthy weight much more easily.

Exercise is psychologically healthy for dogs; it gives them an appropriate outlet for their pent-up energy, and helps reduce hyperactivity and other behavior problems related to boredom or insufficient activity. Exercising your dog on a treadmill will help them rest peacefully, improve joint health, strengthen bones, enhance mental alertness, strengthen the cardiovascular system and can help reduce vet bills. My 10 year old Labrador Retriever has arthritis, and my vet insists she is still very agile because the treadmill keeps her joints moving and lubricated.

Things to consider when starting your dog on a treadmill regimen:

Extra weight on your dog's body means extra stress on bones and joints. A treadmill can become a vital part of a weight loss program for an overweight dog. Combining a healthy diet with exercise on a treadmill is a great way to get your dog in shape and keep him/her healthy and happy. With over 50% of dogs in the U.S. being overweight, exercise is just as important as nutrition for your dog. Once your dog has become comfortable with exercising on the treadmill, you can establish a routine for him/her. I recommend having a signal, like “treadmill,” to tell your dog when it is time to get on the treadmill to exercise. Praise is also very important to your dog. Rewarding them for good behavior will help them to want to do what you ask of them. 

Is the treadmill a substitute for all exercise?

The treadmill's role in a dog's fitness program is similar to the role a treadmill plays in human fitness. You wouldn’t simply walk on a treadmill for 20-45 minutes per day and call that adequate exercise. Dogs still need to be socialized and walked outside. Having the treadmill option helps owners who have to contend with rainy weather, hot weather, allergies or other medical conditions that keep them from being able to exercise their dogs as much as the dog needs in order to stay healthy, relaxed and happy. Most of all, we understand that people have busy schedules. In today’s world, many  families have two working parents, two or more children and two or more pets. Dogs can run in the morning, while the family is getting ready for school and work, or when owners return home and are relaxing by the TV. Now bad weather, time constraints and medical issues don’t have to affect the amount of exercise your dog is getting.

I do believe that socializing your dog, taking them on walks, running, hiking and other outdoor activities should be a part of your dog's lifestyle. Dogs are not meant to be couch potatoes; they need exercise and social activity for optimum health.

Before beginning any exercise program with your canine athlete, have your veterinarian perform a full health check to detect any physical problems that could be aggravated by the activity. Very young dogs must be limited in their activities to ensure that exercise activity will not harm still-forming bones. In general, it is best to wait until the growth plates have fully closed before beginning a strenuous exercise program. Care must also be taken with older dogs to guard against injuries to joints, but they can still benefit from a slow, walking speed to get joints moving.