How Do I Train My Dog to Run on a Treadmill?

Outdoor workouts are great for your dog, but there are at times when you can’t take your canine friend out. For instance, your dog can’t go outside for a walk during winter.

Treadmills are a great alternative to walks. Dogs need exercise as much as they need nutritious food and water. Young dogs can satisfy their body’s need for exercise by playing around.

Mature dogs don’t have the instinctive drive for exercise, just like adult humans. Lack of exercise can lead to loss of muscle tone.

Also, insufficient aerobic exercise is the leading cause of dog obesity and other diseases. It also causes behavioral issues brought by boredom and lack of mental stimulation.

Treadmills can help dogs stay in shape

It’s not practical to rely on outdoor exercises due to time constraints and weather. A treadmill can help your dog be active and improve its physical condition. You can begin training your dog how to walk on a human treadmill if it is not too large or too small.

Please don’t put a large dog on a tiny treadmill since it can lead to injuries. Talk to a veterinary if you are unsure whether to put the dog on your treadmill.

You will need to buy a large treadmill if your dog is large and has long strides. A basic dog treadmill is not expensive unless if you want motorized ones.

How to train your dog to walk on a treadmill

Patience and persistence

Patience and persistence are crucial when training your dog on how to walk on a treadmill. Some dogs develop a permanent fear of machines that make noise or move.

Therefore, don’t push the dog too hard since he might never be comfortable on the treadmill. Below are steps for training your dog how to use a treadmill.

Put the treadmill away from walls and ensure the dog is not facing a wall. Dogs are too intelligent to walk on immovable surfaces, and they will assume they are about to if the treadmill is facing a wall.

Teach your dog to stand on the treadmill when it’s not running

Using treats to teach new behaviors usually guarantees success. Therefore, reward your pup if he stands on the treadmill without jumping off.

Some dogs will step onto the belt right away, while others will be reluctant. Step on to the machine with your dog if he is too nervous. Extend the time you spend on the treadmill as you practice.

Keep on repeating the on and off training, rewarding the dog with praise and treats every time he gets on the belt. He will be interested in the treadmill with time.

It will take time for the dog to be comfortable to get on and off the treadmill by himself. Don’t force him onto the machine since he might think that it’s a bad thing.

Bring your fluffy friend close to the treadmill and turn it on

Make sure that the dog sees it as a moving object before you put it on him while running. Reward him with praises and treats if he can stand near the machine while it’s running.

Set the treadmill at a low speed, persuade the dog on to the belt, or put him on it. Praise the dog and give treats as he starts walking. Also, ensure that the dog is on a leash.

Stand next to the dog and hold the leash upwards. Pretend like you are on a walk as he takes steps on the machine.

Continue giving treats and praises as he walks on the belt. Repeat the procedure until the dog is comfortable to walk on the treadmill. You can encourage him to walk by standing in front of the treadmill while holding treats and the leash.

You can even walk with him on the treadmill until he is familiar with the equipment’s motion.

Put the dog on a harness or leash when he is on the machine. It will ensure that he remains at the center of the belt. Also, ensure you are always around him when he is on the belt.

Start with short sessions

Start with lessons of less than a minute and progress to 10-minute sessions. You can then proceed to 20-minute sessions if he completes the short sessions without breaking a sweat. Try inclining the belt gradually for a more extensive exercise.

Remember that walking your dog a treadmill is not the same as walking outside. It’s physically demanding since there is no stopping. Also, the treadmill won’t provide mental stimulation once the dog is used to it.

Important tips

  • Purchase a special treadmill that’s designed for dogs. Also, put the equipment in a room with proper ventilation to ensure that the dog doesn’t sweat a lot due to hot temperatures.
  • Place the equipment at the center of the room and put a carpet or rug behind it. The dog might slide off the machine to the floor. A carpet can minimize the impact.
  • Be calm and patient with your dog. Yes, you know the machine is harmless, but the dog doesn’t.
  • Keep rewarding and praising your dog if you want positive results.
  • Ensure that the dog has finished his toilet business before putting him on the machine.
  • Dogs are not robots and have moods and personalities like humans. Some dogs may be willing to walk on treadmills, while others will be reluctant. Understand that machines can scare dogs and be patient.
  • Give the dog a short warm-up before putting him on a treadmill, especially if he was sleeping.
  • The workouts should be realistic. Don’t exceed 20 minutes, even if the dog is very active and fit.
  • Fix the treadmill if you hear any noises or creeks to prevent it from distracting your dog.
  • Prevent muscle pulls and cramps after workouts by rubbing your dog down. Stop exercising if the dog is tired. Note that some breeds like Labs and German Shepherds are naturally athletic, while small breeds will find it difficult to walk on treadmills.


A treadmill can be a useful tool for exercise if you use it properly. Don’t strain the dog and be patient.

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