A note from Mimi,
Our philosophy is ‘harmony in our pack’, and an irregularly attending, excitable dog, will affect that harmony and the enjoyment of our pack. We now ask for a regular schedule, and will even request that some dogs attend training classes.
We will screen even more carefully, dogs from other daycare’s, and will not accept an untrained and uncontrollable dog, unless it’s a very young puppy. We strongly believe that a pack too large to handle, and without control, is a pack attack waiting to happen. If your dog is put into the pack without a leader present, the pack takes control of the situation and then is your dog going to be safe! There has to be someone in control of the pack at all times.
There must be skilled handlers looking after the pack, not young and inexperienced staff walking around with a spray bottle, totally unaware of pack behavior or how to read a dogs body language.
A dangerous combination!
Everything You Wanted to Know About Treadmills
First, and most importantly, I am not suggesting a treadmill as a permanent replacement for walking your dog outside on a leash three times every day, but I do understand that some people may not have time in their schedules to do this. While I’d prefer that they figure out how to make the time, some exercise is better than none. While not the ideal situation, a treadmill is better than the alternative of giving the dog up to a shelter.
Proper Uses for a Dog Treadmill
If you have a very high energy dog, then regular walks three times a day might not be enough, especially if you aren’t able to jog or run yourself. A treadmill at a trotting pace can supplement the regular walks and reduce this excess energy, leading to a happier, more balanced dog.
It is also important to remember that not everyone lives in a climate that is mild all year-round. As we’ve seen this past week on the East Coast, it can snow, and sometimes severely, making it difficult and dangerous to try walking your dog outside. Likewise, in parts of the Southwest, temperatures can hit triple digits during the summer, which is dangerous for both dog and human and can quickly lead to heatstroke. In both cases, a treadmill can provide your dog with effective exercise in a safe, climate-controlled setting.
A dog is a long-term commitment, often for fifteen years or more, and a person’s circumstances can change in that time, due to aging or injury. Hiring a dog walker is an alternative to a treadmill, but this means that the walker, and not the caretaker, is spending that time bonding with the dog.
A treadmill can also be useful to an aging dog that might not be able to negotiate curbs or stairs any longer but still needs to exercise. Also, when used in consultation with your veterinarian, a treadmill can be the best way to help rehabilitate a dog that has injured a leg or had surgery.
Finally, a lot of shelters use treadmills as an alternative to walking dogs because they are short-staffed, particularly if they have very high energy dogs that just can’t get enough exercise through the outside walking time they are able to provide.
Importance of the Right Treadmill
At first glance, you might think that a treadmill is a treadmill. If a human can use it, then a dog should be able to. However, this isn’t the case for the simple reason that a dog has no intellectual understanding of what a treadmill is and why they’re on it. They just know that the ground is moving, so they walk or run to keep up with it. Humans don’t have this limitation.
Treadmills designed for home use by humans have been around for about forty-five years and they come in a lot of different prices and configurations. A cheap manual treadmill — meaning that it has no motor and is entirely human powered — can be under $ 250. A manual treadmill will not work for a dog simply because they don’t have the weight to power it. Even if a dog were heavy enough to do so, they would not do it naturally or smoothly, with or without a steak dangled in front of their noses.
Dog treadmills also require safety features, like side rails to keep them centered, and a lower, wider tread surface. Models that come with pre-programmed workouts also need to be designed specifically for a dog’s needs rather than a human’s, with options for low, medium, and high energy dogs.
Weight on the treadmill is also an issue. While there can be some overlap in weight between smaller humans and larger dogs, most dogs are generally lighter than most adult humans. The problem is that treadmill motors designed to handle a much heavier human might be too much for a 30 or 50 pound dog. The reverse is also true, with a dog’s weight not enough to keep human-designed motors operating in their optimal range, resulting in quicker burn-out and expensive replacement.
Introducing Your Dog to a Treadmill
As with any other new tool, you should take the time to familiarize your dog with the treadmill before you use it. Start by introducing your dog to a non-running treadmill. Let them sniff around it and get used to the smell, then let them stand on it, again while it is not running.
Some dogs take to standing on the treadmill right away, while others may become nervous if they can feel the platform wobbling slightly. If your dog is hesitant about standing on the treadmill, use a pleasant scent or a treat to lead them onto it and repeat until your dog is no longer nervous, using the pleasant stimulus to create a positive association.
Once your dog is used to standing on the treadmill calmly, then you can start it out at its lowest speed. Most dogs will naturally begin walking, although you should have your dog attached by a short lead to the front of the treadmill at this point.
You would be amazed at how quickly a lot of dogs take to the idea once the treadmill is in motion, because it allows them to run. They don’t necessarily care that they aren’t going anywhere, and the side-rails on a treadmill designed for dogs keeps them focused forward. Once they get the idea, some dogs will actually get on the treadmill themselves, looking for their human to start it up. To them, it’s just as exciting as going for a walk or a ride in the car.
I hope this helps to answer a lot of the questions I’ve received about treadmills. Like a specific kind of lead, a backpack, or a clicker, a treadmill is just a tool. It isn’t meant to replace the walk all the time, but it can be a valuable part of my Exercise, Discipline, and Affection fulfillment formula when used in the right way and for the right reasons.