❥ Training for your pitbull to run ❥
Using a treadmill is one way for your dog to train in all kinds of weather conditions. Many homeowners use them only when the weather outside does not allow for hand-walking. People showing their dogs use treadmills to get their dogs in tip-top condition before the show. However, they are used primarily for general exercise.
❥ What is a dog treadmill? ❥
The name speaks for itself here. A dog treadmill is a treadmill designed to be used by dogs. There are two main types of treadmills used:
- Powered animal
❥ Pros and cons ❥
Both types of tapes have their good and bad points. Animal-fed treadmills are less expensive than motorized treadmills. The downside, however, is that your dog has to power the treadmill, making it harder on his paws. I have received reports of dogs ripping off their paws and toenails while using the animal-powered mills.
Let’s first look at treadmills with animals. There are two types of animal treadmills you can choose from. Carpet and slate.
❥ Slate mills ❥
These types of mills have been around for more than 100 years. It was not so strange to see a dog running in a mill in the early 20th century.
Many of them also served a dual purpose. For example, they churned butter, ice cream, and helped with many other tasks.
Finding a high-end slate factory today is not easy. The only chalkboard maker I ever knew has almost disappeared. I think he stopped doing them but I’m not sure. I searched for this article on your site for several hours only to come across the one that I couldn’t find.
Looking for pitbull sites, pitbull teams Pitbull dealers or forums could open a place where you can get a high-quality slate factory. With that, let’s talk about the next type of treadmill on the market, the type of grinder that I recommend.
❥ Carpet mills ❥
Most Pit Bull owners prefer carpet mills. They are much quieter, less fiddly to operate, easier to maintain, and your dog can get a full 30-minute workout in 5-10 minutes.
The weight of your dogs increases the friction of the mat against the running surface, which makes it a bit more difficult for them to turn. When this happens, the dog uses more leg power and energy to make the mat move.
Exercises must be very short in carpet factories, especially in the beginning. It is recommended to start with 5-8 minutes at a good walking pace.
❥❥Colby Treadmills❥❥ – The Colby family has been making treadmills for their dogs for years. They are extremely nice and reasonably priced. I’ve only heard good things about their mills from the owners.
❥❥Grand Carpet Mills❥❥ – Grand Carpet Mills offers a solid carpet mill in three configurations. Regular, traditional, and their custom Big Dog models. All of them are very affordable.
❥❥Note to self:❥❥ I ordered a grinder from Grand Carpet Mills and her order was super smooth. My grinder arrived just in time and it was a pleasure doing business with them. They have the highest-rated carpet mills on the market and offer high-quality work. The only thing I don’t like is the waiting period. For my grinder, I had to wait almost 2 weeks, but it was worth it.
❥ Motorized mills ❥
There are several motorized pet belts on the market these days. Motorized factories offer some advantages over carpet factories. They are quieter, easier for dogs to run/walk (helps with older dogs), and you don’t have to replace the belt as often.
Some models offer adjustable incline to help increase the difficulty. If you want your dog to walk for shorter periods but can still take a good walk to adjust the incline is an essential feature. Okay, now that we’ve covered the types of grinders, let’s see how to teach your dog to exercise with them.
❥ Teaching your Pit Bull to use the treadmill ❥
Below is a step-by-step process for teaching your dog to run/walk on a treadmill. Here are some things to keep in mind before you begin:
- Keep training sessions short (10 minutes at a run or 20 minutes at a full brisk walk. Cut that time in half for dogs that are not in good shape).
- Never leave your dog alone on a treadmill.
- Warm them up before putting them in the grinder by taking them for a 5-10 minute walk and cool them down after each workout. Again, take them for a 5-10 minute walk until their breathing returns to normal.
- I rub my dogs after hard work. This helps keep the blood moving and reduces the chance of cramps. Think about the last time you had a leg cramp. We don’t want that to happen to our puppies. A brisk 5-10 minute scrub works wonders.
❥ The actual steps to train the mill ❥
❥❥ Step One ❥❥ – Introduce your dog to the mill. Get used to the mill being there first. Even if you have a very confident dog, take this slow process. Fix your grinder and then let your dog notice. See how they react. Don’t make a big deal out of it.
If your dog acts scared or cautious (most pit bulls will show some caution when faced with a new object in their environment), don’t sweat it. Get them out of the mill without any fair. Go play ball or something. Do this over and over again until the mill becomes just another fixture in your area. Like a chair or a sofa or some other piece of furniture.
❥❥Step Two ❥❥ – Once they are comfortable with the mill around. Put them on it. Do not run or attach them. Just put them on it and praise them.
Get them out of the mill and go do something fun. Like playing games or doing a few obedience sessions. Again, without making a big deal out of it. Do this every day until they are completely comfortable being in the grinder.
❥❥ Step Three ❥❥– Put a harness over them and attach them to the mill. Don’t expect them to understand what to do yet. So just be patient. Stand in front of them and call them. Encourage them to move their feet. If they don’t, don’t worry.
Stop, praise them, and get them off the mill.
❥ Two things to keep in mind: ❥
- Never use a necklace to hook them to the mill.
- Try not to prime them. If you need to prime them to run, then that’s fine, but it’s a lot easier for you if they figure it out themselves and want to run in it.
Repeat this process until they start walking that. Notice that I said, walk and don’t run. The idea is that they are completely comfortable with the mill, that they are in the mill, and once they are used to it, your dog will start to walk on his own.
When they start walking, you can encourage them to run by standing in front of them and praising or calling out to them.
❥❥Extremely important factor: ❥❥– Not all dogs will like to use the treadmill. Some refuse to use it. In fact, many poorly presented dogs are scared of them. So take the process very slow. Your dog likes the mill and wanting to use it is the goal.
❥❥ An extremely important factor ❥❥ – The above steps can take 48 hours or 48 days. How long it takes depends on your dog’s confidence. My dogs are yin and yang in this department. Honey (the youngest) is quite nervous about new things in her area. Angel (the oldest) has always had great confidence in new things in his environment.
Angel learns things faster than honey. Your dog will learn at his own pace. My point is not to rush it and possibly ruin any chance of your dog-loving the mill. First, you don’t want to scare your dog, and second, you paid a good amount of money for the mill. You don’t want to become a clothes hanger.
❥ In conclusion ❥
Treadmills are a great option to get your Pitbull in shape. I recommend talking to mill manufacturers to find out the best ways to use their mills. After all, they are the ones who built them so they know a few tricks on how to make their dogs use them easier.
Finally, take it easy and don’t expect your dog to be a movie superstar the first day he arrives. By following the steps above and taking each step slowly, you shouldn’t have a problem. If you start over slowly and need to remedy the problem.