There are two ways that a treadmill can be used to exercise a dog, and each way is for a specific purpose. The treadmill workouts that RUN DAWG provides to Las Vegas dog owners is adapted in real time for that particular dog on that particular day. This is because just like people, dogs have good and bad days. Some times they are full of energy and want to exercise, and other days they do not feel well and do not want to move very much. The difference between humans and dogs is that we can verbalize if we are having a good or bad day, and they cannot. Even though a personal trainer or coach for both humans and dogs is going to improve the workouts you get, there are still going to be days when a more intense workout is more in line with your energy level than others. At RUN DAWG, our coaches will be continually analyzing the status of your dog during their workout, to see if they are ready and willing to go to the next level.
Treadmill work for dogs when using non-motorized treadmills (slatmills) is based on the dog’s willingness to walk or run forward. We can motivate the dog to attempt to catch something like a toy or treat, but ultimately it is up to the dog to set their own pace. For this reason we identify the first type of workout as a simple walk. A workout of this type is going to be appropriate for dogs that are used to being on the treadmills and have moved past the uncertainty phase, but still are not ready to run. For dogs like this, we will still engage with them through the whole workout and encourage them with a squeaky toy or clapping and whistling, but we will not expect them to increase their pace very much. Our goal for this type of workout will be to have the dog walk at a fast pace for as much of the 30 minute session as possible, stopping periodically for water breaks. Just like when they are walking, these types of dogs will probably not need many rest breaks during the session because they are moving just like they were walking at your side, only at a slightly faster pace. This type of workout will build both stamina and confidence in your dog, and will also burn calories that will help in weight control and muscle tone. When a dog is satisfied with the pace they are setting, they will essentially control the workout on their own.
The next level of workout is our HIIT workout (High Intensity Interval Training.) This type of workout is for higher drive dogs or dogs with more energy than other dogs. For this type of workout, we will warm the dog up for ten minutes by walking them at a fast pace before giving them a water and rest break. The second ten minutes of the workout is spent encouraging the dog to run as fast as possible for 30 seconds to one minute at a time, then slowing down for a one-minute rest period. During these breaks, water and rest is given that suits the dog’s wishes. We will cycle the dog to fast running and rest periods as many times as possible in a ten minute period, providing the dog with the encouragement of chasing a toy during that time. This will tire the dog significantly, and cause them to froth and keep their tongue out. They will need more water breaks, where small amounts of water and rest are given so as to not upset the dog’s stomach and provide positive encouragement at the same time. This workout is then concluded with ten minutes of walking at a pace that slows as the workout concludes. If done correctly, the dog should want to lay down at the end, and should be very tired. This is the essence of interval training, encouraging short bursts of speed that burn calories at an intense rate very quickly. The heart rate is increased then allowed to slow several times, increasing heart and lung function and capabilities at the same time as building muscle and fitness. This dog will probably sleep for several hours after their workout.
The appropriate workout for your dog on a particular day cannot be determined before hand, and will be constructed as the dog is exercising. Adjustments to intensity are made by judging the dog’s willingness to run faster or desire to walk slower. Through regular sessions and workouts, both types of workout will build muscle and fitness, creating a happier and healthier dog.