The time has come for Rummy to learn how to exercise on the treadmill. At my previous house, I had a treadmill too, but after we moved, I've not used one since the new house didn't have a treadmill. But the winters here in WA means that sometimes, it is really horrendous to spend time outside. And for us Airedales, we still need to have the avenue to exert all the energy and exercise. Fortunately, there is this thing called the Craig's List in the human world, and Mum managed to find a good one at a cheap price. She bought it, put it in her study, and then we did our best to teach Rummy how to use it.
These are the steps to introducing an Airedale to a treadmill.
- Keep a positive mindset and a calm happy attitude
- Introduce the treadmill to Rummy with calmness, but with no excited energy, or fuss
- Allow Rummy to sniff at, look at, feel, taste, and climb on the treadmill
- Get Rummy to associate the treadmill with good things, so we put treats on the treadmill so he would eat it
- Give a command "Climb" and prompt him to get on the treadmill. Treat him and reward
- Give a release command "Free" and allow him to step off and then reward
- Repeat many times
- Once Rummy is accustomed to the treadmill, the next step is to show by example
- Get Kimi to show Rummy how it is done. Kimi "climbs" onto treadmill, and I use my enthusiastic voice and start my sequence, "Are you ready? Ok, let's go". Turn on treadmill and Kimi loves it.
- Allow Rummy to watch
- Release Kimi, treat Kimi, praise Kimi
- Give "climb" command to Rummy and leash him to the treadmill, so he doesn't get off
- Do the start sequence and encourage Rummy, if necessary (normally the first time is a must) allow the leash to tighten and for him to slide off the end, but the moment he slides, encourage him to run forward, "Come on, Let's go". By now, Rummy also understands "let's go" means move forward
- He will whine, cry, fight, struggle, make a protest, acknowledge the unwanted behavior but keep encouraging him to move forward, "Let's go, this is fun". Tie the leash loosely to the treadmill
- Stand close to him near the front of the treadmill whenever Rummy is on it for the first few times
- Start with 10 min, praise "Good boy" when he is doing it well
- Release with a "free" command after 10 min, treat him, and immediately take him out to pee or poop. Exercise seems to trigger bowel movements so allow him to relieve himself and then resume treadmill exercise if you wish.
During the early phase of introducing Rummy to treadmill.
Allowing him to associate the treadmill with good things, such as treats.
Kimi watches over Rummy
Rummy says, "I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do, but this seems fun"
Calm energy associated with the treadmill
Rummy chills on the treadmill
When will we start playing on the treadmill Mum?
Mum teaches Rummy by leashing him to the treadmill for a start
I show my brother by example. I'm so good at the treadmill that I don't even need a leash. I love it up on the treadmill.
Rummy watches Kimi set the example
It is easier to train Rummy to love the treadmill because Kimi already loves it
I'm watching you big brother... so this is how it is done
Rummy's brain is working in overdrive, figuring out how his brother is moving but not really going anywhere. He sees Kimi's calm happy energy on the treadmill, and knows this must be fun because Kimi gets on the treadmill looking at Mum, waiting for her to turn it on.
"Yes Mum, I know it will be fun, I'm a little apprehensive, but I will try it for fun."
By now, Rummy can go on the treadmill without the leash, but we still leash him in just in case he decides to jump off, when he does, we correct him with "No, that's bad, climb" and get him back on track. He can only get off the treadmill when we release him, because he was on a 'climb' command.