Dog treadmills are a tool I’ve been using with my dogs for nearly 30 years. Like any other dog training tool, if used properly, a dog treadmill is beneficial to both the dog and the owner. Anyone who owns a performance breed understands how critical it is that their dogs have a job. If they do not have an outlet to release energy, they can become neurotic, problematic, destructive and just downright annoying. Treadmills offer a convenient and safe way to exercise your dogs despite unpleasant weather, a busy schedule, or your own physical limitations. Sure, you can walk or jog with your dog but let’s be honest, very few of us are in good enough shape to be able to run long enough to actually tire out a high-performance dog. And if you are in shape and can go the distance required to tire your dog out, if you own more than one dog, you have to do a workout for each dog. Biking with your dog is an excellent workout and a great alternative to the treadmill, but it can be dangerous. I can’t count the number of times I’ve flown over the handlebars. A dog treadmill provides a safe and convenient way to give your dogs the exercise they require. Exercise that will improve their strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and overall physical and mental health.
There are three types of dog treadmills; carpet mills, electric treadmills and slatmills. Each have their uses and owning one of each is ideal. But realistically, buying a treadmill is an investment and not everyone has the budget for multiples. Your unique situation will ultimately decide which type of treadmill is right for you.
Carpet mills are the least expensive option, and they typically have the smallest footprint. The running surface is made of carpet and requires more effort to turn. This is because the dog’s body weight on the carpet results in friction as the belt rubs over the running surface. This is great for building strength as well as endurance. The carpet belt won’t last forever, it will eventually need to be replaced as it wears out. Carpet mills can be a bit messy as carpet residue tends to accumulate behind and below the treadmill during use.
Electric dog treadmills are essentially the same as human treadmills. The only real difference is they are designed for dogs. They tend to have a longer running surface, are lower to the ground, and the controls are positioned differently. What I like most about electric treadmills is that I have total control over the pace of the dog. This gives me the ability to force an intense dog to slow down and pace himself, or the ability to make a lazy dog pick it up. Electric treadmills come with a computer monitor that has pre-programmed training sessions. These training programs allow you to put your dog through a variable paced workout without the need to physically manipulate the controls, the computer changes the speed automatically. Electric treadmills are fairly quiet and a very solid investment for the price.
Slatmills are the priciest option. The dog powers the slatmill, as it's motorless. The belt doesn’t move unless the dog starts to walk or run. Slatmills are very safe as the dog can stop running at any time. But remember, this means you cannot control the dog’s speed. To entice your dog to increase speed you will need to bait it with its favorite toy or something that gets it excited. Alternatively, the only way to slow down a dog that won’t pace itself is to have a slatmill with a brake. The brake will slow down the dog, but it also changes the type of workout. It turns the slatmill session into more of a carpet mill type workout, as the resistance from the brake makes the belt harder to turn. Slatmills tend to be louder than electric treadmills when a dog is running at full speed, because there is no speed limit on a slatmill, the belt will spin as fast as your dog can sprint.
In conclusion, investing in a treadmill is wise decision for most high energy dog owners and I absolutely recommend them. Deciding between which style to purchase depends on your budget and what you are trying to accomplish with your dogs. If I had to choose only one style to own, it would be the slatmill. My dogs have extremely high energy, and I find utilizing interval training with high intensity sprints works best to get them into peak physical condition. I currently own three slatmills, two electric treadmills and one carpet mill, and I utilize them all.
DOG PACER ELECTRIC TREADMILLS