Sunday, October 9, 2011

A little walkin" (treadmill training)

  • 6/11 – session 1 – tossed food on it without turning it one…  Jake will do anything or go anywhere for food.  Brita just stood back and sent me a mental message to toss it back to her. Turned it on and twice got Jake to run over it for food!
  • 6/11 – Session 2 – no Brita this time and used a calmer approach.  I pushed it against the wall and put a fence piece on the other open side so if he went on it there would only be one way to go….  from back to front.  Started with it off and tossed food and then turned it on.  At one point I stood on it with my feet on the edges and used food to entice him through…  all in all..  good session…
What ARE you talking about, you ask???   A treadmill, what else?!?  Jake’s surgery resulted in his leg being a tad shorter because he has no femoral head so his back seems to turn.  He has been getting VOM treatments from Nancy and I feel that developing his back end muscles will really help…  so…  the treadmill it is!  More to come!
  • 6/12 – Did the run thru pretty good – turned up the speed one notch and he didn’t seem to notice.brought a crate downstairs and put at the front of it.  Read that dogs get freaked sometimes if they are facing a wall and thing that they may hit it.  I opened the side door of the crate and he would run over the treadmill and into the crate.  I plan to eventually bring it closer when he is comfortable on it.
  • 6/13 – Put rugs around the treadmill because he was so excited to get off and then go around and back on that he was slipping on the floor.  Speed is 1 m/h and he is staying on it and walking as long as there is food.  I have to say walk or he stops and starts to slide off the back.
  • 6/14 – Doing well… is actually getting it!   speed 1.2 mph sometimes he forgets to move his legs when fixated on food…  then he hurries up so he doesn’t slide off the back!
  • 6/15 – Same as yesterday but a little more sure of himself… 1.3 mph
  • 6/16 – I stood in front of the treadmill and he stayed on it for about 2 minutes two times.  OF COURSE there was kibble in front of his nose but he’s not afraid at all..  if he forgets to walk and starts to slide off he hurries up and repositions himself!  This is going to work!
  • 6/17 – I stood in front now the whole time and he kept walking while I reached for more kibble.  Up to 2 mph and need to find out what is the best speed.  I noticed he was pacing…
  • Fast forward…  6/28…  walking once maybe 2x/day most days and incrementally increasing speed and distance/time.  Now up to 3mph and 3 min….  oh and LESS treats! 
When we go to the basement and I’m doing something else, he hangs out on the treadmill.  Once I even caught him snoozing on it!  I guess that means he likes it! 


This video was taken 7/4 – slightly less than a month after we started.  I wanted to really take it slow and believe that it worked.  As you’ll see, when it’s faster he trots much better.  If I had it to do over, I would have increased the speed faster than I did.  You have to know your dog..  Brita doesn’t want anything to do with it and I wonder if I could ever get her used to it.  For sure, it wouldn’t be as easy as with Jake who is pretty fearless when it comes to new stuff and he thought nothing of it when he slid off the back a few times but rather just popped right up to get back on.  What a great dog!

 August update - we're up to 4.5 miles per hour and 5 minutes.  People ask if I tie him to it..  no way!  It's all voluntary.  At one point I took the side down and he is fine but I have noticed that he stays as far from that edge as he can so I think I'm going to put it back and see if that makes a difference and he walks in the middle.

And then....
One day he got distracted and simply stopped walking resulting in him flying off the back of the treadmill into the wall behind it...  THIS, he was not happy about and he decided that the treadmill was EVIL and no self respecting German Shepherd should even get NEAR evil!!  

And I'm sure as he pulled himself up from the floor he looked at Brita and agreed with her that she was right all along to stay away from the evil thing!

End of treadmill adventures!!  :):)