Dogs and the Treadmill

I have been working hard with the dogs walking on the treadmill regularly for about 3 weeks now. I know, I procrastinated some with them and should have been working on it longer, but that is in the past and not today. Some people might ask why would I want to get them to walk on the treadmill when Winter is typically only 3 months of the year, and this Winter so far has been rather fair. Well, there are a few reasons of why. However, only in the most inclement weather will I completely substitute the treadmill for a walk willingly.

So, the only issue now is to get them to walk properly on the treadmill. As of now, Malak has just been using his front legs, and acts as if he wants to shut down on it. Simply put, he is unsure of the treadmill, and there is a little fear. He trusts that he won’t be hurt on it, but there is still the hesitation. Talisa walks well on it with some exception. She seems to want to lean to the right which if I wasn’t on top of her (standing obviously), she will slide off. Once she walks properly, I will of course be able to increase the speed to 2mph or higher. So, here are the reasons why I will use it.

Inclement Weather

This will be the most obvious reason. In the events of heavy rain, snow, wind storms or frigid temperatures, the dogs will of course rely on the treadmill – maybe for their only walk. This will make sense as it will keep them healthy since they don’t have to go in the bad weather while still allowing them to have their exercise. Keep in mind both Doberman Pinschers and Pit Bulls are powerful dogs, and have lots of energy. By giving them proper exercise burns the excess energy off, and makes them happier dogs. Inclement weather shouldn’t be a deciding factor.

Cost

At time of writing this post, I have to figure out how to come up with $50 to replace the soles on my shoes. Since I have to wear special shoes that are very expensive, it is in my best interest to replace the soles rather than let the soles completely wear, and may have to pay $100, or destroy the shoes which will cost about $750. Since insurance will only cover the shoes bi-annually, I must take proper care of them. However, the current pair I have  now are only 3 – 4 months old. This will mean at current assumptions, shoes will cost an extra $200 per year. Since insurance will not cover this, it will have to come out of my pocket.

While I am not seeking to make an excuse for not walking them, this is a factor that must be considered. So even in the best of days, the dogs will get a smaller walk (not the normal 90 minutes), but a 30 minute with a long walk once a week or biweekly. This will extend my soles to where they may only have to be replaced once every 8 months, or once a year. However to give them a daily 30 minute walk, they must have their exercise elsewhere. The treadmill will give them that exercise they need while allowing me to keep my soles around.

Medical

So, I have to wear special $750 ugly shoes. The reason of this is due to severe physical problems with the ankles and feet. Giving them long 2 or 3 hour walks (which they need at my speed) is very hard on my ankles physically. And there may come a time where I will be stuck to have to rely on a wheelchair when I go outside, or worse yet – permanently. If the dogs run in front of the chair for whatever the reason, instead of stepping on the paw, and getting a yelp, imagine 300lbs (250 for me + 50 for the chair) rolling over the paw. if they can walk properly on the treadmill, they can get their exercise and therefore not be so excitable safely and have a social walk where they are more calm outside.

Robust Exercise

Dogs can move faster than people. For a dog, a brisk walk will be about 3mph. So, imagine a dog getting an hour brisk walk, and being happy and relaxed afterwards. I don’t think I could ever do a 3mph jog for 1 hour because of my ankles. However, such on a treadmill will be no problem. This means they dogs will remain healthy, happy, and a tired dog is a happy dog. This could even reduce some of the separation anxiety they have where if they are calm, and relaxed, they can just nap the few hours I may have to be gone rather than causing a ruckus, and tearing things up, or having to be in a cage.

Disadvantages

There are some disadvantages of using this method. I of course see this, and understand it. It does put some strain on me, but this strain will be better than strains not having a treadmill can bring. So, what are these disadvantage? Well there are a few, and one of them is a bit severe.

Cost

This is probably the most severe, and that will be the cost of replacing a treadmill when the current one breaks down. Today, the cheapest basic electric treadmill is $250. This is more than 1/3 of my income. Combine that with the fact I will not know when the current one will expire increases the concern.

Electricity

A treadmill will cost electricity. Being an electric treadmill, the faster the treadmill will go, the more electricity is used. The longer the treadmill runs, the more electricity is used. While I am conditioning them on the treadmill, it is running about 30 minutes a day and sometimes as much as 1.5mph. While the demands of electricity won’t be high, I am expecting an extra $5 – $10 per month.

Time

More time is going to be devoted. When they are finished being conditioned, I expect they will probably require about 60 minutes at 2.5mph. Instead of me walking two dogs for 1 hour, I will be walking 1 dog at a time taking two hours. While this is about the same amount of time I will be walking them on a good day, I will still want to walk them together for social interaction. This should be about 30 minutes to say the least.

Final Plans

My final plans for this will be to walk the dogs twice per day on the treadmill, and once outside. The treadmill walks will be 45 minutes for each dog twice a day. This will be 3 hours per day. The social walk will be 30 minutes. Needless to say, the 30 minute walk will be at my speed. The treadmill walk will be between 2.5 – 3 mph. Once every couple of weeks, they will have a very long social walk. The walk will be to go to Lowrie to Troy Hill Road, then to East Ohio to Cedar, and back again with a loop back home.

By doing this, I will be able to assure that they are properly exercised no matter what, I will also be able to remove some of the excess energy. This will also hopefully make them more calm. And of course, I will eventually hopefully remove their separation anxiety as they will be calm and collective when I leave (since they will get a treadmill walk before hand). I will also need to try to set aside money on a monthly basis to cover for any treadmill replacement.