Thursday, February 21, 2013

Trials and Tribulations on the Tricky Treadmill

I get to go for a walk outside on most days, but on snowy or especially cold and windy days like today, Mom and I take turns on the treadmill.  So I think this time I'll share some stories about how I learned to use the treadmill.  At first, I was afraid of it, which you could probably have guessed if you read my last post.  Mom bribed me with treats to put my front feet on it for a little bit.  I don't at all mind being bribed with treats.  After we did the front feet every day for several weeks she bribed me to stand all the way up on the scary treadmill, and as it turned out, it wasn't so bad.  Made me feel taller!

Then one day, she pushed some buttons and made it start moving.  I did NOT stay on!  I jumped off as fast as I could, but alas, didn't get far, since I was on a leash.  After many tries at this I got to where I would take a few steps while it was going slowly.  And then one day.....Mom had her turn on the treadmill and didn't realize that her tennis shoes had left a sticker on the track.  Stepping on that confirmed my suspicions that the big scary machine was dangerous.  Yeeeowww!  We were pretty much back to square-one with Mom trying to convince me it was okay to walk on there.  I don't think she has ever exactly "lied" but there are occasions when her opinion turns out to be vastly different than mine.

And then another day....just when I was getting used to walking a bit on it again, Mom had not put the cord for the emergency stop up far enough and I snagged it, so the machine stopped.  She got on the treadmill with me to fix it, went to step off the edge, tripped, and Stepped on My Tail.  See Mom, this is NOT a good plan!  She explained to me that not only did I not know how to walk on a treadmill, but she didn't exactly know how to teach a dog to walk on a treadmill either, having never done it before, so we'd just have to work on things.  It dawned on her that walking slowly was what was "tripping us up" so to speak, since it's not natural for a dog (or person) to walk that slowly.  She had just been trying it that way so I wouldn't be scared.

She learned to put the speed up to our normal walking speed right after the treadmill started, and I learned that this thing was okay after all.  She also realized that because the treadmill is open in the front I didn't know where to stop walking.  I kept hitting my toenails on the front of the hard plastic, so she cut out a piece of foam core to go in front of me.  I can still see over and around it, but it lets me know I shouldn't go any farther.  We also moved the treadmill so I can look outside (or watch a movie on the little TV in there - I like Fantasia). We didn't have any other major disasters, and eventually, I got to where I (kind of) like to get on the treadmill.  I like the "hills" when Mom sets the incline or program, and like the trotting too! Now I don't even need my leash or collar on, I just get up and go!

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