Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I want to do it too!

This is part II to my treadmill training story.

When we left off yesterday, I was filling you in on how I began using the treadmill daily in January. I kept Sensi in the room with me to hang out and get used to the treadmill while I walked and jogged on it.
Sensi quickly caught on that it was very bad to try and bite the treadmill — thanks to me saying, “No! Bad dog” whenever he tried it.
He also knew, though, that the treadmill was a very good thing. When it was quiet and motionless, he got treats for walking onto its surface. And when he dared to put a paw on it in an attempt to join me while I was using it, he got a treat then too. In fact, he got a treat just for sitting nicely next to it.
“I get lots of treats when I’m around this strange, noisy thing,” Sensi learned. “This thing is good.”
That’s exactly what I was teaching him — being around the treadmill means good things happen for Sensi.
Most surprising to me were those moments when Sensi seemed to want to join me while I jogged.
A dog is aware of what goes on around him, especially when it involves energy. A treadmill is all about exercising and exercising ups the energy level. Sensi sensed my elevated energy level while I jogged and by golly, he wanted to do it too!
Perhaps he even realized that I was walking and connected that picture with the picture in his brain of us walking outside together. Taking walks is, of course, his favorite thing in the world. Maybe he just wanted to walk with me.
Either way, Sensi definitely wanted to be a part of whatever I was doing on that strange moving floor.
He’d put a paw on the treadmill’s surface, eager yet still wary. As the treadmill carried his paw backwards, he’d inevitably get a little scared and give up on his attempt to join me.
We carried on this way for exactly three and half weeks. Then, I got shin splints. At the same time, Sensi’s allergies were creating a lot of challenges for us — Sensi was lethargic, refusing eat and rapidly losing weight.
I decided we needed to take a break. I needed to get healthy and strengthen my legs, and Sensi needed to get healthy too.

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