Today, the treadmill is the most popular piece of fitness equipment and can be found in homes and gyms around the world. Recently, a variety of dog treadmills have hit the market and have gathered much attention. But where did this effective fitness machine come from?

The Ancient Roman Treadmill Crane

The first treadmills can be traced back to the 1st century AD. The Ancient Romans used a ‘tread mill’ or “tread wheel” to lift heavier weights by incorporating the treadmill to replace the winch in their cranes.  Men would walk within the wheel itself and  because the treadmill had a larger diameter, they were able to lift double the weight with only half the crew.  These tread wheels were later adapted to create rotary grain mills and were also used to pump water and power dough-kneading machines and bellows.


Treadmills for farming and domestic chores

During the 1700s-1900s farmers were in need of a consistent source of power.  Instead of relying on natural sources like wind and water which was unreliable they found that a treadmill could capture the  “brake” power of a horse.  According to historian  Brian Wells , “the unit of measurement of force of strength necessary to operate these new stationary machines became known as “horse power” based on the average pulling power of an average draft horse.” Smaller treadmills were also created to accommodate animals like dogs, sheep, and goats in order to tackle domestic chores such as churning butter, grinding stones, fanning mills, cooking meat and separating cream. 


Dog Treadmills for exercise

The first dog treadmill marketed as a dog exercise device was patented by John R. Richards, of Oak Park IL in 1939. The design similar to Nicholas Potter included a harness and was not motorised.  The first human treadmill was not invented until 1952, when Dr. Robert A. Bruce got the idea to put the treadmill belt to use for humans to walk on. He used it as a stress test to monitor and diagnose various heart conditions.  It was not until the 1960s that the treadmill was commercialised as an exercise device for humans.  Since then there have been constant innovations in treadmill design and function for both humans and dogs.  For dogs, the treadmill is no longer a way to automate farm and domestic chores, it is now a very effective exercise tool that promotes health,  fitness and working dog performance. Its also excellent for solving issues like hectic schedules, poor weather, busy streets and crowded dog parks.

Although there are many different types of dog treadmills on the market today they basically are split into two main categories. Do you know what they are? Reply below if you think you do 😉

Keep them FIT!


PS. Click here to check out our latest state of the art dog treadmills 

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