Trainer creates mobile dog gym so pups can avoid the intense Valley heat
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - He starts by putting one paw in front of the other and before long, Snoopy the shelter dog is in a full trot.
"I started rehabilitating pit bulls about 13 years ago with treadmills, human treadmills, then I started training the Arizona Fire Department Search and Rescue dog team here about two years ago," David Lopez said.
David Lopez is a professional dog trainer and founder of RunBuddyMobile, an on-the-go dog gym.
"We take care of putting the dog on the treadmill, getting him comfortable with it, working him through his paces," he said.
For the past few days, Lopez has parked his van in front of the Arizona Animal Welfare League, helping staff and volunteers exercise the hundreds of pups looking for a home, because it's too hot to walk them, according to spokesperson Michael Moorefield.
"Unless you are walking your dog really late at night or really early in the morning, I'm talking darkness, it's really not safe to have your animal outside doing a lot of exercise," he said.
The treadmill is self-propelled, which means the dog determines the speed by motivation.
"That cheerleading is so important," Moorefield said. "Your dog's life revolves around you and revolves around that positive feedback."
In addition to a workout, Lopez says just 30 minutes on the treadmill will change your dog's mood.
"You get a dog in a calm mental state of mind, which leads to easier training," he said.
RunBuddyMobile has treadmills that accommodate dogs from 20 to 200 pounds.
For more information on RunBuddyMobile, click here.