Regular gym-goers, input is requested (re: service dog)

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by Saeleofu, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    So, I joined Planet Fitness a couple weeks ago. I went to work out today for the first time (since I was sick the whole time before :( ). I did NOT take Logan because I wasn't entirely sure where to put him while I was working out, and figured I'd be okay without him. I DID take Logan when I signed up in order to judge their reaction to a service dog, and it was a completely positive experience - I was thrilled.

    So, today I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes (Day 1 of C25K plus a couple minutes extra cool-down). All was fine, until I was done and stepped off the treadmill and nearly fell on my ass. I have to watch the treadmill display while I run (can't look up at the TVs) because otherwise I can't gauge where on the belt I'm at and will likely slip right off the back or to either side (this is a perception/sensory processing issue). After 30 minutes of that, the whole world looks (and feels) like it's moving, and I have virtually no sense of proprioception. This is where Logan's balance work would come in, but alas, he wasn't with me.

    ANYWAY, Id like to know where you think a service dog should be placed in a gym setting. The only places I can see him fitting is behind the machine, in front of the machine, or to the side of the machine IF it's a machine on the end of a row. I don't want to put him behind me because I am likely to slip off at some time, and I don't want to fall on him and hurt him. In front of me could work, but it is technically an aisle - same as beside me. The aisles are wide, but I still worry about blocking aisles.

    So, where would you put him? Do you think having a service dog in a gym is even appropriate (it is a private club, so technically they don't have to allow him)? Any other suggestions?

    I do go during off-hours whenever possible. I went at 10pm today.
     
  2. yv0nne

    yv0nne Vizsla mom

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    I think the end of a row, beside you works the best.

    Try adjusting to the treadmill slowly. I get really dizzy if I don't slowly work my way up to running on them. I literally walk for 10 minutes the first I step back on one ..hence my not having used one in about 2yrs. I either just run outside (better workout anyway) or when it's -40, I swim! I know that's not doable for everyone, I just know how much it sucks to feel like the earth is still moving forward when you step off the treadmill!
     
  3. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    I would totally gun for one at the end of the row and try to get one where he can be on the side/having some space.. If not, in front of the machine would be my best bet IMO (with the added bonus that you can see him while you are running)

    I would avoid the back (because yea, you could step on him or fall off the back) and would stick to the front unless there is a lot of space (I know some treadmill sides can be tricky with fur and tails)

    I think having him in the gym is fine personally. Especially for things like treadmills and stationary equipment, you are in one place, you can easily keep an eye on and be close to him.

    It's not like you are letting him use equipment lol if you need him, he should be there.
    It's not like the gym is overly sanitary either :rofl1: just use the same rules you use for sweat and everything else, there should be no sign of you when you leave a machine.

    As for suggestions..
    - A mat for him? So he knows where to be/where to stay. Plus the floors of gyms can be harsh with cleaners, other peoples sweat, etc.. You want him to also have a clear idea of where he is supposed to be, you don't want a tail or hair getting caught in a machine because he changed positions
     
  4. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Forgot to say, I do have a mat :) I got a yoga mat for $8 and cut it in half. I carry one half in my backpack for when he goes to class with me, and I could easily throw the other half in my gym bag.

    I'm also not sure how he'll react to the treadmill. I *think* he'll be fine with it because he's fine with everything, but I think I'll take him tomorrow night and just walk on it for a bit and see how it works out. Tomorrow's not a C25K night, so I'll have plenty of time to test it out and everything.
     
  5. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Also, unfortunately running outside is not an option right now (though I definitely do prefer running outside and letting my dog actually run WITH me lol). It's way too cold, and it gets dark way too early. There's nowhere unpaved I can run when it's dark, and I don't want to run on pavement in VFFs.
     
  6. CatStina

    CatStina SBT Lover!!

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    I would try to be on the treadmill by the wall and have him next to the machine.
     
  7. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    My thought would be to have him on the side on an end treadmill, and if for any reason someone came along and needed more aisle space to get through, direct him to move to the front of the treadmill, but that might be hard for you to do while you're already on a moving treadmill, so I dunno.

    I'm not familiar with a gym setting, so I don't know how likely someone needed extra aisle space for say, some kind of cart, would be needed. Worst case they can always go around to the other side.
     
  8. Kilter

    Kilter New Member

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    I would maybe see if when you go, if it's quiet, if there's a staff member that can give you a hand for the first time, or bring a friend if it's something new for him. He may not 'get' you running on a treadmill if you've never done that before and want to help or something.
     
  9. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    do the handles on the treadmill help at all? I am not very versed in treadmill use but the few times I have used one I have issues with where i am at as well (I cant watch TV either :( which for me sucks) I really commend people who can watch tv while running on treadmills ... clearly harder thenit looks. But I have found that making sure I have a firm grip on the handles helps, also for the 'dismount' I always stap to the side, so you are straddling the moving belt, after I slow it to a walk pace ... but that in itself is hard because i have to concentrate on which buttons to push to stop the stupid thing LOL
     
  10. yv0nne

    yv0nne Vizsla mom

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    Holding onto the handles of the treadmill reallllly decreases any benefit you get from the treadmill! Basically, if you're holding onto the rails, you're supporting your upper half on the treadmill& you've just decreased calorie expenditure by 50%.

    Start slowly. I run marathons& when I move to a treadmill, I need to walk at a slow pace for about 10 minutes. Then get off. Then I can get back on& jog for 15- 20 minutes. Then I have to be done for the day. Repeat until the dizzy feeling stops. After about 3 times doing this, I'm fine& can run forever on it. But slow is key!

    Also, top 10 reasons not to hold on: http://voices.yahoo.com/10-reasons-never-hold-onto-treadmill-383744.html
     
  11. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    There is a service dog at the gym I go to. I've only seen the dog near the elliptical machines and he lays in front of one on the end.
     
  12. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    Oh yeah I love elipticals! they are a good alternative to people who have issues with treadmills ... also i like the excersise bikes too, then i can watch TV lol
     
  13. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I set it to stop on its own after 30 miutes, so stopping on its own isn't that bad. It's the unstable/disoriented feeling after I'm stopped that's the issue. The controls are actually really easy and in a great position.

    The handles DO help to get myself oriented while I'm starting and stopping, but I don't hold them while I run (aside from checking my heart rate, which takes just a few seconds). I do bump the side rails on occasion.

    When I start, I do start out walking because I'm doing C25K. I can easily increase the warmup walk from 5 minutes to 10 minutes though and see if that helps.

    Logan's feeling a bit off today, so I'm not taking him tonight. I'll try the ellipticals, though, and see if I get the same disoriented feeling from them. If not those would be good for days he can't come with me.

    Thank you! Knowing it's been done before does help my confidence a lot :)


    Thank you everyone for the suggestions!
     
  14. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    I have no input on where he should sit, but isn't this situation the point of having a service animal? Logan is there to help you when you need him, and you have been working with him for YEARS to train him to be a SD. After putting in all the effort, I think you should reap the benefits.

    If you need him, he should be there. There's no reason to fall over when it could easily be solved by bringing him with you. If someone has a problem with it, that's their problem - you should be granted access to a gym with a SD. You have nothing to be ashamed of or guilty over.

    ((hugs))
     
  15. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Thanks, I needed that. I'm still a newbie at this handling business (which really is COMPLETELY different from training!). You're absolutely right :)
     
  16. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I read this:

    Uh, yeah, that's the LAST thing I need! :rofl1: I have crappy balance as it is, and I've worked hard to improve it to the point it's at now, I DO NOT need to lose it.
     
  17. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I did the elliptical today, and it went much more smoothly. I'm able to watch TV while on that machine (though nothing good was on, so I stuck to my Chameleon Circuit music), and when I was done I was only a tiny bit wobbly.

    But I didn't feel like I got as much of a workout on the elliptical. The numbers on the machine said I got MORE of a workout, but it just didn't seem like it. Supposedly I burned more calories, went a farther distance, and kept my heart rate well into my target zone instead of shooting it up and dropping it back down repeatedly.

    I took a shower there today too, mostly to gauge whether it would be possible to take a shower while I have Logan. I concluded that showering there is unlikely with Logan unless I make him sit in a corner and get wet, which would make him incredibly sad lol. Plus the showers are pretty tiny, so not sure he'd even fit. That's not a big deal, though, I have a shower at home.
     
  18. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    I saw your blog, Logan is wonderful! I have Always loved collies, they are near the top of my "dogs to own" list :).

    Tell us how it goes.
     
  19. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Thanks :) Collies are definitely awesome dogs :D

    So, I took Logan to the gym for the first time today. He did very, very well. He didn't react to the machines at all except for some initial mild curiosity. He acted like an old pro :D I tried out the elliptical and the treadmill, as those are the two primary machines I use. I wanted to make sure he was fine with both, and with not just walking but running on the treadmill. And of course, he was fine with everything. The one thing is that the leash is a tad bit too short when I clip it around my waist at the elliptical. He couldn't lay flat out and had to keep his head raised, but he was a trooper about it. At the treadmill he was able to relax better since it's lower to the ground.

    Nobody said anything, everyone was very respectful, and everything just went really, REALLY well :D :D

    I'm still contemplating how to take a shower there when I have him with me, if it's possible. I'm considering everything from a pop-up sport crate to put just outside the shower, to a poncho/duct tape contraption to keep him dry inside the shower :rofl1: For now it doesn't matter, but we don't have hot water at home in the summer, so I'd REALLY like to take showers there in the summer. HUGE motivation to work out lol.
     
  20. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    I didn't mean it in a harsh way. . . more supportive? Just that if anyone is making you feel like crap over this they need to be kicked in the shins.

    I'm so glad everything went well! I would try a pop-up crate, personally. Just a cheapie. You should be able to leave him in a stay with a vest on, and I'm sure he would be fine, but you can't count on people not to freak out.
     

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