Dogs get a work out and greyhound owners save shoe leather thanks to Carlow innovation.

In Bagenalstown, County Carlow, John Madden has invented and constructed his own dog walking machine.

This new conveyor belt style of machine means that one man definitely won’t walk the legs off himself while training his greyhounds. These days John Madden just puts the animals up on the machine, presses a switch, and sits back to watch them walk.

In future versions of the machine, time switches will be installed, to make sure the dog isn’t accidentally left on too long.

The idea came from Paddy Cashman, a Cork based dog trainer, who operates a similar machine for his greyhounds. Powered by a petrol engine the belt travels at approximately four miles per hour. Sessions in last for 15 minutes, as the dogs need to be walked between four and five miles per day to prepare them for racing.

Greyhounds have a nervous temperament, so one would think that it must have been difficult to get them used to something like this. It was not too much of an adjustment, maintains John,

It takes a bit of practice, when they get used to it; they’ll come out and go up on that machine themselves.

Does he foresee dog walking machines being adapted for smaller dog breeds?

I’m sure you can build them for poodles alright, but this is really for greyhounds, you know.

From an episode of ‘Hall’s Pictorial Weekly’ broadcast on 10 January 1974. The reporter is Frank Hall.