Austria’s Wolf Science Center boasts the world’s longest treadmill, designed to study wolves, dogs, and combinations of humans and both dogs and wolves. The incredibly large treadmill, 7 feet wide by 30 feet long (2.5m x 10m), was implemented at Austria’s Wolf Science Center on August 26, 2011.
Austria’s Wolf Science Center, which sounds like an amazing place to work or visit, says the treadmill is intended to simulate going on a hunt. The wolves have been raised by humans from puppyhood, and were initially trained to get on the treadmill by target training with treat rewards. Eventually, the target was moved to the still treadmill and the dogs confidently walked onto the treadmill. They then put the treadmill at its lowest speed setting and incrementally increased the speed until the wolves were running. Now the wolves jump onto the moving treadmill unprompted.
The next phase of the experiment is to put wolves and similarly trained dogs on the treadmill together, to check whether the simulated cooperation makes them more inclined to share food.
As team leader, Kurt Kotrschal tells,
“Wolves are social hunters, and we expect a great willingness to cooperate in wolves, but less so in dogs. Additionally, we want to expand this work to wolf-dog and wolf-human dyads.”