Join Date: May 2013
Location: Glen Burnie, MD
Teaching my dog to go up and down new stairs
We've recently remodeled a second story room in our house and added an outside door with access to our backyard via small deck and stairs. We even added an automatic dog door, allowing our dog access to the outside even when we are not home. Here's the rub though: our pup is afraid to use the stairs!
Let me add to this explanation by saying that we live in a split level home and part of her every day life is going up and down the stairs, which she does without problem. At 15 months old, she's been doing so now for over a year since we adopted her. But, she's acting like she's never seen stairs before.
When the stairs were finished being built yesterday morning, we walked up and down them so that she would see that they were safe. When that didn't work, we put treats on every step, but she only ate the ones that she could reach without putting her back paws on the steps and left the rest (even though they were some of her favorite treats). We also tried walking up or down with her on a leash, but she just cowered like we were trying to hurt her or something. I've read here that people have carried their dogs up and down to get them used to being in both areas, but at 65 lbs, that's not as easy to do. Plus, making the other side of the stairs too attractive to pass up is done naturally because it's the outside… where she would stay all the time if we let her.
So long story short, anybody with advice on what to do next would be very helpful!!