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Okin 01-09-2014 08:10 AM

1 year old now scared to go up stairs
My one year old is very scared to go up the stairs in my house. She has been going up and down these stairs since she was a puppy. They are wood and a bit slippery and I think she had a slip recently. I noticed she would just sit at the bottom of the stairs and look up, you can tell she wants to be up stairs with us but is afraid to take the step.

I know she can do the stairs just yesterday when I came home I said hi to her and went up stairs she was excited so she ran right up after me. She was always anxious about stairs and would sprint up them as fast as possible, but tempting her to come up with a treat always worked before recently. I was worried about her stair anxiety so I went out last night and got carpet stair runners to help her from slipping any more. Since then she will not go up them. She will put her two front legs on the stairs but won't go any further. You can tell she wants to she attempts it over and over but is scared to take the plunge.

I carried her up the stairs a couple times thinking that if she goes down and feels the new carpet it might help her. She has no issues going down the stairs at all, but once at the bottom she won't go back up.

I have tried standing at the top and calling her, putting treats on stairs in the middle, standing at the top with every one of her favorite toys, standing at the top with all sorts of treats, going down with her and giving her treats and encouraging her to go up, staying upstairs and just ignoring her. I used to be able to take her up on a lead but now if I get anywhere near the steps with a lead on she freaks out like I'm trying to beat her.

She doesn't seem to be in pain, she runs, jumps and plays like there is no problem anywhere else in the house. I have had her xray a month ago the vet found a minor problem with one of her hips, the vet, the orthopedic surgeon both said it was pretty minor and she shouldn't be feeling pain from it right now. The opinion on this forum seemed to be the same when I posted the xray.

Any opinions are appreciated this is starting to really worry me.

halo2013 01-09-2014 08:23 AM

Dogs can't get traction on anything slippery its just wing it and run. Try laying carpet down of they are carpeted. And work with your furry friend on overcoming that new found fear. My baby has the same problem. I try to make game out of it.
I'll run up the steps because I know she will playfully chase me. When she successfully goes up and down the stares i reward her so she knows its okay to be on them

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halo2013 01-09-2014 08:26 AM

Also, you can try walking with her up and down the stairs. Put her on a leash. Don't drag her. Let her do it. It will take awhile. But your comfort beside her instead of her just sprinting them break that fear.

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Lilie 01-09-2014 10:11 AM

Use high value treats (or toy). Sit on the second or third stair and engage her. If she fetches, throw the toy and have her bring it to you. But let her only have to put her front legs on the step to reach you. Reward every time. Then give her some time to relax. Maybe play that game all day long. Wait until the next day and move up a stair or two and repeat the process.

You don't want to push her. You don't want to stress her. So if you are on the bottom stair and she is scared, get off the stairs and play next to them. If you are up four steps and she gets nervous, then come down a step. Take your time -increase your distance up the steps by using her reactions to each step.

If during the day if she happens to forget the stairs will eat her and runs up after you, don't make a big deal of it. Tell her good girl and give her tons of attention and treats for being upstairs with you but not the act of using the steps.

Okin 01-09-2014 10:47 AM

Thanks for the suggestions I will try that when I get home. I hope the carpet I added helps her out. I'm afraid the change in the steps has added to her anxiety about them right now.

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