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Old 01-22-2014, 10:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Puppy and stairs

Hi,
I've had lots of dogs in my life, but this is a new problem for me. I have a GSD pup named Nova that will be 13 weeks old on Saturday. I've had her since 7wks old. On the front of our house, we have three small steps that take you from the door to the actual yard. She goes up them just fine and has for weeks.
However, she will only go DOWN the stairs if it is my husband that takes her out. She follows him just fine. But when I try to do the exact same thing, she backs all the way to the end of the lead and screams like being slaughtered. Even for food or treats, she will not get any closer than several feet away.
I know she isn't afraid of the steps, since she's doing them with my husband. But I'm her main caregiver and almost sole provider/trainer. Why will she not do this for me? She is growing quickly and soon I will be unwilling to carry her down the steps when I know she's capable.
It makes no sense!! Please help before I go crazy!!
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is the Hilarious Difference Between Dogs and Cats - Animals Video

How does your husband go down with her? Maybe use the same technique/body language as he does.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frostwolf7294 View Post
Hi,
I've had lots of dogs in my life, but this is a new problem for me. I have a GSD pup named Nova that will be 13 weeks old on Saturday. I've had her since 7wks old. On the front of our house, we have three small steps that take you from the door to the actual yard. She goes up them just fine and has for weeks.
However, she will only go DOWN the stairs if it is my husband that takes her out. She follows him just fine. But when I try to do the exact same thing, she backs all the way to the end of the lead and screams like being slaughtered. Even for food or treats, she will not get any closer than several feet away.
I know she isn't afraid of the steps, since she's doing them with my husband. But I'm her main caregiver and almost sole provider/trainer. Why will she not do this for me? She is growing quickly and soon I will be unwilling to carry her down the steps when I know she's capable.
It makes no sense!! Please help before I go crazy!!

Just my typical knee jerk reactions to many issues of this nature...and strictly my opinion.

Human leadership is recognized by dogs in many different ways....equals confidence by both parties. Human trepidation is sensed by a dog in as many ways if not more.....destroys confidence in both parties.

Perhaps, your new pup Nova has already sensed that she can confidently follow your husband through the gates of Hades regardless of who feeds or trains her. Your confidence is transmitted at the end of the leash you are holding. I would be curious to have you rewind the tape and see if you can recall a moment when those "innocent" three small steps posed a problem while you were at the helm. Requiring a dog's behavior based on one's true expectations is so vastly differently than hoping for a dog to behave properly.

Just a thought.

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Old 01-22-2014, 11:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Replies posted are spot on.

I just came in wanting to say how great your pup looks!! And those ears @ 13 weeks!! Cute... <3


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Old 01-23-2014, 11:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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As of tonight, I'm actually having her follow me out the door, down the stairs on her own, with no lead at all. No problems now. She follows me out does her business not too far from me, then runs back and we go inside. Hope this stays a decent solution for awhile.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i think you should start step training. 1 or 2 steps at a time.
treat, praise, pet, etc.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Turns out it wasn't the stairs she was afraid of. She flies down them now. I guess I must have done something in the past to scare her where me/the leash/the stairs were all involved at the same time. I have no clue what, but we seem to have moved past it. She follows me right down them now.

Thanks for all the replies.
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