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Old 05-26-2014, 10:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 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!!
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Old 05-26-2014, 10:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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do you have a long enough leash you can leave her at the top while you go to the bottom and have her favorite toy / game/ treat with you ...and make a big deal "wooop it up" about coming down??
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Old 05-26-2014, 10:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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we have kind of the same set up and Roxy knows if we go down the front steps ..that means we are only going out to do business...where when we go down the deck steps that means we are going out to play. They are too smart for OUR own good!
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Old 05-26-2014, 10:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Since the new stairs are outside, they are different than the staircase inside. The outside steps are open and that is probably causing the problem. It might help to get a canine helper to show her that it is no big deal. Another dog that will go up and down the steps and thru the dog door since that could be an issue also. If you don't know someone with a suitable dog, I suggest you contact a trainer.
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Old 05-26-2014, 10:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am going to be the big meany here, and say throw a leash on her, and manually place her feet on the steps till one at a time until you are 1/2 wAy up. The you keep walking to the top and put slight tension on the leash until she move forward on her own. She has to go one way or the other.

Quit making a big deal out of it. You are creating a fear, the bigger deal you make of it.

Just make her do it. You are not asking her to scale the Hoover Dam.

I say this with the understanding that nothing traumatic has happened to her on said steps.


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Old 05-26-2014, 10:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Maybe a middle ground? Don't feed her for a day then put her foot part way up the stairs? Or if there is an A frame in your area somewhere go up and down that?

Just a couple of ideas no first hand experience this issue.
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Old 05-27-2014, 07:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary Beth View Post
Since the new stairs are outside, they are different than the staircase inside. The outside steps are open and that is probably causing the problem. It might help to get a canine helper to show her that it is no big deal. Another dog that will go up and down the steps and thru the dog door since that could be an issue also. If you don't know someone with a suitable dog, I suggest you contact a trainer.
I think this is quite possibly an issue. Open stairs is one of the "nerve" tests people do with a working dog as many dogs are not comfortable on them.

You could try closing off the backs with something temporary to see if that is the issue.....it does not have to be durable.
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, we've tried the leash thing (placing her midway up the stairs), to a degree. We put her leash on and placed her mid-way up the stairs in order to just see what she would do. And she would shake and run down as quick as possible. I havent tried putting pressure on though that might be next.

As far as the backs of the stairs, thought about that too. I read somewhere putting a blanket down might help, so I may try that next.

Thanks to all... we'll see what happens!
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Glad to report that puppy now goes up and down the stairs on her own accord! I added a layer of house wrap under the steps to block them out yesterday and she decided that was good enough to go down while on a leash. She still wasn't having any of that going up thing though. So I went up behind her helping her up as we worked on going down un-aided. When Jillian1104 got home we went to show her the progress and Pierre went right down the steps all by herself without the leash. Then today she decided, if down is so easy, no reason up can't be too right, and now she travels up and down freely. Next step, getting her to use her dog door.
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Old 05-29-2014, 01:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Congradulations!!!
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