Helping them up & down stairs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Question Helping them up & down stairs

Hope this isn't the wrong spot, dearest Dynamo is catching frisbees & cat whispering in that Big Giant Dog Park in the Sky. Like our other shepherds before her, she got to the point where she couldn't get up and down stairs on her own, my own attempts where clumsy and awkward. I used an H harness, but still, not great on her last days, and I had to drag her across a lawn on a towel because I couldn't lift her when she collapsed. Luckilly, when it started to rain, she had enough strength to stand so I could hoist her up the stairs with the harness, or towel (towels twisted over the rib cage work too). I've been through this 3 times,
Soooooo...my thoughts is that I should never get a dog over 50 lbs again, which means saying goodbye not only to Dynamo but to the last German Shepherd I will ever own, but so many people have big or even huge dogs, I just wonder, what do you do? Are you stronger or live in a house with less stairs? My house has stairs to get into both entrances (8 & 6, main entrance & basement)
I figure while I wait for the right time to get another dog (March, I think) I can take some time to research. I'm scratching my brains out trying to figure out what dogs are like shepherds but half the size, and I would have another shepherd in a heart beat if I knew how to handle those last days (which can be a whole lot of days).
After 3 dogs it's impossible not to think of the last days even before the first days, I know how things will go now.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 10:46 PM
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Maybe a ramp would work. But start training early ,when the dog is a pup.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 11:00 PM
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When my old guy got bone cancer in a foreleg, we put in a ramp, and it helped him a lot for a while. I also had a fleece thing with handles that wrapped under his chest, with the handles on top, so that I could take the weight off his front if he went down or up stairs. I also used it to help him get up from the floor when he was laying own. It's a more convenient version of the towel method. It does take a lot of upper body and core strength to do that, and I know that will get harder as I get older.

With a totally collapsed, unconscious dog (dead weight) in my backyard, I once had to put one in a wheel barrow to wheel the big dog out to my vehicle and load it up to race to the vet clinic. I was by myself and couldn't carry the dog the distance to the driveway, but the wheelbarrow worked.

If you have to downsize, maybe get a small GSD female that's barely in the breed standard -- one of the itty-bitty girls who only grow up to be about 45#. They aren't common, but they're out there. Or maybe get a Dutchie.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 11:04 PM
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-19-2015, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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The harness might work, good to know in case I cave and get another shepherd. But a pint sized shepherd would be a dream (yes, 45 lb would be pint sized). More dog lifting stories welcome, sad but welcome. I do want to know.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2015, 08:40 AM
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I also taught my big dogs how to put their front feet up in the vehicle so I could boost them up if I had to..I haven't had one yet, that totally collapsed and unable to move, even when they hit 13/14 years old so I'm no help there.

I can say, my two aussies who were 40-45lbs where heavy to lift up and down stairs as they aged, when they passed I went with mini aussies who weigh in more around 20lbs,,much easier to lift and the same spirit as the big ones..

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2015, 01:22 PM
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My dogs are trained to ramps. This started long ago with the late Barker Sisters the First. A friend had bought a ramp & we tested it with the truck. It was a big success and this paved the way for when they needed a ramp in old age. Another thing might be to start with a dog cart (doggy wheel chair) when the dog starts to age but before they truly need it. The one I got (dogonwheels) had a sling that worked well for walking the dog without the wheelchair, too. My mistake was waiting too long to get it.
Fortunately my front door had one step to the stoop and one step from the stoop to the lawn. I could then walk the dog along to the back yard (down a slope) which would have required a full flight of stairs indoors or from the back deck. The ramp worked great for loading in the truck.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2015, 02:58 PM
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Those "mini" girls (45-50#) aren't terribly hard to find in rescue, if you're open to an adult. That way you know they're done growing. You won't have a problem finding one, if you don't care about color.

Here are some adopted little females I've known recently who were in the 45# range, fully grown -- just to give you an idea of what's possible, once you decide to start looking:





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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2015, 04:25 PM
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When I moved here 20 years ago, one of the first things I did was have my handyman build a ramp coming off of the top platform of the stairs (it's not that big maybe 4x4 feet). It's been so handy over the years and I even needed to use it when I hurt my back. I've also had to use a Help-em Up harness on a few of the seniors who lost control of their rear end ... easier to get them up and down the ramp that way ... and walk around for potty time.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2015, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Magwart, you are teasing me in a wonderful way. They are gorgeous, wonderful, delightful. I wouldn't have thought they would be common.
When I'm ready to look, an adult rescue from a local shelter is exactly what I'd be looking for, but now I can hope to find a smallish gsd.
Thanks for that.
And happy (well sort of, it's a sad topic) for the continuing topic of helping them up and down stairs. It stage that is very common, little prepared for. Some houses are more, um, 'rampable' than others. A ramp up our stairs would have been too steep, but for many others, it is probably a very good solution. For agility, I used to put a ramp up the stairs to practice A-frame moves, just remembered that fun thing.

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