Use the stairs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Use the stairs

Duke is a 5 year old rescue GSD. I'm guessing he's never lived in a home with stairs. He has been in our home for 8 weeks and has never been on the 2nd floor. He will not go up the stairs.

He has no problem going up and down the back patio stairs. There are about 5 steps and they are wooden. They are a light cherry wood color. He goes up and down them just fine. There have been a few times after dark when he acted really weird about going down them...just stood at the top and looked down and wouldn't go down. We thought that was really strange considering he has gone up and down them many times. Nevertheless, he seems to have no problem with this set of stairs.

However, he will not voluntarily go up the stairs inside the house. They are carpeted steps, about 12 of them, straight, light tan color. We have started coaxing him up the steps with treats. We have gotten to where he will go almost halfway up. But the problem is, when he turns around to go down he won't just step down each step like he does outside. Instead he sort of runs/jumps down sometimes skipping a couple of steps...sometimes with a somewhat rough landing (he's never fallen though). It's like he's scared of going down so instead of taking it slowly he just sort of freaks out and tries to rush down.

Should we just keep doing the treat thing? Or is there another more effective method? Would it be bad for me and my husband to try to carry him up the steps so we can practice going down with him? I feel like if we could just get him up there and then use his leash and show him how to slowly walk down he would get the hang of it pretty quickly. Then again, maybe it's just going to be a slow process. Grr...I'm impatient!

~ Holly ~
Duke's Mom

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 08:40 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 401
I had this problem with my last GSD. The way I handled it was as follows...
Show a treat to the dog and then take treat to top of stairs.
Come back down and go about your normal routine. Give the dog a chance to do it own his own. If he doesn't go up there, then bring dog to bottom of stairs and let him see you go up and get the treat. Take treat and put it away and let him see you do it. Wait around 30 mins and repeat above. I did that and it took about 4 times beofre he was going up and down them like clock work. If this doesn't work then you could always just sit at top of stairs and call for him and see if he will eventually come up. It could take an hour or so though. Goodluck....


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