GSD scared of stairs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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GSD scared of stairs

My wife and I rescued Buddy 2 weeks ago. He is 10 months old and neutered as of this morning.

He is afraid to go upstairs or downstairs to our basement. We have tried to coax him up/down with treats but he just whines. I carried him upstairs the other day so he could see there is nothing to be afraid of, let him sniff it out and then he followed us back down fine. He won't let me carry him to the basement though, probably because of all the noises (A/C, dehumidifier, washer, dryer, etc.) Any other ideas?


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 02:49 PM
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Are the basement stairs open? That could be part of the problem.

You will get nowhere if you scare him. I would first work on making him successful on the other stairs (e.g. up to your second floor and back). I assume these are closed (and carpeted?).

You could try letting him watch you carry his supper dish to the top of the stairs. If he goes, let him eat there (maybe put down an old sheet to control the mess). If he won't you are in trouble because he will know that he doesn't have to go up the stairs if you will not make him. So try carrying him to within 2 or 3 stairs from the top.

Good luck with this.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 02:49 PM
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you need to give him time. I adopted a 4 year old shepherd about 6 years ago who was terrified of the stairs to our apartment. she could see between them. It took a lot of positive encouragement and not making a big deal out of it. We carried her up a few times which, looking back, didnt help matters. Praise and encourage. If there any particular reason you want him in the basement?

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Our stairs leading to our 2nd level are carpeted but he still doesn't come up. When we call him he puts his front paws as high as he can but his back legs don't follow.

The basement stairs are laminate. He won't even put a paw on them. It is a dry, cool in summer, and warm in winter unfinished basement so not a spooky cellar. We plan on finishing it (my man space) and I would like it to be his space when we leave the house.

This weekend he went about halfway up my parents deck stairs then got scared and tumbled down.

Thanks for your suggestions.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 03:18 PM
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Find a treat he REALLY likes and put in on the 2nd stair, then the 3rd, etc. But move him up a step only when he is in his comfort zone. Cellar stairs take longer because they are usually slippery.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 03:56 PM
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I'd just wait him out. All my youngsters took to stairs at different ages. When they realize that it's the stairs or be left alone, they'll take the stairs.

My first dog was 4 years old and couldn't figure out the stairs. Never saw a staircase before.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 07:03 PM
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I had to get my other dog to go down first, then she followed reluctantly. But she did it. If you don't have another dog in you home, have a friend come over with their dog.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 10:54 PM
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I don't know the answer as my boy has the same problem. I take him to my work on occasion, which is on the 2nd floor. He will not go up the stairs (enclosed, cement/tiled steps), in fact, he will not even go in the doorway to the stairs now. Good thing he doesn't mind the elevator. Maybe you could have an elevator installed in your house.

He is also uncertain of laminate, which my parent's have in their dining room. He crossed it, but when we were ready to leave, he was completely unwilling to go back over it. He also will not get in our bathtub. And there is a bridge at the park where we walk. He crouches down like a cat to cross the bridge. Panzer is not a fearful dog in any other area. Surface issues. . .

Haven't figured out how to correct yet.

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