Teaching stairs/jumping up/body awareness? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Question Teaching stairs/jumping up/body awareness?

I need some tips on helping Tesla become more comfortable with stairs and body awareness/climbing on things.
He used to be scared of stairs as a pup, and I think he might not be totally over it because while he will go up/down them ok, when he goes up the stairs he will run up in one big rush/jump without stopping.
I've done a lot of giving him treats on the stairs and luring him up and down them when he was younger to get him more comfortable with the stairs.
I've tried this again recently to get him to climb the stairs slowly instead of running full-tilt and I've noticed if I try to lure him up to stand on the stairs he will stand at the bottom of the stairs and stretch himself up to get the treats while still keeping his back feet on the ground. If the treat is too far to reach while keeping his feet on the ground he will get nervous and either try to run up and grab them on the move or run to the top and then turn around and get the treats from there if he can.
He doesn't like to put his back feet up on the stairs, except when he is running up them without stopping. I'm not sure how to get him to work on this? He also does the same thing when I try to get him to jump or climb on something-- he will either put his front feet up and stretch without lifting his back legs off ground level, or try to leap up/over whatever it is.
I want him to learn how to climb the stairs slowly and calmly, and I would also like to be able to teach him to jump on things and stuff like that for fun and agility training but I'm not sure the best way to go.


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 07:13 AM
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I think it's simply easier for them to run up the stairs. After all, they are designed for human strides, not canine. I don't think I've ever met a big dog that doesn't take the stairs up at a rush.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 07:15 AM
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we've done training for leash walking the stairs (hotels and such for dog shows) and when they take the stairs at our pace the bigger dogs tend to have a bit more trouble with stubbing their feet on the risers and/or slipping off the edge of a step with a rear foot.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 09:02 AM
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I just lightly popped Seger and told him "with me" and "easy" when we were going up and down stairs.

have you tried teaching him to back up the stairs? I had to put Seger in a heel position and back with him while blocking him so his only choice was to back up the stairs. it's really a shaping exercise with a clicker and treats. Make it a game.

As far as teaching him to jump upon things, start low and gradually go higher. Treats, possibly lifting and placing him on higher things the first time.




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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagocanine View Post
I need some tips on helping Tesla become more comfortable with stairs and body awareness/climbing on things.
He used to be scared of stairs as a pup, and I think he might not be totally over it because while he will go up/down them ok, when he goes up the stairs he will run up in one big rush/jump without stopping.
I've done a lot of giving him treats on the stairs and luring him up and down them when he was younger to get him more comfortable with the stairs.
I've tried this again recently to get him to climb the stairs slowly instead of running full-tilt and I've noticed if I try to lure him up to stand on the stairs he will stand at the bottom of the stairs and stretch himself up to get the treats while still keeping his back feet on the ground. If the treat is too far to reach while keeping his feet on the ground he will get nervous and either try to run up and grab them on the move or run to the top and then turn around and get the treats from there if he can.
He doesn't like to put his back feet up on the stairs, except when he is running up them without stopping. I'm not sure how to get him to work on this? He also does the same thing when I try to get him to jump or climb on something-- he will either put his front feet up and stretch without lifting his back legs off ground level, or try to leap up/over whatever it is.
I want him to learn how to climb the stairs slowly and calmly, and I would also like to be able to teach him to jump on things and stuff like that for fun and agility training but I'm not sure the best way to go.
Agree with Jax, make it a game.

I have one of these:

FitPAWS® Balance Discs |

And it has all kinds of fun uses. "Up" means front paws on the disc, "Feet" means back paws on the disc. You can start by luring them on and off. There are some really good video clips on Youtube, just search for "Fitpaws". Play around before breakfast in the morning with a handful of extra tasty treats, you should be able to get his attention.

It has seemed to me, if they're confident on a wobbly/unsteady surface like this, it makes putting their feet on anything solid a total piece of cake.

Regarding stairs - my house is very small, I don't have any indoor stairs at all. I've never made a big deal out of them. The first time I take a puppy to a friend or family member's house with stairs, I just let the puppy watch another dog run up and down, and they figure it out. I've never attempted to get the dogs to stop midway down a flight of steps - it seems like an awkward position, to me.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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I've actually really been wanting to get one of those balance discs but I wasn't sure if it was worth it or not.
I have indoors stairs but the dogs never go upstairs, and rarely go in the basement so the only stairs he normally uses are the shorter front and back outside porch stairs.
When I was working on getting him used to stairs as a pup I did use the basement stairs but he still would dash up them in the same way.
I want him to be able to walk nicely by my side up and down stairs because I plan to train him as a service dog and I may also need his support on stairs...


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 10:31 AM
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How old is he? Does he show reluctance in going into strange places and rooms without you? Is he confident in new places or does he have to acclimate himself?
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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He turned 2 in March.
He's pretty confident in strange places and has no problem going in rooms/places without me although he will look back to check on me if I don't go with him he'll still go ahead with no problem.
He does hesitate a bit if there is a strange item underfoot-- not different surfaces but like if there's an actual thing he has to walk on, on top of the floor.


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 07:56 AM
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Finn's a bit oversized, his body is very long. He isn't quite in sinc with his rear end.
His trainer uses these hard foam platforms 32" x 12". They are different heights, from maybe 4" to 10".

It's an exercise that builds body awareness. The dog is forced to stand or sit straight, in good alignment front to back with al 4 paws on the platform.
It's a lot of work for Finn.
Sometimes he puts just his front paws up on the platform. Then all 4 paws. Then just his rear paws.
He has to really focus. But it's fun too.

He gets tons of praise and a few treats, so he likes going thru the stepping up, standing, sitting and stepping down.

This trainer uses these platforms when she trains dogs for show.

IMO. The exercise itself is a definite body awareness and confidence builder.
And something you can do with your dog right in your home.
Good luck.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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He definitely needs to work on body awareness and especially hind-end awareness. I'm just not sure where to start with it!
I wish there was a k9 fitness type class we could take, I Know they exist but I can't seem to find one that is active and close enough for us to attend. I bet that would help!
'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Findlay View Post
Finn's a bit oversized, his body is very long. He isn't quite in sinc with his rear end.
His trainer uses these hard foam platforms 32" x 12". They are different heights, from maybe 4" to 10".

It's an exercise that builds body awareness. The dog is forced to stand or sit straight, in good alignment front to back with al 4 paws on the platform.
It's a lot of work for Finn.
Sometimes he puts just his front paws up on the platform. Then all 4 paws. Then just his rear paws.
He has to really focus. But it's fun too.
That sounds useful! When you say foam, what type do you mean-- is it like the kind used in mattress toppers and couch cushions?
Tesla is also pretty large, I don't know if that is part of it although he's not as long-bodied as a GSD (he's a Beauceron) he is quite big and he has been going through a slightly gangly phase in the last several months for the first time (he never really went through a gangly phase as a pup!)


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