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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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New puppy & stairs

Hello.

We have a new puppy and she's hesitant to climb our stairs. Sadie is 3 months old and was bred in a ranch style home.

Our stairs are not too steep and they have a "landing" about halfway up. Then, the stairs go 90 degrees to the right.

My thought was to put a treat about halfway up the landing, then sit on that step, encouraging her to join me. (treat as reward for doing so)

Was then planning on the "rinse, repeat" treatment to eventually get her all the way up.

Any advice on this is welcome!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: New puppy & stairs

Got her up to the landing with the "treat method"...she's not so happy with the coming down part, but so far, so good.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 09:52 AM
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Re: New puppy & stairs

I had a sort of similar problem with my Wolfie and I found out that the type of treats used makes a world of difference. I was going nowhere with the garden variety dog treats -- he wouldn't come anywhere near the stairs. Then somebody on the forum recommended hotdogs and viola! He would do anything for bits of hotdogs. With Wolfie, his limit was 3 steps -- he wouldn't venture beyond that. What I did was give him a taste of the hotdog first, put him on the fourth step from the bottom, put a piece of hotdog on every step and lure him that way. Slowly, I increased the number of steps and by the end of that evening, he was scampering up the stairs and staring at me from up there in the hope of more hotdogs. Eventually, I phased it to hotdogs on every other step and within a week, he didn't need treats to get up and down the stairs.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: New puppy & stairs

That is funny!

I used pieces of a broken "Meaty Bone" and when I had to take a break for a call, she was scampering around wondering, "Where did the Meaty Bones go?!?!"

I am hoping to get her to the top of the steps before bedtime tonight.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 02:46 PM
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Re: New puppy & stairs

At 3 months, you might still be able to carry the pup up the stairs. If you can - try doing that and see if the problem is the act of climbing the stairs, or fear of what might be in the "unknown" territory at the top.

Most pups want to be where you are more than anything else - so if you walk up the stairs and disappear from view, she will almost certainly make every attempt to follow. Coming down is harder, just because of the extra agility it requires, but the pup should very quickly adapt.

I once had a dog that would not climb stairs no matter what - even peed on me when I tried to carry him up... so we just agreed that he would stay downstairs. That should not be the case in your situation though....
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 03:04 PM
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Re: New puppy & stairs

I used tough love. Nikon had no issues going up from the start but refused to go down. For the first few days I carried him b/c he seemed so small. Right when I got him I injured my hand and so it became very painful to hold and lift him certain ways so one day I just said, if you want to come down then you have to come down yourself! He howled for a minute and then came down. That night he was flying up and down like a champ. Mind you our house is designed kind of strange and we only have 6 stairs on each stair case, plus the stairs and landings on each end are carpeted so he can't slip.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 05:38 PM
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Re: New puppy & stairs

I usually don't allow puppies climb any stairs until they about 4 months old or I cannot carry them anymore (over 40lb). When they are older the stairs are not a problem.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 06:34 PM
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Re: New puppy & stairs

We taught Jesse to do the stairs but us doing them on our hands and knees climbing them and going down (that was scary), we also had my sister-in-laws dog show him too, he learned fast.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 09:45 PM
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Re: New puppy & stairs

Just curious, because my stairs are made of wood and could be slippery, what are your experiences and suggestions? Could your GSDs climb stairs easily or will I have to do something to the stairs to change that
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2008, 09:53 PM
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Re: New puppy & stairs

Our basement stairs are carpeting and have a plastic runner in the middle. The stairs between the 1st and second floor are wood.

Mauser will go up but not down, yet. We haven't really started working on that - just let him follow when he will.

I start by placing the pup on the stairs - one step from the top and then walk up WITH them, encouraging with a treat. When that becomes easy for them I will put them 2 steps from the top - and so on. Going down is the same - place them one step from the bottom to start and build (backchain).
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