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Discussion Starter #1
what gives?

Riley has been a wonderful dog up until about a week ago. The only thing in her environment that has changed is the weather. We were dumped on big time with nearly a foot of snow/ice last week. Now, she LOVES the snow. She romps in it, lays in it, buries her face in it, etc. Love love loves it.

However, it's now become a major ordeal getting her out to it. She's decided she doesn't like the stairs anymore. she will literally stand on the deck barking and whining while the kids, the dog and I are down playing in the snow.

what's odd, is if I go over and act like I'm going to open the gate, down she runs. Then she won't come back up. :confused:

it's been so inconsistent I can't say "oh well she must have slipped". the steps are dry, ice free. I've gotten her down with the gate gag a few times. I've gotten her back up by enticing her with her food bowl. (only when it's actually time to eat).

At one point she was out with my husband and was running UP AND DOWN a few times, no issue. :mad: So I got her to go up with little to no issue. And she would go down in the AM when we came out the first time of the day, but not the rest of the day. Yesterday my husband finally carried her down twice. She came back up just fine.

Last night I finally used the leash. She fought it twice, but then after I fastened the leash to her collar, she trotted right down the steps. Came back up fine. This morning however, she went down using the leash, with little resistance, but would NOT come back up. :angryfire:

when she is completely resistant, I take her by the leash and bring her around to the basement door, and bring her in that way. She runs right UP the inside stairs just fine. (and down if I have to take her out that way).

When she's finally to her destination, she's completely fine. Running, playing perfectly normal. There's no rhyme or reason to this. Sometimes she will sometimes she won't. it doesn't seem to matter if there's snow on the steps or if they're dry. I've moved things that were stored under the stairs. Day or night is irrelevant. The gate gag no longer works, but as soon as I jiggle the latch she starts to come down but stops.

That and the fact that she maneuvers the inside stairs with no issue have me completely confused. Also the front steps (albeit only three of them), she has no hesitation at all. This has been going on for a week since the snow and that's the only thing I can figure is causing this behavior. I really am trying to keep my cool so I don't freak her out more. Trying to remain consistent but am I ingraining a bad behavior here??? Any advice?

*I've tried treats, 'come' comand, etc. nada. she'll keep attempting and get her front paws on one step down but that's it. she keeps her butt on the deck. or the opposite when coming up; she'll stretch out so her body covers 2 or three stairs but she won't take her back legs off the patio.
 

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It sounds like she is going through a fear stage. During these times, you'll need to not to push her into situations where she is uncomfortable. Let her figure this one out on her own - meanwhile, act like going up/down the steps is normal for you. She will see that it's okay. Have you had her eyes checked? GSDs have issues with their eyes that result in all sorts of fears, what seem like aggressive behaviors and oddities. She may just be feeling more cautious on the outside steps now because she noticed they were slippery once.
 

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She may have slipped on the stairs with the ice/snow some of the time and now decided they are unreliable and not to be trusted!

I wouldn't make a big deal about it and get mad or frustrated at the dog (not saying you are).

Instead, just realize there is a new ISSUE and come up with a plan to get through it. What ever works really. THis is a perfect clicker training situation if you have a clicker. But just a fistful of treats (giving them out liberally for each step) and a jackpot at the end then going on with the day may work well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
well.. I'm still no closer to figuring a rhyme or reason with her. Now she's fine going down, but coming back up is not going to happen.

I tried her favorite treats and she just laughed at me. :p

It's currently very slippery everywhere and she's slipping and sliding on everything. that doesn't seem to stop her she's running all over the slick yard sliding left and right and seemingly loving it. the dry, ice free stairs? nope.

Today we woke up to a nice coating of ice and she trotted down the steps no issue, even skidding across the patio. :crazy:

Ah well. I've gotten past my frustration with her. I'd really hate to freak her out and have it become a permanent issue. I give her a few minutes to work it out herself, and then just get the leash and bring her in the basement. Hopefully when the weather improves she'll be back to her old stair loving self! lol

thanks for the input!
 
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