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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I have an 11 month old shepherd named Loki. He is crate trained, and yesterday I ran to the grocery store. When I returned he was at the back door greeting me. He manages to escape his crate. Now let me set this up, to go outside you must go down three steps, which leads to a landing and the back door. Since yesterday when I came home, Loki refuses to go up the stairs. He will go down them fine. But he will put his front legs on the steps but not his back, and cry and run back down, curl in a ball and shake. I had to literally pick him up to get him inside. He is showing no signs of physical injury. He runs jumps, plays and all that. He is going to the vet in an hour just to definitely rule out a problem. It seems like he has just developed an extreme phobia. The problem is, that's the only way in and out, and tomorrow I am back to work. And in pretty sure my wife will not be able to pick him up and take him up the stairs. Please help! Treats were of no use, he wasn't interested in them at all.
 

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What about other stairs - your front entrance, do you have a 2-story home, stairs at an outdoor park or building? Will he go up/down them?

Do you think there was a stranger, or strange item of noise on the stairs while you were gone?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Our front porch has 4 steps as well. He also refuses to go up those. No idea what to do, at this point he doesn't even want me trying to pick him up. He is sitting at the bottom of the steps as we speak shaking in fear.
 

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If you can rule out a physical injury, then I would try stairs away from your house in an open area outside. If you have a friend with a dog, they could be in the lead and your dog could follow.

When my dog was about 1 year, she suddenly developed a fear if going over wooden bridges on some of our hiking trails and walking over metal plates in the sidewalk. We did some walks with another dog and then used distractions like toys, fetch to go over these things. The bridge fear ended quickly, and the metal plates my dog just walks around now.
 

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I wonder does he associate going up stairs with going into his crate.

My male dog(not gsd) was afraid of stairs as well when i got him first at 6 months. He came from a house with no stairs so he just hadn't encountered them. I trained him up on any outdoor stairs i could find and got him used to climbing over things and running up dirt hills after his ball.
 

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Don't force your dog to walk over metal plates on the sidewalks. The dogs are shocked sometimes, that's why the fear. I was walking the other day and my dog yelped when stepped on the metal. Stupid me touched that spot and got shocked pretty strongly. I called the electricity company listed on the plate.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We're waiting at vet as we speak to rule out physical injury. As far as him associating stairs with his crate, he actually loves his crate. He goes in during the day to take naps and such. The porch stairs are far less steel and much wider but he still won't go on those either. We are new to the area and don't really know many people near by with other dogs. I tried again before we left and he still wouldn't even attempt. He stands halfway on the stairs and stops. Won't attempt to climb them. He laid there for a half hour before we left.
 

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We're waiting at vet as we speak to rule out physical injury. As far as him associating stairs with his crate, he actually loves his crate. He goes in during the day to take naps and such. The porch stairs are far less steel and much wider but he still won't go on those either. We are new to the area and don't really know many people near by with other dogs. I tried again before we left and he still wouldn't even attempt. He stands halfway on the stairs and stops. Won't attempt to climb them. He laid there for a half hour before we left.
Are your stairs metal / steel?
OUr previous dog hated the sound and feel on metal stairs. We have 3 metal stairs up to my husband's office, it was trauma for her to go up. It this is the case, I wonder if you can put some indoor/outdoor carpet on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Are your stairs metal / steel?
OUr previous dog hated the sound and feel on metal stairs. We have 3 metal stairs up to my husband's office, it was trauma for her to go up. It this is the case, I wonder if you can put some indoor/outdoor carpet on them.
Sorry I meant steep, not steel. The stairs are wood laminate.
 

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Ok, vet said he's perfectly fine. They said obviously something happened that spooked him. So now I need to somehow convince him that the stairs are safe and friendly
 

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Ok, I got him up the stairs three times so far with this method. Can anyone shed some light on if this is proper to do, or if I'm making it worse?

I put him on his leash, I go to top of stairs, very nice tone I encourage him with a treat while keeping gentle tension on the leash. When he tries to yank backwards and go back down he feels the leash, and he than makes a sudden run up the stairs. I than reward him with praise treats and play.
 

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they may be slippery and he might have slipped on them,,try getting some of those stair mats, they look like indoor/outdoor carpet, piece for each stair..
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Installed carpet on stairs after the vet. Got him up the stairs a few times with him on the leash and me at the top. He is still extremely scared and no where near ready to do on his own. I sure hope this passes.
 
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