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The way I've taught it is by using a horizontal ladder first. I wish I could draw a picture cause I know I'm gonna mess this up a little, but here it goes.....

it's basically a box frame, 10 ft or so long, with 2 x 4's across it. Just basically a ladder, but one that is laying horizontally and more stable, on a frame, with wider rungs. Ours was made all out of wood and the ladder part was about 3 1/2 - 4 feet off the ground, with a step at the front and back for getting to the ladder. It teaches the dog that their legs can move independently, 4 x 4 motion, but without the increased height and instability of a vertical ladder. I'd use another person to help, because you can't let the dog fall while you're teaching it. But that is the way that my dog learned and the easiest for foundation work I've seen. After that, we moved to a stable vertical (angled) ladder that was made out of wood and attached to a wooden platform at the top.

I'm curious to hear other ways to do this...I'm sure there are some out there. This is just the way I was shown for working dogs. Good luck with it!
 

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thanks..i get wut ur saying..i think i could build something like this..the reason i ask this is because we go on a camping trip every year and the trails there have some stairs we have to climb up and down..mya is about 40 pounds so i end up getting stuck carrying her but im gonna be damned if im gonna carry an 80 pound dog up and down latters..lol..we saw a lab there last year walkin up and down them and i thought it was the coolest thing..lol
 

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fire escapes also make good practice if you're looking more for building up to scary stairs. Try to find one that is steps (versus an unstable ladder), and the metal ones that are more like grates. It usually throws the dogs off, but is very good practice for odd/scary stairs/steps. my dog has gotten a lot better, but I think some just stay a little nervous with them. I still have to practice with my dog on a regular basis, and block him or have him on a tight lead if we're going down, as he will jump if he gets the chance (to avoid the steps)
 

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This is a 9 week old puppy, right?

Just want to clarify.

I also think you have to have a dog that wants to do it. My oldest dog learned to go up a ladder on a slide just by me showing him, my other dogs look at me like...yeah...right. They have no real interest. And of course a couple would be scared poopless to do it, so I just leave them alone.

You might want to see if there is a puppy agility class.

Just be careful because you have a lot harder time undoing mistakes than by doing things slowly, positively, and well over time.

 

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Yeah, if it's for a 9 week old puppy....I'd definitely wait on the big stuff. An agility class for puppies is a great idea. I'd start there so that your pup gets used to different environmental obstacles. Then let him grow up a little and get to the other stuff. It would be pretty tough to work much on ladders with a dog so young that they are aldready clumsy and uncoordinated just walking/running around.
 

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no no no im not gonna try and do it now..he's 9 weeks old! im still working on peeing-pooping outside, sit and down. i just wanted to know for further reference. i did start him in a puppy class yesterday and they had a small agility course-set up..he didnt seem to be one bit afraid of anything but nothing was more than 2 inches off the ground..the trainer there trains SAR dogs and told me how she would teach him when he gets bigger
 

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Sounds perfect! I was thinking that would possibly be your best link for real life obstacles (SAR). Sounds like you found someone good to help you. Have fun
 

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Hey Steve - I'm in exactly the same boat. We're heading south this weekend for some hiking in Moab and one of the trails has a ladder. Blue's only 4 months right now and I've kept him in practice being carried around so it won't be a problem this time, but it got me thinking that it'd be a smart thing for me to teach him to use a ladder because my main goal for him is to be my hiking buddy (well, my all-round buddy, but I can't get anyone else in the family to hike with me so he's stuck with the job).

After reading these posts I've come up with an idea. I'm going to use 2"x4"s to build an 8' x 3' platform with 2"x4"s spaced 1.5" apart as the tread.

I'll start by elivating it a little at a time to get Blue used to walking across it. The small 1.5" gaps won't be daunting and once he's used to the elevation I'll strategically remove 2"x4" treads a little at a time so the gaps slowly get bigger until he's having to step across like a regular ladder gap then we'll start working on the angle.

I'm not a huge trainer so we won't be rushing this or anything, but if he's got it down by next spring it'll be perfect! (Well, if we could master it by this fall that'd be better, but it would be me and my undeadicated training that held that progress up).

~L'aura
 

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I've trained a dog to do it. It is very rewarding when he finally gets the idea of the object of the game.

The hardest part for my dog was getting the "Whatchu talkin' bout, Willis?" look off his face. We started with getting him to jump up and put his front paws on the ladder, then we physically pick up a hind foot and put it on the lower rung, then the other and repeat with front and back feet. You have to stay behind him to prevent him from bailing out or accidently falling. That will set you back quite a bit if he gets hurt or scared doing it. It's pretty physically demanding for a dog at first. While he was learning and fairly nervous about the whole affair he would be trembling from exertion and partly nerves, I suppose. Mine was 2 years old when he learned it. My pup is 11 weeks old now and doesn't have the upper body strength to pull himself up on the bed. Unless you want to go with the lower incline to start him out and give him the idea of the game, I'd wait until he was a little more physically mature.
Once he understood what was expected and got the confidence that he wouldn't fall over backward he relished going up the ladder and setting on the catwalk looking regal. He actually got in too big a hurry and wanted to take more than one step at a time. I just realized that we never did any work on getting down a ladder as there was just a ramp on the other end. I don't know exactly how you would go about doing that. We did have to work on controlling his descent, however, he wanted to take a couple of steps down the ramp and fly. Dogs seem to have a pretty good sense of what is too high to jump off of. I guess you could start training a descent in the same way. I would be very surprised if you could get one to back down a ladder. But then again, I've seen dogs do some amazing things.
 
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