Dog Afraid of Stairs???

Discussion in 'Woof Memorial Critter's Corner' started by David9966, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. David9966

    David9966 Guest

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    My neighbors 6year old Black Lab,Harley is his name,will go up stairs but will not go down them. He just moved here with his owners this week from an appartment that had two stairs on the porch to an upstairs appartment. They have to pick him up and carry him down the stairs like a puppy. Even treats won't coax him into going down the stairs. Is it a visual problem perhaps??? I told them that i would do some research and see what I could find out. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. P.S. I though maybe having another dog show him how it's done might be a good idea, then, if it is a visual problem, he can follow his olfactory senses and learn by example and smell.????:snoopy:
     
  2. JimBianchi

    JimBianchi Da Da CLM

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    Get him leash trained and practice around the house with lots of positive reenforcement.

    Small steps at first.

    Get him to sit on the bottom, lots of love and then the next step and so on.

    I had a collie like that when I first came to Vegas.

    She wouldn't go near the stairs. I tried stranding her at the top and playing with the other dog to make her jealous, she just sat there and the top and barked loudly!

    The Dachshund was fine with them! After much love and understanding the Collie finally used them like a champ in about three weeks.

    After that I wished she'd stayed off of them!
    Dog tripped me a few time in a rush to pass me on the stairs.
     

  3. Blinky

    Blinky Rocket Surgeon

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    Yes, first get his vision checked. If that is ok then it's a physiological issue. First thing first, DO NOT try and pet the dog and comfort the dog. What you do, when you are doing that is reinforcing what ever behavior he is doing at that exact moment. If the dog is in a fearful state of mind you make it worse by loving that state of mind.

    I would really need to know how this dog reacts on a leash during a walk to tell you where you need to go with this. If the dog pulls and yanks on the leash, this is where you need to start.
     
  4. David9966

    David9966 Guest

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    Thanks for the prompt replies. I asked about how he is to walk. They say he's super well behaved when he goes for a walk on the leash. He's good around new dogs and new people. He does go to the vet regularly and his owners spoil him a little IMO. They would be the first to notice if he had any joint discomfort, or hip trouble. I think I'll suggest the eye exam to them as a first step. They don't want to rush him into anything he's not comfortable with either, thats why they asked for my advice. I told them I'de post the question and get some oppinions. Any other oppinions are most welcome. Thanks, Dave:)
     
  5. speck

    speck

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    Try pairing him with another dog who he thinks is 'alpha' and walking down the stairs. That's what we did to get my girlfriend's everything-phobic dog to go down them.
     
  6. Blinky

    Blinky Rocket Surgeon

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    The dog should view the handler as the alpha. It would be a good idea to pair up the dog with another calm submissive dog though.

    I'll do a write up on what would do in a little bit..
     
  7. Blinky

    Blinky Rocket Surgeon

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    Alright, since they said he is good on the walk, I'm going to assume that they mean he is calm and doesn't pull. If that is the case then this is what I would do. After a nice long walk I would keep him on the leash and take him inside. I would walk him around down stairs a bit and then walk with him up stairs. Once we are up stairs I would walk around a bit up there too. Once he is comfortable walking with me upstairs I would start back towards the stairs again. I wouldn't stop or hesitate. I would take him as far as he would go and push him just a tad bit farther. Since I'm not sure exactly how close he would get to the stairs, I would hope to get him at least to the top couple steps. If I can get him that far before I would stop and just let him stand there. The whole time I wouldn't say a word to him, just let him realize that he is at the top of the steps and nothing bad is happening. After he relaxes, I would walk with him some more up stairs and do it all over again. The option is there to use treats, but the most important thing is to not beg the dog or feel sorry for the dog. It will only make things worse.

    Obviously, since we are talking about stairs here safety should be paramount. If the dog becomes scared to the point of "freaking out" then they should contact a professional in their area to get this sorted out.
     
  8. PeterJasonMN

    PeterJasonMN ****

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    My Golden HAAAAAAAAAAAATED the stairs going to my dad's basement.















    Course that mighta been due to the little "incident" we had when we tried turning her into a sled dog :innocent:
     
  9. Tazlima

    Tazlima Guest

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    Will the dog go down other stairs? I'm sure the owners would be the first to notice joint problems, but often hip and back problems first present as something like this. "My dog will go up the steps but not down" is a red-flag phrase to a vet. It may not be enough pain to cause limping or whimpering, just enough to make him not want to put his body in that particular position.

    There are some very good suggestions here of ways to deal with the issue behaviorally, but it's always a good idea to rule out health issues first. If it causes discomfort to go down the stairs, no amount of training is going to change the dog's mind.

    Example: When I was in pre-school I spent most of my time in time-out because I ignored the teachers when they told me to do things (In fact, my ONLY memory of pre-school is sitting in the time-out chair). It was only at my regular physical that my mother discovered that I had ear infections and couldn't HEAR the teachers who thought they were being ignored. I didn't cry or make a fuss about my ears, I just couldn't hear. Once the infections were dealt with, the "behavioral" problems disappeared.

    That said, I have a dog who hates walking on tile or other smooth surfaces where he doesn't feel stable on his feet. (he's had to learn to deal with it since we moved someplace with no rugs). Dogs can certainly develop weird phobias at times.