Fear of stairs — He had gone up and down these same stairs without incident for nearly a year before he just stopped cold in his tracks and refused to go down this set of stairs any longer. Fear of the Veterinarian. Never force them, however, and always make sure the dog approaches of own will. To train a scared dog to go down the stairs, place a treat on the first step and encourage the dog to step up and get it. We can also use your voice to urge them on, or keep the treats in your hand to give the dog each time they advance a step. These guidelines can be applied whether you are teaching your dog to go down the stairs, up the stairs, or both. If a younger dog refuses stairs, she may have an injury, congenital issue (hip dysplasia) or torn pad. Finally, to ensure that the stairs seem safer to your dog, you can take steps that ensure the dog won't trip or fall on them. This is exactly why dog behavior experts always … Don't forget to. How big is he? Improper Socialization. Understanding why your dog is having difficulty with stairs is the first step. I have worked with multiple dogs who were afraid of stairs or shine surfaces. Here is a step by step guide to help your dog overcome its fear of stairs. Another possibility is that the dog has an internal injury or is unwell. However, if your dog is suddenly afraid of all stairs, or seems reluctant to go up or down the stairs it usually climbs, you should try to find the cause of this behavior and take the dog to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Let your dog set the pace and keep practicing as long as your dog wants to. This will help to shift their emotional response to the stairs, making them understand that the space doesn't pose a danger or threat. Is he suddenly afraid of height? This is to get the dog to get onto the first step. Of course, if your dog seems to have other anxiety issues or is often stressed, it is best to consult a canine behavior specialist or ethologist. Each day bring the play sessions closer to the stairs, so that the dog becomes comfortable with being next to the object of its fear. The fear of going up or down stairs is very common among dogs and there are several factors that can cause it. When you give in to your puppy’s whining and carry him or her up and down the stairs, you may be enabling behaviors that could become detrimental down the road. Additionally, try playing with your dog near the bottom of the stairs so it feels comfortable being there. He didn’t fall down the stairs, didn’t get scared one time on the stairs, and didn’t have any other strange occurrences on the steps that we were aware of. This may have happened when the dog was a puppy, or it may be a more recent experience. Please note that patience is key. Published Date: December 12, 2017. We’re always happy to help! Insufficient exposure. A Dog Trainer’s Tips for Dogs Scared of Stairs. Lack of Exposure to Stairs. First, you need to get your dog comfortable with being near the staircase. This is more likely to be the reason for dogs that are suddenly afraid of stairs if they show no signs of impaired mobility (i.e. Having long nails may sometimes make it difficult for dogs to get a proper grip on stair surfaces, especially those made of laminated wood. In this AnimalWised article, we provide instructions for what to do if your dog is afraid of stairs, looking at possible the causes and solutions that you can apply. Dogs can be clumsy – they don’t understand that sometimes things fall over because they bumped into it, and they don’t understand that sometimes things just randomly fall. My 11wk old Labrador Cody has suddenly started to lie down and not want to budge towards stairs. There is a possibility where your dog is suddenly afraid of using the stairs because he is in pain when he uses it. We will follow the general guidelines mentioned in the previous section, and use positive reinforcement and encouragement to help your dog progressively lose its fear of stairs. You could carry them, but that is hardly an effective long-term solution. But all of a sudden he is scared to go up stairs. In this video I cover how to eliminate a dogs fear of the stairs. First, Add Non-Slip Rugs. He can run down them just fine but he refuses to go up. The idea is to finally get your dog to climb up or down all the steps in one go. Wait at the top or bottom of the stairs with a tasty treat or its favorite toy in your hand and call to the dog. Dogs are afraid for taking the stairs for a lot of reasons. Make sure you have the vet rule out any medical conditions before taking the next steps. Bathmophobia, or the fear of slopes or stairs, is a somewhat complicated phobia. This isn’t a one-time process. If your dog is hesitating he may need a little extra support and guidance to feel like he can go down the stairs safely. Encouragement and starting small are the keys. The reason may be physiological or psychological. He had never been afraid to go up or down stairs before, but a few days ago, he was suddenly unable to go up the wood stairs of my deck outside. Overgrown nails can lead to a host of other issues so we recommend clipping them to the appropriate lengths as soon as possible. This learning should be be based on positive reinforcement and counter conditioning. A puppy that’s afraid of stairs is a much simpler problem to handle than a fully-grown dog who has either never used stairs or is fearful of them. How old is the dog? Sometimes, it is simply the way the stairs appear to the dog that can cause fear. They may have taken a tumble or even injured a leg or perhaps hooked a nail in the wood which caused pain when they tried to climb the stairs. In fact, you may notice that your dog can climb up the stairs but is afraid to to go down them, or vice versa. If you have stairs with wide slats, putting a blanket or rug over the steps also helps hide the gaps, making the stairs appear less dangerous to your dog. Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA The Dog Trainer. Most dogs and puppies dislike walking up or down stairs because they’re slippery. Your dog could have taken a tumble climbing up or down – they might be avoiding the stairs, not the room. Genetics may also play a role in dogs that are afraid of stairs. Your dog used to go up and down the stairs with ease but one day looks terrified as he approaches the stairs. Cause of a Fear of Going Up and Down Stairs . Once your dog begins to climb the first step without fear and or needing a reward, help them continue this progress by putting a treat on the second step. Author; Recent Posts; Follow me. Pet Hooligans – Are Stairs Dangerous for Your Puppy . I have a 7 year old yellow lab that has lived in my house his entire life. It takes balance and coordination to maneuver four legs within small spaces that suddenly incline or decline, and coordination has to be learned. If you suspect this is the case, keep an eye out for other signs that your dog is in pain. If dogs are never exposed to something during their socialization period, they don't adapt the ability to handle it as adults. For example, you could spend some time playing with your dog near the steps or give him his favorite toys whenever he is nearby. There are no miraculous or instant solutions that will have your dog going up and down stairs in a flash. Recording these signs will help your vet understand what health issues your dog has if any. Check how long your dog’s nails are. When he's at the bottom of the stairs, he barks and whimpers when we call him to come up. Such experiences can leave a long-lasting negative experience for your dog. How longstanding is the habit of fearing steps? It is a process that takes some time, but with love and patience, your dog's stair nightmare will soon nothing but a bad memory. You can use rewards like small treats or toys to encourage them to come closer. Once the dog reaches you, give them the toy or treat as a reward, pet them and congratulate them on doing a great job. Once your dog is used to the stairs at home, it will be much easier for them to overcome their fear of stairs in other environments. All the same, in case the dog is suddenly confronted with a tricky flight of stairs or its fear returns, we advise you to always carry s few treats when you take your dog out. Carry the dog down the stairs for now. If you find that the dog is still very reluctant, use a stronger incentive or reward such as a piece of chicken, or something you know your dog finds irresistible. Episode #178. play pause. Other times, they might need pain management treatment. he's about 7 years old now and has gone up and down the stairs at least 15 times everyday. 3 Reasons Why Your Large Dog is Afraid of Stairs, 3 Reasons Why Your Dog Keeps Falling Down the Stairs, 3 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Refuses to Come Inside, 3 Reasons Why Your Dog is Suddenly Gassy & Farting Like Crazy Lately. There are different associations that can trigger a phobia of stairs in a dog or puppy. Helping an Old Dog Get Over Her Fear of the Stairs . If your puppy or rescue dog is afraid to go outside, it could be because they … They will be best able to advise you on how to deal with your dog's anxiety, including its fear of stairs. If you live in a single story home, it's possible that your dog won't see stairs until a little later in life. It is also impossible if you have a large dog. If you see your dog wanting to go down the stairs to be with you, but seems scared, there are some things you can do that will make life easier. To help your dog overcome its fear of stairs, try moving its feeding bowl to the base of the stairs so it associates the area with positive experiences. Otherwise, he may become even more fearful of the stairs. Once that’s done, you need to encourage your dog to use the stairs one step at a time. your dog is jumping and running around just fine when he is not close to the stairs). Once the dog goes to you, encourage them to. Adrienne Farricelli. This can lead to approach avoidance behaviors where one moment he seems really motivated to go up or down, and the next, he backs away. Furthermore, the dog's fear of stairs will be reinforced, which is the opposite of what you want to achieve. The dog may have developed a new phobia to stairs based on a traumatic experience like the ones described above, and which you did not notice. References and Further Reading. At the same time, many of dogs' lifetime fears actually stem from lack of experience with things. If your dog falls down the stairs or obtains an injury while he or she is on the stairs, they may come to associate the steps with that negative, painful feeling, and that is what leads to a phobia. In such cases the dog is just showing caution, as a human might, when confronted with what looks like a tricky staircase. This may make the dog more reluctant to step on the stairs. Your email address will not be published. Your first goal is to help the dog build positive associations with the stairs. As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day”. 80lb Dog Afraid of Stairs-I Live in 2nd Story Apartment Please Help! Once the dog can climb all the steps without fear but with you by their side, it's time to move to the final stage of training: getting the dog to walk the stairs by itself.
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