Train Your Dog to Go Up and Down the Stairs

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Lynn, Jen M, Doug Collins and 3 others

Are you tired of carrying your dog up and down the stairs, or just leaving your dog downstairs while you and your kids enjoy yourselves upstairs? Training your dog to go up and down the stairs will help your dog be more comfortable around the house. Your dog will also be able to join you in outdoor activities involving stairs. A lot of dogs are afraid of going up and down stairs. As a responsible and considerate dog owner, you should help your dog conquer his or her fear. It's part of helping your furry companion become mentally healthy. The less fearful your dog, the less behavioral problems you'll have to deal with. Making your dog less fearful will make your dog more confident. Younger dogs often experience this fear, so stair training will definitely help as your dog develops. Once your dog gets the hang of the stairs, you won't have to worry about your dog being left out anymore.

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The Fear of Stairs

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There are dogs that are inherently afraid of stairs. Young dogs are usually very fearful of the stairs because they haven't been introduced to this part of the house yet. You may want to talk to your veterinarian first to see if there is a medical reason for this fear. The fear may be due to something physical that's wrong with your dog.. There might be pain in the joints, which is why your dog doesn't want to engage in stair activities. The vet should rule out medical reasons first.

Fear of the stairs in dogs may develop because they may not have been exposed at an early age. Perhaps you discouraged the puppy from going up and down the stairs to keep him or her safe. Stairs may not have been introduced to the puppy because the home is a bungalow or apartment. A traumatic experience may have caused the fear, especially if pain is associated with the experience.

Importance of Conquering the Fear of Stairs

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If you manage to help your dog conquer the fear of stairs, you will end up with a versatile and happier furry companion. Your dog will enjoy every waking moment with you, especially if you have to go up and down the stairs somewhere. Parks, trails, buildings, and dog-friendly establishments have stairs. It will add to the fun if your dog is able to comfortably accompany you anywhere you go. Your dog's confidence is also increased when he or she is able to get through obstacles such as stairs.

How to Train your Dog to Go Up and Down the Stairs

Below are some valuable and proven tips to help train your dog to go up and down the stairs:

  1. 1
    Remove any obstacles on the stairs
    Before you train your dog, you should make sure your stairs are clear from any clutter to prevent your dog from tripping. This will prevent setbacks in your stair training.
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  2. 2
    Introduce the steps properly
    Let your puppy sniff the stairs and check them out on his or her own. Give treats as your dog checks out the stairs to make the experience positive.
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  3. 3
    Never force your dog to go up and down the stairs
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  4. 4
    Provide distractions
    1. Use creative distractions such as talking with a cheery tone, petting your dog, and patting your legs.
    2. You can use treats to encourage your dog to go up and down the stairs.
    3. Give praise and treats the moment your dog goes up or down each step.
    4. Add more steps each time and more treats or praise every time your dog accomplishes the next level of training.
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  5. 5
    Take it slow
    1. Make sure your dog takes slowly, one step at a time.
    2. Try your best to make sure there are no problems, and it will cause setbacks.
    3. Try to place your pup or young dog up or down a step.
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  6. 6
    Use treats to help your dog up or down the steps
    Positive reinforcement helps a lot.  
    1. Eventually, your pup or young dog will be comfortable enough with the stairs to navigate them alone.
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  7. 7
    Start at the bottom step
    1. This will make your puppy overcome his stair phobia, mostly on his or her own.
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  8. 8
    Establish play near or on the stairs
    This will make the stair experience positive for your dog.
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  9. 9
    Attach a leash to your dog's collar
    1. If your dog trusts and follows you all the time, you won't need a leash.
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Training your dog to go up and down the stairs will benefit both you and your dog. Imagine yourself being free of carrying your dog up or down the stairs. It will also give your dog more freedom around the house or anywhere he goes. If your dog is well-trained with the stairs, you will have a much happier, more fulfilled companion every time.

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  • Never pull your dog up or down the stairs.
  • Be patient and consistent with the training.
  • Make sure you are in a good, cheery mood when you train your dog. This way, your dog will always associate going up and down the stairs with a positive activity.
  • Stop the training once your dog snaps, pulls his ears backwards, or bares his teeth.
  • Give breaks to prevent stress.
  • Cover the steps with a blanket to keep your dog from becoming confused by the steps.

Questions and Answers

Fearful dog won't go down stairs.

The dog has a fear that he/she might be fall; that's why your dog is afraid. If you want to teach him how to go down stairs, the first thing to do is to show your dog how you go down the stairs. Assist or guide your dog going down stairs. You can also put a dog food on the stairs so your dog has motivation to go down stairs. If you have several dogs and, one dog is afraid going down stairs, get your other dog to show the fearful dog how to go down stairs. Dogs often teach the younger ones tricks you've taught them. Just remember to be patient while training your fearful dog.

How do I get my dog to go upstairs without frightening her?

Hi. I have a rescue dog we've had her for 4 years, whoever had her before trained her well as she is obedient and she has never ventured upstairs. My problem now is we have to move from our current home and have been offered a town house. I have been tempting her with treats, the stairs are clear and we leave treats on the stairs to tempt her but she won't go near them. I don't know what to do next so any help and advice would be appreciated. She is too big to carry upstairs I've even put her lead on to try and coax her but having no luck. If my dog won't climb stairs I may have to give her back to the rescue centre and that would break my heart. I have tried: Treats on the stairs Putting lead on her and coaxing her one step at a time Calling her up Favourite toy on the stairs. I think it was caused by: I think her previous owner didn't allow her upstairs or they lived in ground floor flat

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Article Info

Categories : Dogs

Recent edits by: Jan55, Nuance, Doug Collins

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