How to train a dog who is afraid of going down stairs

How to train a dog who is afraid of going down stairs
How to train a dog who is afraid of going down stairs

Is your faithful companion afraid of the stairs? There could be different reasons for this. He does not know what it is, he is afraid of falling, he is too careful… In any case, never try to force him to go up or down the stairs if he does not want, because he will have more. more afraid and he may even develop aggressive behavior. The best way is to use positive reinforcement and take baby steps away from the apprehension.


Part 1 of 2: start rehabilitation

Train a Scared Dog to Go Down the Stairs Step 1

Step 1. Evaluate your dog's health

If your friend was previously perfectly happy and now doesn't want to go up or down the stairs, it might be a good idea to get him checked out by a vet. He may be suffering from purely physical problems such as dysplasia, arthritis, or have muscle weakness or a damaged lumbar disc. This would cause him real difficulty in adopting certain positions and going up or down stairs.

In the event that you suspect that your dog is in pain and has a physical problem, the first thing you need to do is seek veterinary attention immediately

Train a Scared Dog to Go Down the Stairs Step 2

Step 2. Train it at the right time

To train your companion, you need to choose a time when he is in a good mood, alert and receptive. Do not do this when he wants to go for a walk, to eat or when he is tired. To keep your loyal friend's undivided attention, keep the sessions short, lasting approximately 10 minutes.

It is best to perform these exercise sessions right before going outside to play with him or take him for a walk. In this way, he will be motivated, because he will combine his training with a leisure time and a walk

Train a Scared Dog to Go Down the Stairs Step 3

Step 3. Never force it

When working on your dog's behavior, observe him and stop if you see him losing focus. Always give him a reward for doing something you ask him to do. When you find that he appears to be distracted or disinterested, take a break. Do not try to force him to use the stairs in any way, as this will only increase his fear.

If you are trying to get him to go up or down the stairs, your friend may become aggressive because of the fear he feels. They might bite, bark, or scratch you to show you that they really don't feel well

Train a Scared Dog to Go Down the Stairs Step 4

Step 4. Help the dog physically

If your companion has fallen down stairs in the past, it makes sense that he is scared. In this case, you may be able to help him by using a harness. With this physical support, he could feel more secure and you could catch up with him in the event that he accidentally slips.

  • To make a harness, simply fold a towel lengthwise and slip it under your dog's belly. Tie the two ends of the towel together at the top. This harness will gently support your dog when he goes up or down the stairs.
  • You can also take a sturdy, reusable shopping bag and cut it down the sides so that it lies flat, with a handle at each end. Slip it under your dog's belly and hold the wrist grips for support.
  • Do not lead him down slippery stairs or a narrow stairwell.

Part 2 of 2: Encourage a Dog to Use the Stairs

Train a Scared Dog to Go Down the Stairs Step 5

Step 1. Get your dog used to the stairs

A dog should normally be accustomed to using stairs from an early age. If yours hasn't, luckily you can still do it just like you would a puppy. Take the size of your dog into consideration. If you have a small dog, you may need to place steps (like books or bricks), as the steps will be too high for him. With a large dog, go to a place where the stairwell is large.

If you choose to use books, make sure their covers are not slippery or wrap them in towels

Train a Scared Dog to Go Down the Stairs Step 6

Step 2. Attract your companion to the first step

Start by putting down a treat that your dog enjoys on the first step, this will undoubtedly motivate him to approach. Then encourage him to get on the step to grab the treat. Speak in a soft voice, especially if he ventures to try to climb the first step with a paw on it. When he gets on the step, congratulate him cheerfully and give him the reward.

Tell him for example good dog, go ahead, ride my doggie. Once he's on the march, congratulate him by saying well done! Good dog

Train a Scared Dog to Go Down the Stairs Step 7

Step 3. Encourage him to come down

Now that he's on the first step, don't run off and leave him there! The world suddenly looks different to him, so you have to help him down. Place a reward on the floor and repeat the process, but in reverse. Repeat moving him up and down the step several times during each training session. However, do not continue too long so as not to tire him. Little by little, your friend will go up and down with confidence and pleasure. You can then make him go up on the 2nd step in the same way, and so on.

If your companion is afraid to get off the step he is on, you can help him by placing a book (or more) so that the space to be crossed is reduced. For example, put 3 books with a treat on each book

Train a Scared Dog to Go Down the Stairs Step 8

Step 4. Congratulate your friend

Do not reward your companion only for going up or down a staircase. You can also praise him when he makes an effort, puts a paw on the step, looks up (or down), and visibly tries to go up or down. By doing this, you will create a positive association between his behavior and the stairs, which will make him feel less stressed.

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