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Old 08-21-2009, 06:00 PM
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We had stairs before and I trained her as a pup to go up and down. She caught on within a day or so. We have also visited relatives who live in a high (raised ranch) and she did the stairs beautifully.

Now we are in a 2 story apartment after being in flat one. The stairs, which go up to our bedrooms and bathroom, are carpeted but 'open' in the back. The dog used to sleep in my room and did so since she was a pup (she's nearly 2). Now she will not go up these stairs.

She whines when we go upstairs, she cries, then sighs and goes back to her blanket on the livingroom and that is it...

I liked her in the room with us but now she is self isolated. I know she loves being with us and this makes me sad. Not even my husband can get her to come up (and he is the pack leader and she LOVES him. My son calls her (her other favorite) and she just whines....

I have tried treats (even her favorites) but she only goes up maybe 2 stairs, whines and runs away.

Is there ANY way to get a dog used to 'open stairs?'
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:11 PM
Location: "The Sunshine State"
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I know when I visited a friend with my dog and he saw their wide case, open, carpeted stairs, he would not go up either and my dog goes up all other stairs.
Your dog is spooked by that opening. Alot of dogs are. I have seen it.
Is she a big dog? Can you carry her up? Then let her walk down the stairs? Then maybe to get her up sit with her and do one step at a time with a treat very slowly. A little each day.
Also maybe try watching some episodes of the Dog Whisperer, they may have an episode pertaining to this problem.

Last edited by Blondie621; 08-21-2009 at 06:33 PM..
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:07 PM
Location: St. Croix
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Do the stairs have risers? One of ours is reluctant, now in her old age, to go up as, I believe, she can't see the risers - down is not a problem as she doesn't need to see them going down. Oh, and like yours, she had no problem in another house but those stairs had distinctive risers to help guide her.

Blondie621: I think you and I are referring to the same thing, or maybe you're speaking to the spindles that are attached to the rail are further apart - or just different. Still, I agree, with patience and treats, they'll do almost anything to please. And big time party treats when bedroom arrival is made.
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:40 PM
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hold the dog up and let the dog be with you! Then go slow with the down stairs and the up!
Boy did I freak out with my young puppy and stairs going down for the dog to be trained. I just would pick her up and the trainer said let her go down?
That for a tiny puppy was a long way 20 steps deep! Yes she did come, but that was not my idea of how to do it? In the house the steps with carpet they would come up and down. The basement noway!
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:15 AM
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Actually my husband tried to carry her (she is 50 lbs) and she peed the stairs. I just told him to forget it.

I don't like them either (the open backs) nor does my son who has major trouble with stairs/depth perception but he is doing well now with them. I think the dog is eventually going to come up or if not, she can just 'guard downstairs' at night.

Thanks for the replies.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:44 AM
Location: Chicago, IL
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One of our pups, in particular has a similar problem. In our complex, they take the CARPETED stairs on the first and second levels that lead down to the basement level and that's it (Sometimes they are iffy about going up/down but usually they do not have a problem). On the third level and up, it is just concrete stairs and they refuse to go up them. I don't know if it's the feeling on concrete on their paws (they tried once, and my puppy slipped), or what it is.

Also, at Petsmart where we did our training, our youngest pup races down the stairs (which are kind of like a < shaped staircase), but he is terrified going up. Our trainer tried helping us with this, and he goes up about halfway and wants to come back down once there. We have tried treats on every step and praise, but we just have to work on it one step at a time. If you try and do the entire flight at one time, I think you might just be setting your dog up to fail? You always want to end things on a good note, so try a few steps at a time, give praise, and try a little more next time.
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Old 08-25-2009, 04:49 AM
Location: Kenmore, WA
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Originally Posted by GypsySoul22 View Post
I have tried treats (even her favorites) but she only goes up maybe 2 stairs, whines and runs away.
I wasn't sure from reading this whether you were there lavishing praise in your "happy voice" and laying down more treats on the third, fourth steps, or just standing back. I know when I was working with my Lhasa (years ago) while out on walks, he needed me right next to him encouraging every step when he faced something he was afraid of. We never backed away, but just waited there at his fear point, while I talked "happy" to him, and encouraged movement forward by gradually moving myself forward (at a snails pace).

You may have to sit on each step, and lavish treats and praise for each success. Loving diligence is going to be the answer.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:53 AM
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Try working on agility-type obstacles first (ie, ramps, tubes, etc) to get your pup to trust that when you ask him to cross strange-looking obstacles he won't get hurt. Also see if a friend has a good stair-climbing dog you could borrow, who could help show yours the ropes. It's amazing how quickly they can learn from another dog...
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