Many older dogs suffer from painful arthritis, failing joints or hip problems, turning stairs they once bounded up and down into a health hazard. Fortunately, training a senior dog to use a ramp is very easy in most cases.
The rare exceptions are those situations where a dog may have developed a phobia of ramps. Our training methods, detailed below, include a training option specifically designed for dogs that may have ramp phobia.
In the vast majority of cases, teaching your dog to use a ramp will only take a few 10-15 minute training sessions. In addition, it may take a week or so of monitoring them to make sure to teach them that any alternative routes are no longer acceptable.
In the case of a dog that is very resistant to using a ramp, you should plan on spending more time on this behavior – up to a few weeks of regular training sessions.
This is not a behavior you need to put on any specific command. By using the blocking and proofing techniques provided in our training methods below, your dog will learn that the only appropriate way to cross the barrier is to use the ramp.
You will need:
Some dogs can find ramps confusing or frightening at first. For these dogs, it may take a little longer, but be sure to be patient with them. If you start to get frustrated, just give up on the training session and try again later. Look for small progress and give lots of encouragement.
The last thing you want to do is confirm your canine’s ramp phobia by allowing your frustration to confirm their suspicion that ramps are awful!