He’s been a staple part of the family for longer than you can remember. Everyone has a soft spot for your older dog, including your partner and even your mother-in-law. However, occasionally you’re cozied down on the sofa, half-way through an episode of Judge Judy, when you hear a moan from the bottom of the stairs. There you find your dog--he wants to go upstairs. As he’s gotten older, he’s developed a habit of snuggling at the bottom of your bed upstairs. He’s definitely getting needy in his old age.
Training him to use the stairs will save you from breaking your back carrying him up each evening. He’s not as light as he was as a puppy and you’re not as strong as you were in your youth. So, let’s not say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
Training any dog to use stairs can be challenging. They may look like a minor obstacle to us, but they can look steep and daunting to dogs. Also, because he’s older, he won’t have the reckless bravery he did as a puppy. This all means you may have your work cut out. However, don’t be deterred, it is still achievable. You will have to find the right incentive to lure him up and down the stairs. You’ll also have to practice regularly to gradually build up his confidence.
If he’s still a fast learner, you could see results in just a few days. If he’s often tired and uninterested, then you may need a couple of weeks to see consistent results. Succeed and he’ll have much more space to roam around while you’re out at work.
Before you start training you’ll need to gather a few bits. A generous supply of treats or his favorite food broken into small chunks will be needed. Of course, you will also require a set of stairs to practice on each day.
For one of the methods, you’ll also need to pick up some scent markers online and get your hands on a new toy. Then you’ll need to set aside 10 minutes each day for training. Try and find a time where noisy kids won’t be charging past getting ready for school.
Once you have the above, you just need patience and then you’re ready to go!
She cannot get up on my new higher bed. I bought the doggie steps for her. How do I get her comfortable with them?
Hello Sharyn, Check the article that I have linked below. The article I have linked is written specifically for older dogs learning how to navigate bed stairs. https://wagwalking.com/training/use-bed-stairs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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When Molly was a puppy, she would go up the steps just fine. Once she got spayed and was wearing a cone, she got scared. The cone would hit the railing and the sound would scare her back down. Ever since then she won't go up or down the stairs.
Hello Kendall, Check out the article linked below. I suggest teaching the stairs again as if they are new to pup. Follow the Slow & Steady method. https://wagwalking.com/training/use-stairs If you can't even get pup to go up the first couple of steps using rewards, I suggest purchasing some bed stairs or going to another location and practicing on a different set of steps first, before then trying your home stairs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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