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How to Train Your Dog to Walk on a Slippery Floor

How to Train Your Dog to Walk on a Slippery Floor
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-4 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Walking on a slippery floor can be a scary task for any dog. If your dog slips and slides on your tile floor or the floor at your veterinarian's office, he may be apprehensive to visit that room or his own doctor. A dog who slides around and falls a lot on a slippery floor could become injured. You want your dog to be safe but also know how he can manage walking across your tile or your wood floors without damaging them and without slipping and falling. 

Dogs who have fallen in the past may be apprehensive about walking across a slippery floor because it can be a scary task once an injury has occurred. Older dogs or dogs who have arthritis may have constant pain and worry about not only falling but also sprawling and losing balance as they try to maneuver their way across the slippery floor. But you can teach your dog how to walk across these sorts of floors.

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Defining Tasks

Training your dog to walk on a slippery floor will take a little bit of time. If you have a younger dog, it might be easier than if you're working with an older, arthritic or even a large breed dog. Building trust in you as well as with himself is going to be important in this training. Your dog needs to know that he can walk across this floor and not slip and slide or fall and get hurt each time he tries. He's going to need lots of love and encouragement from you as well as some special tools to help him get across. Consider placing small area rugs or even a bed somewhere on the floor so when your dog is in this space, he has a safe place to go to sit or lie down. This will also help him get up off of the slippery floor should this be a place where he chooses to lie down and sleep. Slippery floors can be found in various places, whether within your home, within your veterinarian's office, and even at the groomer's. Train your dog to have trust. Walking across a slippery surface will take some time and patience but can certainly be done right.

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Getting Started

To train your dog this somewhat scary task, you're going to need high-value treats. Bring lots of patience to these training sessions. Some of these methods require non-slip mats so your dog can walk across the floor without having to touch the floor at first. As he builds up trust in his skills, he is more likely to take on the slippery floor once he's been exposed to it through safer methods. Find some non-slip mats for practicing getting across the floor. You can purchase bath mats or a rug pad that would typically go under a rug to keep the rug from slipping. Rug pads can be cut to size and are relatively inexpensive, so using them for training and cutting them may be more economical than purchasing several mats for the purpose of training.

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The Treats and Leash Method

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Treats

Offer your dog some high-value treats from a safe place off of the slippery floor and then sprinkle a few on the floor you need your dog to walk on.

2

Leash

Leash your dog so you can have better control over him while he's learning to walk on the slippery floor.

3

Step

Take a step onto the slippery floor with your dog leashed, encouraging him with a high-value treat, such as cheese or a hot dog, to step onto the floor with you. Be prepared to hold him up if needed.

4

Encourage

Do not correct or discipline your dog if he does not step onto the floor. Do not tug on the leash either. But rather encourage him by luring him with a high-value treat to step onto the floor with you.

5

Walk

For every step your dog takes onto the slippery floor, offer him a treat. Be sure you are walking ahead of him as well so he has to walk towards you to get to the high-value treat.

6

Praise

Be sure to offer your dog lots of verbal praise with enthusiasm. A nice soft tone will get your dog more comfortable and excited to be on the floor with you.

7

Off-leash

Once your dog has walked across the floor using the leash with you, take the leash off and start again. Encourage your dog with the use of these high-value treats to walk across the floor, eating treats as he goes. You can either offer him treats from your hand and encourage him by walking in front of him or you can leave the treats on the floor for him to gobble up.

8

Practice

Continue to practice this slow walk across the slippery floor using treats until your dog is comfortable walking on it alone without the use of treats.

The Traction Method

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Non-slip surface

Use a non-slip surface to introduce your dog to a slippery tile or wood floor. You can place small mats that will not slip and slide under your dog's paws on the floor in various places so your dog can use them as stepping stones to walk across the floor. This puts your dog on the slippery floor with the security of keeping his paws stable.

2

Exposure

Keep these non-slip mats on the floor, moving them from place to place each day so your dog has no fear of the floor itself and has a safe place to walk. Move them from time to time encouraging your dog to take a different route as he travels across the floor.

3

Fewer mats

Over the course of the second week, decrease the number of mats on the floor, making the path to travel across the slippery surface a little more challenging for your dog.

4

Rewards

Each time your dog travels across the floor, offer him a reward once he is on the opposite side. Slowly remove the number of mats your dog has to comfortably travel without touching the slippery surface and offer your dog a reward each time his paws touch the hard floor rather than the mats you’ve provided.

5

Eliminate mats

Once your dog has used the mats to get across the floor and you have decreased the number of mats your dog has to travel on, begin to eliminate them all together. At this point, your dog should be comfortable enough being on the floor. However, it is still slippery, so he may need some encouragement to travel across.

6

Treats

Encourage him to travel across the floor to earn a treat.

7

Encourage

Without the mats, your dog may be a little hesitant to walk across the slippery surface on his own. You can stand next to him encouraging him with lots of verbal phrase and love. Be sure to offer him a treat anywhere he is used to seeing a safe surface to stand on.

The Target Training Method

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Hand target

Have your dog target your hand with you standing on the slippery floor and your dog standing in a safe place.

2

Treat

Hold your hand with a treat in it far enough out onto the slippery surface for your dog to have to take at least one step onto the slippery floor in order to earn the treat in your hand.

3

Touch

While you are holding your hand out, encourage your dog to take a step onto the slippery surface and touch your hand with his nose. As soon as he does, give him a treat. For these first few tries, if your dog does not touch your hand with his nose but does put his paw on a slippery floor, still offer him a treat.

4

Step back

Take a step back and repeat the process for hand target training. With the treat in your hand, encourage your dog to come and get it. Have him touch your hand with his nose and offer him the treat. With the second step, your dog should have at least two paws on the slippery floor.

5

Continue

Take one step at a time step backward and encourage your dog to come forward to earn a treat with each step he takes while targeting your hand. If at any point your dog is hesitant to step forward, step toward him and start over.

6

Entire floor

Practice these steps until your dog can walk across the entire floor. You may need to practice several times, offering high-value treats and target training until your dog can do it on his own.

By Stephanie Plummer

Published: 11/21/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Cooper

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Coonhound dog

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1 Year

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Question

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Walking on tile floors and pulling the leash

Oct. 21, 2021

Cooper's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Debbie, I would start by placing the small bathroom/door mat type mats across your tile floor, with 1-2 feet between each one, to give pup multiple safe landing zones to get across the slippery floor. I would then create a line of treats going across the mats and tile floor for pup to follow. Use something smelly since pup is probably highly scent motivated as a Hound. Replace this line of treats (or you can use pup's kibble once pup is going across more easily), with new treats a few times throughout the day every day. When pup is comfortable going from mat to mat across the floor to get the treats, then very gradually add a few inches between the mats, so pup has to go a bit further on the tile to get to the next mat. Continue the treat lines each day going across. As pup improves and gets comfortable going over the tile with the current mat spacing, gradually add more and more space between the mats, a few inches more at a time. This will mean that you will slowly take up the extra mats as you space them apart. Repeat this until pup is finally going across your tile floor without fear. When pup will follow the line of treats across the entire tile floor without mats confidently, then also start spacing out your treats by a few inches, so you can slowly reduce the number of treats, then finally fade those out too. Finally, make sure pup's nails are being kept short enough that pup's paw pads are making good contact with the floor for traction. If pup has a lot of hair under their paws covering up their paw pads, have that trimmed as well, so pup's pads can make contact with the tile better to prevent slipping. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 21, 2021

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Luna

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Japanese Spitz

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8 Years

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Question

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My dog is very afraid of hardwood floors. She is barely able to walk from carpet to carpet or matt to matt, and will at all times prefer these. We are moving to an apartment where a lot of carpets are no longer optimal and it would be great if she could learn to walk unhindered over the wooden slippery floor without panicking and with a minimum of carpets.

Aug. 4, 2021

Luna's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Hannah, I would create a path of small door mats going across the hardwood floor, with no more than two feet between them all the way across the various long sections of hardwood floor, like across the den, kitchen, or hallways. I would then use small treats, like freeze dried liver to create a line of treats across these mats. At first you can space the treats a few inches apart, but as pup improves space the treats further apart so pup isn't eating as many. Regularly replace the eaten treats so that pup is getting used to willingly going across the hardwood floor to get the treats, without having to brave the entire flooring all at once. As pup is doing well with the two feet space between the mats, start spacing the mats further and further apart, eventually taking up the extra mats when they are far enough apart to need less. Do this gradually, spacing them only a few inches further at a time and staying at that distance until pup is doing well with going across that amount of floor, before you increase how much hardwood floor pup has to cover between mats again. Once pup can go across the mats with some distance between them, play games pup likes on the hardwood and generally keep your attitude confident and upbeat about the floor - not acting frustrated with pup or sorry for them, to help pup see that you are not concerned about the situation. Pup will likely take cues from you. I would also check pup's nails and the fur around their feet. Having overly long nails might make pup less able to get good traction on the floor with the pads of their feet. Having very long hair on their feet, where pup is stepping on the hair instead of their paws touching the ground, could also make things more slippery. Be sure pup's nails are being kept up with, and consider trimming the fur around their paws if they are a breed that needs that. A groomer should be able to help with both of those things if you aren't comfortable doing that yourself or don't know how to yet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 5, 2021


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