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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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