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Watching your dog slip and slide across your smooth floor might be cute the first time. But this kind of skating across smooth floors could cause your dog injury. You could also scare your dog so badly that he ends up not visiting a certain room in your home. And this could become traumatic for some dogs their fears and anxieties of smooth and slippery floors overpowers their want, need, and desire to be with their owners and their families. It's better to train your dog how to walk on a smooth floor rather than have him be left out of the family and unable to visit a room you may frequent. Training your dog to walk on smooth floors can help ease his anxiety in places outside of your home as well. Many veterinary offices will have tile floors that might be smooth. For some dogs going to the vet is a joy, while others are nervous to begin with. Adding smooth floors to their trip may also add anxiety.
Train your dog to walk on smooth floors is going to take a little bit of time and patience from both you and your dog. Your dog may be a little apprehensive if he is a nervous dog to begin with or if he has been injured on smooth floors before. Dogs will do just about anything for a good treat, though. Consider using high-value treats that your dog is going to work for, such as cheese or hot dogs, to get him to want to learn to walk across the smooth floor. Giving your dog a safe haven and little breaks along the way will also be an important step for him to be successful on smooth floors. Be sure you are empathetic and understanding of your dog’s fears and concerns. Stay close by as he learns to walk on your smooth floors in case he falls.
Prepare yourself, your smooth floors, and your dog for this training in advance. Using high-value treats such as cheese or hot dogs will entice your dog more than a typical dog treat. If you choose a method that requires non-slip mats, set these out on the floor in various places for your dog to have safe passage before you try to convince him to walk across. These non-slip mats can be bathroom mats you have taken from all of the bathrooms in your home. Or you could use a non-slip mat typically used for keeping area rugs in place. These are inexpensive and can be cut into small sections to spread across this floor as your dog is learning. Be patient with your dog and always stay nearby so you can help him should he fall. You want to avoid scaring your dog or allowing him to become injured.
The Little Leash Help Method
Coax your dog with a few high-value treats. Set one on the smooth floor one step in and then place a few more ahead to encourage your dog to step further out onto the floor.
Attach a leash to your dog. This will help you keep your dog on the floor and help him control his movements.
Walk out onto the smooth floor, showing your dog the first treat. Encourage him to take the treat and take a step toward the next treat. Keep the leash tight but do not pull on the dog.
Try not to pull, correct, or discipline your dog if he does not walk out onto the floor. If he is still hesitant to walk on the smooth surface, give him a treat from your hand and offer a second. Slowly move forward a step toward the treat on the floor.
Every time your dog takes a step forward, give him a treat.
Practice with your dog and be patient as he learns to do this on his own. It may take several tries together before he is ready to try alone without you and the leash. He may not want to venture across the entire floor the first few times. Let him work up to crossing the space.
When your pup can cross with you while using his leash, try to take the leash off and encourage him with treats to do it alone.
Repeat these steps until your dog can walk across the smooth floor earning treats along the way.
The Floor is Lava Method
Use non-slip surfaces across the smooth floor when introducing a smooth floor to your dog. This will help him walk across only needing to step on the smooth surface every few steps and not all the way across.
Walk with your dog along the way, encouraging him to walk along the non-slip surfaces for several steps. You can offer him treats along the way to encourage him to move forward.
Walk next to your dog so you can help move his body or lift him up should he slip and slide across the smooth floor. This is especially easy if you have a small to medium sized dog.
Give your dog several days of walking over the non-slip surfaces before you begin to take them away. One at a time, take the non-slip surfaces away, forcing your dog to walk on them less. Remove these over the course of a week until there are no more left and your dog is able to walk across the floor with confidence.
Be sure to treat your dog along the way as he gets used to slowing down on this floor and builds his skills and confidence enough to walk across.
The Small Rewards Method
Celebrate each step across the smooth floor with your dog. Encourage him to take a step onto the floor and give him a treat. If he’s fallen or has been hurt on this floor, he may be apprehensive about walking across at all. If he won't take his first step, encourage him with a treat and get really close to him. If he's small enough for you to pick up, help him take that first step.
If he makes that first step, give him a treat and some calm verbal praise. You don't want to be too excited or too loud because it may scare him. But offer him some verbal praise and encouragement. He will feed off of your positive energy as he moves across the floor.
Repeat offering your dog a treat to take his next step forward. Again, if he is apprehensive, you can gently encourage him by moving him along yourself if he is small enough, or increase the value of the treat you are offering to get his attention and make him want to step forward.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
Keep repeating one step at a time and rewarding your dog for every step he takes on the smooth floor. Just remember if this smooth floor is scary or slippery, he may be dealing with some anxiety. Reward him and take little breaks before making him walk across the entire floor.
Your dog may not want to go across the whole floor on your first training session. If he is shaking or visibly upset or scared, stop your training practice and move him off of the floor. As long as he is handling it well, continue to reward him for every step he takes forward.
Along the way
You can give your dog little breaks by putting a dog bed in the center of the room or bathroom rugs along the way so he has a safe place to go and rest during your training sessions. If this is a room where you can keep a bed or a small rug for him to lay on it will be easier for him to take a break in that room and have a place he can grip when he needs to get up from a down position.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 12/07/2017, edited: 01/08/2021
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