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Blergh...need Some Help With Stairs, Please.


Guest greytmiles
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Guest greytmiles

Hello all,

We've had Miles a week, and are having some trouble getting him comfortable with using stairs... and the icing on our cake of a problem is that there is absolutely no way to get into our house without using at least 6 steps (onto the deck or up the front porch).

Going UP is no problem. Miles mastered that very quickly. It's the going DOWN that's the issue.

A couple of times he totally had it covered. I'd tap a treat on each step and he'd just follow the treat right on down. whoo!

However, now it seems maybe he's figured out there's easier ways to get treats(?), and will just stand at the top of the steps while I encourage, and encourage, and place a foot on a step, and so it goes for about 10min. Finally I usually end up "suitcase-ing" him with his harness, and it's not until about halfway down that he'll take over and finish the job. I've thought maybe the gravel driveway at the bottom of the deck steps is hurting his feet or freaking him out... maybe I should try the front steps again...

 

Anyway, I'd love to hear any of your tried and true methods for making greys comfortable with stairs. We haven't even begun to tackle the 13step wooden staircase that leads to our second floor! :rolleyes:

Thanks!!

Erin

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Guest mcsheltie

After the threads about Cesar Milan I bet many are afraid to answer you :lol But I'll bite!

 

I take them by the collar and just take them up or down. I don't use a leash. I don't give them any other option. If they don't want to move I use the collar to rock their weigh off each foot so they will move it. Going down I keep my body by their shoulder so I can block any suicide leaps to the bottom. And we keep moving. In a day or two they are doing it by themselves.

 

Remember dogs can only think of one thing at a time. Any time you have a balky dog, out think them! If you have another dog, let s/he go up and down ahead of you. Cutie was my latest foster and was REALLY afraid of the steps. I had Roo running up and down on the far side of us. Sometimes I'd reach over and treat Roo as she went by. Cutie totally forgot about being afraid.

 

The suit-casing is working, even if you don't think so. He IS doing half the steps. Pretty soon he'll do 3/4 and then the whole sha-bang.

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Give your command -- "Easy on the stairs" is ours for going down -- and if he doesn't start right down, suitcase him one step at a time until he takes over. Do it a couple times in a row if you can, couple times a day. He'll get tired of the suitcase thing and start doing it on his own, likely within another week.

 

 

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest gecko_foot

Hello all,

We've had Miles a week, and are having some trouble getting him comfortable with using stairs... and the icing on our cake of a problem is that there is absolutely no way to get into our house without using at least 6 steps (onto the deck or up the front porch).

Going UP is no problem. Miles mastered that very quickly. It's the going DOWN that's the issue.

A couple of times he totally had it covered. I'd tap a treat on each step and he'd just follow the treat right on down. whoo!

However, now it seems maybe he's figured out there's easier ways to get treats(?), and will just stand at the top of the steps while I encourage, and encourage, and place a foot on a step, and so it goes for about 10min. Finally I usually end up "suitcase-ing" him with his harness, and it's not until about halfway down that he'll take over and finish the job. I've thought maybe the gravel driveway at the bottom of the deck steps is hurting his feet or freaking him out... maybe I should try the front steps again...

 

Anyway, I'd love to hear any of your tried and true methods for making greys comfortable with stairs. We haven't even begun to tackle the 13step wooden staircase that leads to our second floor! :rolleyes:

Thanks!!

Erin

 

I'm still a newbie myself and just recently convinced my grey that going UP stairs wasn't a bad thing. He's never had a problem going down. What I did to teach Tumnus to conquer stairs was to simply pull him gently until he moved one foot to the next stair. I wasn't picky about which foot as long as he moved. Then he got a lot of praise for it. If your dog is food motivated, you could try giving a treat while praising him. If he sniffs the ground, that's a sign of relaxation. Praise him for that, and then encourage him to move on. It'll take a while, but he'll eventually get it. It's definitely worth the effort when he does. :)

 

I think it's important that the dog moves on his own so that he knows he can - and so he knows that you aren't going to let him get away with stalling.

 

Good luck with your greyhound!

Edited by gecko_foot
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Guest greytmiles

Oh! I wasn't aware of the stairs discussion in the Cesar Millan thread - I'll have to check that out, thanks.

I think the tough thing for me is feeling like I never know for sure when to take more of a 'i'm in charge let's do this' role, and when to be super-patient and let him do things at his own pace.

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

I do the same thing as Sheltie. I foster hounds and have steps, they have no choice but to do stairs from day one in our house (most all of my fosters are post broken leg hounds as well). Do not baby your hound. I know your hound is new, and you read everywhere here that they are sensitive and all, but believe me, you are being had. Grab him by the collar and walk down the stairs. Keep his head tucked up against your hip and brace his weight as you go down. Do this and he will soon enough do the stairs on his own. He will probably lock up his front legs at the top of the stairs, do not allow him to stop. Be firm, but dont jerk him down the stairs, simply keep a firm hold on the collar and pull him over the threashold. Once they get over the first stair, be ready for the "suicide leap" as said above. That is why you hold the head against your hip, it also helps to give the hound confidence that they wont fall. It may sound crewl, but in my house, there is no option they have to do the stairs from the get-go.

 

Chad

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Guest caelanarcher

I don't think there's a problem with the suitcasing method; it's how we taught Aaron stairs (he wore his harness around the house for about two weeks). He might balk for treats, so I'd maybe suggest suitcasing him down the stairs, then treating at the end. "Hmm, I don't get any treats as long as I stay here, but if I go down, then I get something yummy!"

 

Also, if you think the gravel might be hard on his paws, maybe throw a door mat down at the bottom of the stairs so that he can land on that?

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I think you're doing great using the suitcase method to develop his confidence with stairs... he just needs some more time. Our shy boy Kingsley took almost a month to really do our stairs (now, in his defense, we do have scary stairs)

Amy and Tim in Beverly, MA, with Chase and Always missing Kingsley (Drama King) and Ruby (KB's Bee Bopper).

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Guest greytmiles

I don't think there's a problem with the suitcasing method; it's how we taught Aaron stairs (he wore his harness around the house for about two weeks). He might balk for treats, so I'd maybe suggest suitcasing him down the stairs, then treating at the end. "Hmm, I don't get any treats as long as I stay here, but if I go down, then I get something yummy!"

 

Also, if you think the gravel might be hard on his paws, maybe throw a door mat down at the bottom of the stairs so that he can land on that?

 

 

Doormat - brilliant! Hadn't even crossed my mind. I'll pick one up on the way home, thanks! :colgate And of course 'thanks, all!' for the encouragement and great suggestions!

Edited by greytmiles
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Guest LindsaySF
The suit-casing is working, even if you don't think so. He IS doing half the steps. Pretty soon he'll do 3/4 and then the whole sha-bang.

Agreed. :nod Just give it some more time.

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Guest SillyIzzysMom

I swear, sometimes the secret to this kind of thing is to act like it's no big deal. A "here we go!" happy voice, grab the harness and help him down if he needs it, no biggie. . .no entreating him to come. . .

 

My spookiest dog, Millie will always balk at anything it seems like I want her to do too much. It took a couple weeks to teach her steps. I just dragged her down with happy voice and a can-do attitude and then one day, goofy as she is she followed me down without me touching her. So funny. With her, I can almost see the gears turning in her mind, "She really wants me to do this--so it's going to be something I don't want to do!" But an attitude of calm authority and "you silly dog, this is no big deal!" generally makes it all go better.

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Guest greytmiles

I'm happy to report improvement the last several downstairs trips. We don't fuss at him, we don't give treats, we don't stand there waiting for him to decide it's time to try the stairs... :lol

Instead we stay calm and happy and positive and use his harness to get him started down those steps. He's taking over for us on step #2 as of this morning, so here's hoping he'll be flying solo by the end of the week. Thanks guys!

Edited by greytmiles
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