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Trouble With Stairs


tuff
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Hi

I just got my 2 new kids yesterday (first greyhounds) and things are going as well as could be expected. They are getting along well with my other 2 dogs also :colgate

The 5 year old female won't go up the 4 stairs to my deck or up the 4 stairs in my garage. The deck stairs are open behind but the garage stairs are carpeted and closed at the back. Potty is in the backyard so we have to go through the garage and up the 2 small stairs at the front of the house to go back in. She goes down the 4 deck stairs OK. The 2 year old male figured out the stairs within 20 seconds although he is not graceful :P

We all go out then 3 come back in and Jude paces at the bottom of the stairs. I've let her pace out there for 15 minutes thinking she would miss everybody and give it a try, but nope. I've tried gentle pressure with a leash and no go.

What is the best way to approach this?

Thanks!

I am sooo in love with them already!

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don't know if this is the way that others would approve of but it worked like a charm for us. I just stood behind Micah and pushed very gently. It forced him to be closer to the step and then he stepped up when I pushed his rump. He learned it in one day doing it that way. Going downstairs we were a little more careful because we wanted to keep him safe. One of us stood behind Micah and one of us held his leash .....a gental nudge to his but and a gentle pull on the leash or his collar. It worked for us.

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Just for perspective - when we brought Brucie home, it was 2 weeks before he could go up and down on his own, comfortably (full flight of carpeted stairs to 2nd floor). It took Bumper about 5 - long enough that we even had our adoption group rep come back 2x to help us and even she agreed he was a little stubborn. ( A 'little' you say?? lol).

 

Anyway, here is how we were taught --> note, obviously, our 2 weren't the fastest to catch on, though!!!

 

- use your other 'able' dogs as examples; then

- small treat on each step and encourage the dog to try alone.

- tons of positive encouragement

- space the treats out when appropriate

- if all else fails, get behind the dog to support them and reach in front an place one foot on a step (or 2 higher) then the other. Shuffle (move with your body as they are leaning backwards on you) the back end up so their back feet are on a step or two higher. This won't be comfortable so they'll want to extend their torso and move their front feet up a step or two to get back to being a long greyhound. Repeat and reward (treat) at each step until you make it to the top, then tons more encouragement.

 

Good luck...be consistent and positive and your pup will come around.

 

Have I missed your introductory thread with the pics?? If I haven't, you know GT rules --> we......must......see......your.......dogs!!!! tongue.gif

Doe's Bruciebaby Doe's Bumper

Derek

Follow my Ironman journeys and life with dogs, cats and busy kids: A long road

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Guest BlingDogs

Dory had extreme problems with the stairs as well. She is quite claustrophobic so I find opening the door and leading her right through is the only thing to get her going. High-value, easy to see treats such as cheese work very well. I also try not to pressure her- Tugging on the leash made her retract. She is very attatched so if I went in and hid behind the door she would run up the stairs searching for me!

Best of luck. It all take time.

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My last foster would not do stairs. He bonded well with the stand poodle so I bungee corded the 2 collars together and put hot dog pieces on 1 step ,cheese on the next and bacon on the next.I was not about to lift him up 4 steps for potty breaks. Up they went with me holding their butts.It took several times but finally worked.Now he goes up the 14 carpeted steps to the bedrooms turns around and barks for a treat. Like they say careful for what you wish

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Thanks,

I forgot to mention she is very shy and doesn't really let my DH approach her without scooting away. For this reason, I didn't think it would be a good idea to have him help me use the push from behind method. I think she might even run off if I tried to gently help her.

I will try the treat ideas. She does like a good treat :colgate

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Some definately take longer than others.....But Bruciedad is correct - use your other hounds to help.

 

If DH can't approach the shy one, then you can do it alone - I have done it with a few of my own without help. Usually I take the front two legs and stretch them up onto a stair about two or three stairs up so that they naturally want to bring their back end forward. Then pick up each back foot and put it on the first stair. Then stretch the front up another one stair....then the back, etc. Ideally, it is good to have someone behind if you can to stop them from going backwards.....

 

I also agree with caution going down - I find this much harder - because once they start to go down, sometimes they panic and barrel their way. I always hold the collar going down. It's not the physical effort that going up is with the picking up of feet, it's just understanding that it's tough to get them to start down - and when they do, you need to be holding them and regulating the speed.

 

Good luck and welcome!

Edited by mychip1

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Robin, EZ (Tribal Track), JJ (What a Story), Dustin (E's Full House) and our beautiful Jack (Mana Black Jack) and Lily (Chip's Little Miss Lily) both at the Bridge
The WFUBCC honors our beautiful friends at the bridge. Godspeed sweet angels.

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what worked for me was something called the 'suitcase' method. I put the dog in a harness and then I held the dog against my knee and pulled slightly up. We then took the steps one at a time with the dog leaning against me. Of course this was with a dog that wouldn't go DOWN the steps. Going UP was never an issue.

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Guest burgerandfrey

I guess every dog is different as yours have shown: One figures it out right away and the other needs a lot more encouragement.

 

I met my wife while we lived in the same apartment building. She adopted a greyhound and had to teach her how to go up and down stairs. She lived on the third floor and I lived on the fourth. No elevator. She spent a lot of time in that stairwell for the first few weeks she had her grey. This worked out well for me, because I kept running into her! I was amazed at how patiently she worked with Aries (her dog's name). She would place each paw for her while calmly encouraging and comforting her. Well lucky me... I married her and her first greyhound became my our first greyhound! We had Aries for ten wonderful years.

 

Eighteen months ago we adopted two new greyhounds. We don't live in the apartment building anymore, but our house does have one short but steep set of stairs. Our boy Zeke had been fostered and came to us already knowing how to use stairs. Lola quickly learned by watching Zeke, but she was very spastic at first. We had to put a rug at the bottom of the stairs to keep her from sliding across the hardwood floor and into the wall. For awhile one of us would even position ourselves to catch her if she couldn't stop since she liked to bound up and down quickly. These days she has a more controlled approach :colgate

 

So it might take some patience, but with the right approach for her, and the right incentive, I'm sure she will get it.

Edited by burgerandfrey
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Tried the treats several times today. I can get her to put her feet up onto 2 steps but there is no tempting the back legs. So as she stands there like a statue I move each foot in turn up a stair until the top ones are on the deck then she will jump the rest of the way up with encouragement. As soon as I start moving the feet though, she won't take treats. It is quite funny (in a pathetic way) to see her with her feet on the deck but unwilling to make that one last step up on her own with the back feet. Hopefully it will get easier for her. It is funny how different the two dogs are.

 

Great story Burger, I can't imagine having to deal with flights of stairs. I would definitely be carrying her.

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Tried the treats several times today. I can get her to put her feet up onto 2 steps but there is no tempting the back legs. So as she stands there like a statue I move each foot in turn up a stair until the top ones are on the deck then she will jump the rest of the way up with encouragement. As soon as I start moving the feet though, she won't take treats. It is quite funny (in a pathetic way) to see her with her feet on the deck but unwilling to make that one last step up on her own with the back feet. Hopefully it will get easier for her. It is funny how different the two dogs are.

 

Great story Burger, I can't imagine having to deal with flights of stairs. I would definitely be carrying her.

 

That's a good start......believe it or not. JJ was like that for about a week....I would have to manually move the back feet. The only concern is that on non-carpeted steps, when they start rolling up - either running or jumping, they can slide and bang themselves a bit, which will set them back.....Eventually they get confident enough to do it step by step.

 

By the way, what an awesome story about meeting a spouse!!!!! Talk about a hound who was "meant to be".....

gallery_22387_3315_35426.jpg

Robin, EZ (Tribal Track), JJ (What a Story), Dustin (E's Full House) and our beautiful Jack (Mana Black Jack) and Lily (Chip's Little Miss Lily) both at the Bridge
The WFUBCC honors our beautiful friends at the bridge. Godspeed sweet angels.

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All the "adopting a greyhound" books cover this.

 

Two DAYS??? LOL!!! I worked on stairs with my dog for months! It was brutal!!! Moving his paws, one by one, up three flights of stairs (I lived in a condo, and for emergency use, we had stairwells with metal stairs (closed back, thank goodness) that were painted black). Over, and over, and over, and over. Finally after about a month, he tried to go up himself. Fell, his skin split open in the three places, and we were back to square one.

 

I put liverwurst on the stairs. Nothing. I had a friend help me. Nothing.

 

I finally screwed up my courage one day to try going DOWN (I assumed up would be easier for him), and darn if he didn't prance down like a debutant descending the stairs at a cotillion--all three flights without even a pause. I couldn't believe it.

 

He still wouldn't go up!

 

We moved to this new condo, also on the third floor, but NO elevators!

 

We got here, and the movers started up the stairs first, and the darn dog just went them!!!

 

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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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This is how I did it: I placed Bella's feet on the step she needed to be on. Just picked up her front left, put it on step #3, the front right, then back left, back front...all the way up, and at the top, she gets a treat. There was a lot of pausing while she was shaking being unsteady, but it worked.

Greyhound Collars : www.collartown.ca

 

Maggie (the human servant), with Miss Bella, racing name "A Star Blackieto"

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Guest cyndiandsaoirse

Tuff,

You're going about it the right way. My Saoirse took about a month to learn stairs, and every time we get to a new place where there are stairs, we have to start all over again. We have had her for 9 years, and stairs are our biggest problem. Some tips that work for us:

- "walking" her feet up like you mentioned

- treats

- with open stairs, can you somehow put something (plywood, cardboard) behind them so she can't see through them

- real short leash and me walking next to her so her shoulder is touching my leg

- giving her a pat/push to get her started (we have stairs to our TV room, and stairs to our bedroom, and we still have to do this frequently bc Saoirse gets "stuck" at the bottom)

 

Be patient- it might take quite a while- every grey is different. But, one day she'll just do it and she'll probably be as surprised as you will be. Be sure to give lots of praise and treats, and you'll see that you're over the hurdle.

 

Sending you lots of good thoughts!

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We had some definite improvement today. The deck stairs are still move one foot at a time, but instead of being a rigid statue she is looking around while not moving :colgate

However, I tried again in the garage (one less step and covered with outdoor carpet) and she ran up them :yay:yay:yay:yay

Took her in through the garage after pottying and she ran up them again :yay:yay:yay

I'm going to run some outdoor carpet over the deck stairs and see if that will do the trick

Thanks for all the comments. Its fun to read about everyones trials and tribulations. :lol:

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Guest avadogner

Congrats on your new babies first of all. I just adopted our second hound and had to work with him on stairs in our house and our hardwood floors. He is a giant 90lb boy so our biggest problem was his gait being to wide to catch the stairs with his backfeet. I had to literally lift each foot and place it on the runner covered stairs to help him. It took about 4 days for him to even try it on his own. He is a whiney Beta boy so he would try and cry for me to come move his feet for him. About 2 days later, he just figured it out. He skips steps with small hops to accomodate his wide gait. High value treats help to motivate and using a harness to help hold the hounds weight helps too. Be patient and give him a little more time. Augie has been with us for 7 wks now and is still nervous walking on the unrugged portions of our hardwood floors. Putting runners or the recycled tire decorative mats on the stairs helps the hounds get a good grip which I think is the biggest part of mastering the stairs. Augie got going down easier than going up. Home depot has somewhat attractive decorative runner rugs for inside and the fancy looking decorative recycled rubber stair mats for outside. We bought the stair mats for our outside steps and they look pretty and helped him get his grip easier. They were about $8 per step each. They sell for much more in Ballard's Designs and fancy home magazines.

-ava and augie's mum

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Guest Snazzy_Chloe

Open backs are scary as are stairs that are slippery. If you don't have success in a week or so I would try some all weather carpet on the stairs that would block the view of the open back plus provide traction. Try to let them go up next to a fixed wall that they can touch with their side which seems to make them feel more secure

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Guest jaws4evr

We have a finished basement, and those stairs are quite long. We just left her be and let her ignore the stairs for as long as she chose to (3 days?) and then when she started showing us that she'd like to try to go downstairs (with her body language), I helped her. She'd seen us and the other dog go up and down numerous times, so she'd decided she wanted to as well.

 

I firmly held her collar, and walked her paws down step by step. It was a bit awkward finding the leg which she wasn't putting pressure on which to move (guessing wrong sometimes), and puuuuuuuushing her gently so her body weight went forward onto the new paw. Once we got down, 5-10 minutes, I played with her for a bit down there and made a fuss, and we did the exact same thing going up walking her like a puppet.

 

Two minutes later I went to the basement to get something from storage, and wouldn't you know it she click clacked her way down the stairs all by herself! And that was that.

 

It was easy, but we did also wait for her to tell us she was ready before starting the teaching. We have found that putting area rugs at the top of the stairs is crucial to her confidence. We went to Walmart and got some cheapo rubber backed doormats, since when she is getting up the nerve to go down, she tries to grip with her toes which is very bad on laminate flooring. The rugs gave her the confidence of the take off/landing areas in order to try going on her own :)

 

In my experience pulling a dog to you with the leash towards something scary almost always results in balking.

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Guest KennelMom

four stairs shouldn't be a problem. She should be able to jump them if she really wanted to. Ours usually learn from the others, but if not I just do the paw method. One paw up, the other paw up. Back paw up, other back paw up. With only four stairs they usually take over on their own at that point.

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We are still working at it. I got lazy and we put a large, carpeted plank up one side of the deck stairs and she figured that out ASAP. Every couple of days I have moved the top of the plank down one step. Right now it is on the bottom step. She is mostly jumping from the plank to the top of the deck. She is getting bolder around the house. Today she got up on a couch for the first time, but just looked around and then got down :colgate

 

My new boy, who had no problem with the deck stairs, has been watching us from upstairs when we would go into the basement. Yesterday I sat on the floor at the bottom of the stairs and loved on my two non-grey, stair savy dogs. This was too much for him to take and he came all the way downstairs on his own :colgate:colgate Now I have to keep the baby gate shut to keep him upstairs. :lol He also roached for 2 seconds on a dog bed today. These dogs are so much fun!

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Hi tuff, I just wanted to say congrats :D. Sounds to me like you and your new hounds are making terrific progress in your first couple of weeks together!

 

We also struggled with the stairs when our Merlin first came home. We have 4 steps from our back deck and 3 from the front porch, so there was no way to potty without learning to navigate these few steps. We used most of the tips mentioned here - stinky treats (especially to entice him up), "suitcase" method to get him down, all the while moving his feet one at a time. He learned up more easily than down, but it still seemed to take forever! We didn't even *try* the 15 indoor stairs to our second floor for several months - I was worried he'd get freaked out by the big staircase and then balk at the deck stairs again :unsure. Eventually he (and we!) learned how to do it, and now 9 months later he scampers up and down our stairs all day long.

 

It's clear from your posts that you're already having a blast with your new pups. In my (very limited) experience, it only gets better - enjoy!

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Merlin (Heathers Wizard), Mina (Where's Rebecca), and Mae the Galga - three crazy dogs in the house of M

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Guest Samantha

Woo congrats on the new puppers!. Sounds like your having fun :D. Maddisons been hme 7 months now and still hasnt mastered the stairs!. She will do outdoor stairs but not indoor ones...work that one out :P . Looking forward to reading more about the stair saga and picking some tips up :lol

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