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Help With Stairs?


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Hey gang,

 

Our boy Sidney had no clue about stairs when we first brought him home (now almost 3 weeks ago).

It took him about a week to figure out how to go up them..... however, he still can't and won't go down them.

 

Trying to lure him with all kinds of treats has not helped. He seems very frightened of them when he gets to the edge and looks down.

 

Any suggestions how to help him overcome his fear? Am I expecting too much too soon?

 

Thx.

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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Down was what was so hard for our Kingsley, too.

 

If you have a harness, put that on, cause then you can stand right next to him to do the suitcase method.

 

We found Kingsley could do the 3 steps outside, so my husband would carry him down our flight of stairs, put him on the last 3 and let him figure them out (without just jumping them all) then putting him up one more step at a time. Can't recall how long it took him once we kinda figured this technique out... but I recall it being around the month-mark for him to be able to go both up and down.

 

I'll confirm that you have carpeted stairs? Ours we hard wood and getting carpet squares for them is also what made it possible for him to go up or down.

 

Good luck!

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 Scouts_mom

Look around your neighborhood. Is there a shorter flight of stairs that he can practice on? Stairs to a porch or in a nearby park? If he can get confident on a shorter flight, he will find it easier to transfer that skill to your stairs. By the way, this is a great way to meet the neighbors. Most are thrilled to lend their stairs to training your dog.

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Guest IrskasMom

Even after 8 Years in my House with 6 Stairs, my Morty is sometimes confused which Foot to put up first. It does not happen often . He " flies " up and down the Decksteps.

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Thx gang!

 

We have hardwood floors.... However, we got carpet treads before the hounds came home.

 

Funny, he can go down the stone steps outback, but they are very wide, having a landing sort of between each step.

 

I like the idea of carrying him down part of them. We have a split level house, so there are two sets of stairs that are only 4 steps. I'd like to get him halfway down these. This could work.

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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Guest Snazzy_Chloe

I started with wide tread ones at the park which were no problem for any dogs.

I found that it helps to have a person go down backwards in front of you (to block the view of all the stairs). Holding onto the top of a harness, with the dog smushed against the wall, and you have to be firm and steady with your helper, the hounds do the walking - you are there to talk quietly, confidently, giving praise as you drag them down the stairs, holding the harness to control a slow rate of descent. Once their rear feet leave the top landing and they are angling down they have to rely on you because they know that there is no turning back (and they can only see 2-3 stairs in front of them so it does not look so bad to them).. Treats and lots of praise at the bottom. Mine would not go willingly but after 2-3 times they realized that going down was much easier than up. Once they go down by themselves, I usually went down ahead of them in case they might get into trouble for the next 2-3 weeks. If they start going too fast they can get scared and then they want to jump the rest of the stairs. I use the command Eeeasy to tell them to go slow (like when we are walking on ice or any slippery surfaces), and it works well here to slow them down when they start getting over-confident. Safety is always #1 and this is a good place for your hound to break a leg or even a neck if he is not careful going down stairs. They are so proud of themselves when they find that they can go up and down all by themselves. There is a bit of "tough love" when pulling them off the top step the first time and it is a good learning experience for them learning that they sometimes have to trust you as the new owner/and master. I usually muzzle the dog as we are both new to each other and this may be an unpleasant experience for him/her. - Good Luck

Edited by Snazzy_Chloe
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Here, stairs are non-negotiable unless the dog is ill or injured. The dogs have to learn them, and they have to do them, from day 1.

 

For teaching going down, I use a plain flat collar or a harness and guide the dog down one step at a time, lots of praise and some treats along the way. There have been dogs with whom I needed to crouch on the stairs and keep an arm in front of their chest to stabilize the first few times. There was also one dog who was so frightened of going down, she wouldn't even get near the top of the stairs. I picked her up and put her on the stairs so that all four feet were ON the stairs (not the landing), and down we went; only had to do that once.

 

Friendly warning: Hold on tight the first couple times. I had one dog who thought the best way to get past all this was to jump down an entire flight of stairs, and greyhounds are strong ......

 

Good luck!

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 kalzanetti

When I had a home visit, the ladies told us how to get them to go down the stairs. They suggested hold their collar and have their head at your hips, and encourage them to go down. Just go slowly and direct them. If you have other dogs, they may get the hang out it quicker as they watch them go up and down. My 2 whippets seem to skip steps when they are running/jumping up them. We have a set carpeted that they h ave no problems with, and the wooden ones they seem to so slowly and a little more hesitant, but still use them.

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My advice is not to baby him. As was said above, doing stairs is not an option. It has to be done. I taught Annie stairs, up and down, in about 15 minutes. Going down was no more difficult than going up for her mentally but it was for me. GHs are big and they are strong, and I had to consider exactly how I was going to help/teach her down without both of us falling head over heels.

 

The way I did it was to be on her right side, second step down and gently, but firmly, pull a bit on her collar and then put her front legs on the top step, which made her move her back legs closer to the edge. I then put her front legs on step #2, and reached up to back legs on step #2. All the while I tried to keep my right arm across her chest, mostly using my left hand to manipulate her legs.

 

I did not have a leash on her because of my concern that if she did get away from me and barreled down the stairs, she'd get tangled in the leash and break a leg.

 

Part of the problem with a Greyhound not doing stairs, and other necessary things, is that we humans try to make it easy so they aren't very scared. Often that just doesn't work. Often we just have to make them do what we want them to do and get on with life. I believe that animals, like children, pick up our emotional state. If we're unsure, tentative and have some fear, they will pick it up and also be unsure and fearful.

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Thx for all the advice.

 

Tonight my husband and I had stairs 101 with Sidney.

 

When he comes to the top of the stairs at the very edge, he starts to shake. So he's super scared of going down them.

My husband picked him up and placed him in mid staircase (the staircase is only 5 steps). He slowly walked down the last 2. Great!

We did it again and same result... Placed on steps, gently walked down the last 2. We gave him lots of praise and treats. He didn't seem phased or upset.

 

Hopefully next time we can start higher up. Productive night!

Edited by 2greyhoundMINI

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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Funny--it took weeks of painful practice to get George to go UP stairs (literally I had to place each paw on each step--and we had three flights to go at my old condo). Then when the pain in my lower back go so severe I thought I was going to die, I decided it was actually most important he learn to go down them (we had elevators, but frequent fire alarms in which you cannot use the elevators).

 

I braced myself for what I just KNEW was going to be nightmare battle of wills. I approached the stairwell from the third floor door, and heaved a great sigh, and just hoped we survived. And that stinker pranced down three flights of stairs like a debutante at her coming out party! All three flights without a pause, misstep, or any sign of fear.

 

And he STILL wouldn't go up!!!!!!!

 

I could have just killed him--but elected to laugh instead.

 

He never did master those stairs going up (they were metal, painted black,and in an enclosed stairwell), but when I moved a few months later, he just followed the moving men right up three flights of stairs at the new condo (carpeted and well lit)!

 

Be patient. He'll figure it out when you least expect it!


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

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

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Funny--it took weeks of painful practice to get George to go UP stairs (literally I had to place each paw on each step--and we had three flights to go at my old condo). Then when the pain in my lower back go so severe I thought I was going to die, I decided it was actually most important he learn to go down them (we had elevators, but frequent fire alarms in which you cannot use the elevators).

 

I braced myself for what I just KNEW was going to be nightmare battle of wills. I approached the stairwell from the third floor door, and heaved a great sigh, and just hoped we survived. And that stinker pranced down three flights of stairs like a debutante at her coming out party! All three flights without a pause, misstep, or any sign of fear.

 

And he STILL wouldn't go up!!!!!!!

 

I could have just killed him--but elected to laugh instead.

 

He never did master those stairs going up (they were metal, painted black,and in an enclosed stairwell), but when I moved a few months later, he just followed the moving men right up three flights of stairs at the new condo (carpeted and well lit)!

 

Be patient. He'll figure it out when you least expect it!

That is funny! He went up the stairs 2 days after we brought him home. We were standing at the top with treats. But going down? Forget it. He has gotten right to the edge and then shakes.

It was nice seeing him do the 2 steps gracefully. Like they were nothing! Let's hope part 2 goes well ;)

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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Great news!

 

Round 2 tonight went awesome!

 

First I put a piece of meat on the first stair. He stared at it for a couple seconds, legs wobbling. Then he stepped down on the first stair and took it. He then pulled back up, but this was the first time he's ever gone down a stair himself!

I did this with him 4-5 times.

 

Next I put a piece on stairs one and two. He went down one stair, eats, then second stair, eats. He did pull back up to the top.

 

Now I skipped stair 1 and put a piece on stairs 2 and 3. He went right down to stair 2, ate, then stair 3! I quickly put a piece of meat on the next stair. He went down to that one and finished the stairs on his own!

 

Woohoo! First time he's gone down the stairs on his own without us touching him!

 

Afterwards he was like, no biggie! Now give me more treats :)

Edited by 2greyhoundMINI

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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Good job!

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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I had to give him a little help this morning, but used his breakfast as bait.

He did resist at first

soooooo

I picked him up and put his front paws 2 steps down, then he just walked down like no big deal.

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Guest LazyBlaze

:yay Nice one! Well done you. It's so great when they start to overcome their fears.

 

For some reason in the past couple of weeks Blaze has regressed and is not for jumping into the car again. I thought we were past all that. Duck strips, venison tongue, none of those are cutting it anymore. Oh well, back to the drawing board...

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Guest LazyBlaze

Can you put Blaze's front paws in and then see if he will hop up?

I can put his front paws in but then I need to lift his back end up and into the car also. He doesn't hop up by himself when he has his front paws up (and it seems to make him even more reluctant when I have to do this, so it's a last resort). It's frustrating as he had been getting into the swing of jumping in by himself, as long as I had a decent treat (something I save just for the car, like the duck strip or venison tongue). Guess I just need to find something special enough to get him over this hump and get positive - and be patient - again. I kinda thought we were past this though, so it's a bummer that he's regressed. I don't want it to become an issue again. He *can* do it no problem, it's just clear that he doesn't really want to at the moment for whatever reason. It's like he's thinking about it too much again, whereas he had been starting to get into the swing of just jumping in after the good treat.

 

He had major stair trepidation initially too, and now goes up and down them happy as Larry. If I could only find the magic ingredient to help him overcome his car concerns in the same way. Maybe it's simply because I've been using the car a bit less frequently in the past few weeks and have broken the good habits that were forming. Anyway, it's not a major cause for concern yet - we have a couple of car trips to make over the weekend that will culminate in *good things for dogs* :thumbs-up so hopefully this will help.

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Well I am happy to report Sidney is going up and down the stairs like an old pro now. For about a week after he went down them for the first time, we had to lure him down with treats. Sometimes he'd just freeze up and need to be placed on the first step.

 

Now he goes down them like he has his whole life, without batting an eye! No lure, no treats, just goes.

 

Woohoo!

Greyhounds: Amelia (Cataloosahatchee 9.10.17) & Carmen (Rebellious Bird 8.23.17)
Kitties: Sophie the Fearless and Nalla the Purr Box
Rainbow Bridge babies never to be forgotten: Raider Kitty (4.1.01 - 8.12.21), Sidney (Kane's Seminole 11.14.08 - 9.26.19 ), June (Potrs June 6.1.09 - 3.1.19) 
Bella the Rottweiler, Spike, DC, Gilda & Killer kitties.

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Guest LazyBlaze

:mexi2 Go Sidney! That's great news. From time to time he might have a brain fart and get stuck halfway up or down (Blaze still does this very occasionally even after a year), and it'll remind you how far you've come together since those early days pleading with treats. Huzzah for progress!

Edited by LazyBlaze
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