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The past few days, Sweep has been reluctant to come downstairs from our master bedroom in the morning. She tries and backs up several times, eventually frustrating herself to the point of whining and even panting. She has come down in the mornings and back upstairs at night for years now, so I'm not sure what's happened. This staircase is steep but there's a stair runner and plenty of light. She still does the outdoor steps and jumps into the car without issue. My only thought is maybe depth perception (she turned 10 in October) and I thought about putting a strip of painters tape at the edge of each tread. Any other theories or suggestions? Thanks! 

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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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She could have slipped or something that you didn't see, or maybe something hurts, or a vision issue, or nothing. Things change when they get older. Lila was the easiest dog to do nails, she would flop over on her side and fall asleep when I dremmeled. Then one day she had a full on panic attack about the dremmel. Nothing had happened, I can manipulate her paws otherwise with no issue. So she could have just decided that she doesn't like those stairs anymore. I hope you're able to find something that works so she can continue to get to her bedroom.

Lila with tulips
Jerilyn, devoted Mistress to Lila (Good Looking)
 
 

 

 

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Do you have a vet chiropractor in your area? They can check her spine, hips, etc to be sure they are in alignment and not sore (Val just had such an assessment). Checking her vision is another good idea.

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4 minutes ago, Jerilyn said:

She could have slipped or something that you didn't see, or maybe something hurts, or a vision issue, or nothing. Things change when they get older. Lila was the easiest dog to do nails, she would flop over on her side and fall asleep when I dremmeled. Then one day she had a full on panic attack about the dremmel. Nothing had happened, I can manipulate her paws otherwise with no issue. So she could have just decided that she doesn't like those stairs anymore. I hope you're able to find something that works so she can continue to get to her bedroom.

Thanks, me too. It breaks my heart to see her struggle.

4 minutes ago, Remolacha said:

Do you have a vet chiropractor in your area? They can check her spine, hips, etc to be sure they are in alignment and not sore (Val just had such an assessment). Checking her vision is another good idea.

Yes, we do; we saw him a few times years ago when trying to get to the bottom of her limping. Good idea, thanks!

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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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11 hours ago, Remolacha said:

Do you have a vet chiropractor in your area? They can check her spine, hips, etc to be sure they are in alignment and not sore (Val just had such an assessment). Checking her vision is another good idea.

Ditto

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Another vote for checking her sight.

Perhaps the lighting needs to come from a different source to increase the contrast. Have you tried getting down to her level and looking down the stairs to see if the edges stand out?

Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 

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I had another thought while walking the dog this morning :) If it is just (or mainly) going down stairs, but not up, be sure and check her neck and shoulders as well.

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Thanks, all. We've just come back from the vet and he doesn't think it's pain-related. He stretched her neck in all directions and checked her spine thoroughly and she wasn't reactive at all. Her hind end strength is good. He said there are no obvious issues with her eyes, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be vision-related. We tried laying a trail of treats for her and turning off the lights, but she headed for the exit door every time. She's no dummy. :lol  So we'll do some experimenting at home, but the working theory is either vision or psychological (maybe she slipped/tripped and is now freaked out--she's never been graceful on those stairs). Now I have to decide whether to push forward and make her do it or sleep downstairs with her for a few nights and see if that "resets" things. 

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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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I'm glad Sweep got a clean bill of health.  Who knows what goes on in those pointy little heads..... ^_^

Lila with tulips
Jerilyn, devoted Mistress to Lila (Good Looking)
 
 

 

 

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Hello --  I just saw your post.  We have both a greyhound and a borzoi -- it's our borzoi that's going though a similar issue as Sweep.  He won't go up.  The only way into our house is by the lower level and we have beige carpeted steps to the upper level.  They are 5 steps, an 180 degree turn and then 8 steps.  He will "bound" up the 5 steps, but rarely go up the 8 steps. Going down is not a problem.  He goes both up and down outdoor steps fine, one by one, foot by foot (like his greyhound sister).  He's 11 and has some back issues, but walks well, chases squirrels and is in good health.  He gets chiro once a month.  He jumps into the car without a problem.  We've considered fear problems and also his eyes and the fact that the steps may all blend together, and will try taping them to make them more separate.  Also working on back leg strength with step ups.  Please continue to post how it goes with Sweep -- we're sleeping downstairs.....Thanks!

Edited by cgingrich
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58 minutes ago, cgingrich said:

Hello --  I just saw your post.  We have both a greyhound and a borzoi -- it's our borzoi that's going though a similar issue as Sweep.  He won't go up.  The only way into our house is by the lower level and we have beige carpeted steps to the upper level.  They are 5 steps, an 180 degree turn and then 8 steps.  He will "bound" up the 5 steps, but rarely go up the 8 steps. Going down is not a problem.  He goes both up and down outdoor steps fine, one by one, foot by foot (like his greyhound sister).  He's 11 and has some back issues, but walks well, chases squirrels and is in good health.  He gets chiro once a month.  He jumps into the car without a problem.  We've considered fear problems and also his eyes and the fact that the steps may all blend together, and will try taping them to make them more separate.  Also working on back leg strength with step ups.  Please continue to post how it goes with Sweep -- we're sleeping downstairs.....Thanks!

Will do! These are the lights I ordered if you think that might help in your situation. (There's a plug-in version too, but we don't have any outlets in our stairwell.) I think I've determined it's not Sweep's vision though--we did some tests at home by throwing treats in a dim room and she went right to them, without having to sniff them out. She must have psyched herself out about something. These guys are so sensitive; it could be anything! She came down a *little* better this morning, so I'm hopeful we're making some progress. She also had to do the steps to the basement today because it's stormy and she's a thunderphobe, so that's always been her safe spot. The more she does it without anything bad happening, hopefully the more confident she'll feel. Anyway, good luck with your boy too--please keep us posted!

Edited by ramonaghan
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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, last night she wouldn't come upstairs at all. Maybe she knows what goes up must come down. She slept by herself downstairs. :( She's also been wanting to go back out after her "last" out. She pees, comes in to get her bedtime cookie, we do the stair dance for about 10 minutes, and then she decides she wants back out to poop. Once she comes in from that, she sleeps through the night. I am worried this might be the first signs of dementia. She's not getting stuck in corners or staring off into space or anything like that, and she plays and responds to her name and commands, but this is just weird behavior. Ugh. My girl. I'm not ready.

Edited by ramonaghan
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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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:sad1 Poor Sweep. I do know that a couple of mine have changed their sleeping habits as they got older. I don’t have indoor stairs, but  Conner started choosing to sleep in the living room instead of coming into my bedroom. Nothing (that I could see) had changed, he just quit coming to bed when I went. He also started going out more at night, not a lot, just more often than the 12+ hours he went without going out when he was younger. It probably is age related, which is sad, but hopefully not dementia.

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9 minutes ago, Remolacha said:

:sad1 Poor Sweep. I do know that a couple of mine have changed their sleeping habits as they got older. I don’t have indoor stairs, but  Conner started choosing to sleep in the living room instead of coming into my bedroom. Nothing (that I could see) had changed, he just quit coming to bed when I went. He also started going out more at night, not a lot, just more often than the 12+ hours he went without going out when he was younger. It probably is age related, which is sad, but hopefully not dementia.

Thank you for this. Connecticut Jan said something similar. It's always comforting to have the experts weigh in, since Sweep is my first hound and I tend to catastrophize. I appreciate it!

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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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Poor Sweep and you too for not having your girl there at night!

Gus, our borzoi, has had a behaviorist for many years (he was a wild, scared puppy!).  She's also his reiki person / communicator and is convinced that his problem with the steps is vision.  We'll be working on that soon, but in the last week, he's been on a minor hunger strike, which has us freaked.  Seems to be improving today.....

My greyhound Molly almost always insists on a second trip out to pee at night, knowing that she'll get another treat.  And, last year when she had her teeth cleaned and a tooth pulled, she was under a long time -- in the weeks after, she was going out about every two hours.  I had a UTI done, totally fine.  It resolved and she's back to her normal second biscuit at night.  

I also catastrophize about everything and Molly is my first hound!  Sometimes I think these dogs know us far too well!  

I'll let you know if the "improved vision" plan works, as soon as Gus is back to full eating.  Hugs to Sweep!  Molly is a fawn girl too ~

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Hi Rachel!  I know it's been a minute, but I so understand your predicament.  Luna and Nova will be 13 and 11 this spring (where did the time go?!?).  About a year ago, Luna decided that she just didn't want to go down the stairs anymore.  She would still go up fine, but she'd get about 2-3 steps down with her front legs, psych herself out, and then back up to the top again.  Like Sweep, she got a clean bill of health.  Vet said it was simply psychological.  I wouldn't necessarily lean towards dementia, but I will say that habits have changed as my girls have aged.  Luna doesn't sleep for the whole night anymore, and will usually leave the bedroom at some point, get a drink of water, snooze somewhere else for an hour or two, and then head back to bed.  No telling what all of that is about, but she seems happy and healthy enough.  It could be that Sweep is just finding her new normal as well.  Good luck!

Laura, mom to Luna (Boc's Duchess) and Nova (Atascocita Venus).
Forever in my heart, Phantom (Tequila Nights) and Zippy (Iruska Monte).

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4 hours ago, cgingrich said:

I also catastrophize about everything and Molly is my first hound!  Sometimes I think these dogs know us far too well!  

I'll let you know if the "improved vision" plan works, as soon as Gus is back to full eating.  Hugs to Sweep!  Molly is a fawn girl too ~

Ain't that the truth! I hope Gus continues eating better for you. :goodluck Do keep me posted. Also, fawn girls and their manipulations...getting a second treat is a trick Sweep knows well. 

3 minutes ago, schultzlc said:

Hi Rachel!  I know it's been a minute, but I so understand your predicament.  Luna and Nova will be 13 and 11 this spring (where did the time go?!?).  About a year ago, Luna decided that she just didn't want to go down the stairs anymore.  She would still go up fine, but she'd get about 2-3 steps down with her front legs, psych herself out, and then back up to the top again.  Like Sweep, she got a clean bill of health.  Vet said it was simply psychological.  I wouldn't necessarily lean towards dementia, but I will say that habits have changed as my girls have aged.  Luna doesn't sleep for the whole night anymore, and will usually leave the bedroom at some point, get a drink of water, snooze somewhere else for an hour or two, and then head back to bed.  No telling what all of that is about, but she seems happy and healthy enough.  It could be that Sweep is just finding her new normal as well.  Good luck!

Thanks, Laura--good to hear from you! Definitely sounds like the same behavior as Luna. She does the 2-3 step thing coming down (and the past few nights, coming up too). And when she finally gets up her nerve, she's taking them faster, like she wants to get it over with...which of course makes it more likely that she'll slip or trip. She really doesn't fit most of the list for dementia symptoms, so hopefully it is indeed just normal age-related changes. (But how will I sleep without her snorts and snuffles and horsey lip flapping?!)

I wonder if the back-to-back potty breaks are anxiety about the stairs. She has almost always just peed at the last turnout, so maybe it's a stress poop. :dunno In any event, I feel better after hearing from everyone, so thank you all. 

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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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Several of our Greyhounds started having physical limitations on the main staircase (fully carpeted) after they reached double-digit ages, especially 12+. No obvious spinal or shoulder problems were detected by our vets, but the hounds certainly felt their own discomfort, perhaps from worsening arthritis, vision changes, etc. One hound began to hesitate on curbs during leashed walks and on 1 or 2 steps. Another hound eventually stopped on the landing, couldn't move for an extended time, and never went up or down stairs again. Several hounds lived comfortably into their mid-teens (up to 15.6) on the carpeted main level (supervised). If hounds are sleeping away from their humans, teaching a hound to ring a bell on the door when s/he needs to eliminate will help them communicate their overnight needs to avoid accidents. (None of our teenage hounds had dementia.) Best of luck with Sweep. If her hesitation is medical/physical, I'd trust that she knows her body. The extra lights and brightly colored painters' tape is helpful either way, since many elder hounds' sight declines with age.

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9 hours ago, 3greytjoys said:

Several of our Greyhounds started having physical limitations on the main staircase (fully carpeted) after they reached double-digit ages, especially 12+. No obvious spinal or shoulder problems were detected by our vets, but the hounds certainly felt their own discomfort, perhaps from worsening arthritis, vision changes, etc. One hound began to hesitate on curbs during leashed walks and on 1 or 2 steps. Another hound eventually stopped on the landing, couldn't move for an extended time, and never went up or down stairs again. Several hounds lived comfortably into their mid-teens (up to 15.6) on the carpeted main level (supervised). If hounds are sleeping away from their humans, teaching a hound to ring a bell on the door when s/he needs to eliminate will help them communicate their overnight needs to avoid accidents. (None of our teenage hounds had dementia.) Best of luck with Sweep. If her hesitation is medical/physical, I'd trust that she knows her body. The extra lights and brightly colored painters' tape is helpful either way, since many elder hounds' sight declines with age.

Thanks! I know she's got arthritis in her toe(s) so that very well could be worsening (maybe aging or just winter weather). She gets Previcox for that as needed. We'll all have to get used to her sleeping downstairs, but it definitely makes for a less stressful start to the day when she does. 

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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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  • 2 weeks later...

Check her pads just to be sure there's nothing interfering or a corn developing.  Petunia actually had an extra nail growing through one of her pads that was affecting her on walks. 

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Always missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket. The home of Petunia, MW Neptunia and Kate, Miss Kate.

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. - Abraham Lincoln

 

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I have a similar problem with Stella. She is a master at any stairs and doesn't think twice. Until we moved and I have an inside set of about 5 that lead to the outside door from the door in my kitchen. She will not go through the door toward the steps to go down. She has came in the back door and gone up, but not the reverse. I think it's the kitchen door that she doesn't like because it's on a spring. I have to get her to do this because if there was an emergency and we couldn't use the front door, I would have to get her out the back door without her getting hurt trying to force her. It will be a project, I'm sure!

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