Even if the dog doesn't set paw on the stairs in the early stages, don't worry. If you live in a single story home, it's possible that your dog won't see stairs until a little later in life. To help your dog overcome its fear of stairs, try moving its feeding bowl to the base of the stairs so it associates the area with positive experiences. This is to get the dog to get onto the first step. Furthermore, the dog's fear of stairs will be reinforced, which is the opposite of what you want to achieve. Positive reinforcement involves rewarding your friend whenever they show the desired behavior, or show a calm and appropriate attitude. Using force or punishment will generate stress and inhibit the desired behavior. Author; Recent Posts; Follow me. Pant And Wag – Stair Climbing As An Exercise for Your Dog. This may turn the dog aggressive, and one or both of you could be hurt. In the daily lives of our dogs, it is almost inevitable that they encounter stairs. If the dog perceives the stairs as dangerous, it will be reluctance to go up or down the steps. Never force them, however, and always make sure the dog approaches of own will. The Siberian husky dog suddenly realised going back down the stairs was significantly scarier than going up ... Video shows pet husky dog too scared of going DOWN stairs. Dog Afraid of Stairs Suddenly . If you have bathmophobia, you might panic when simply observing a steep slope, while people with climacophobia typically experience symptoms only when expected to actually climb or descend. In fact, you may notice that your dog can climb up the stairs but is afraid to to go down them, or vice versa. Once the dog goes to you, encourage them to. If a younger dog refuses stairs, she may have an injury, congenital issue (hip dysplasia) or torn pad. First, Add Non-Slip Rugs. Some studies have even shown that painting the stairs a different color can help a dog get over its fear of using them[2]. Cause of a Fear of Going Up and Down Stairs . Once your dog is used to the stairs at home, it will be much easier for them to overcome their fear of stairs in other environments. (2016). Helping an Old Dog Get Over Her Fear of the Stairs . If your dog is scared of stairs, you may often see him struggle with the desire to be re-united with you and the fear of going up or down all those steps. We can also use your voice to urge them on, or keep the treats in your hand to give the dog each time they advance a step. You can reward your dog with a treat and plenty of praises every time he takes one additional step. Avoid forcing your dog continue, which could make it aggressive. 4-minute read . There is a possibility where your dog is suddenly afraid of using the stairs because he is in pain when he uses it. It is also impossible if you have a large dog. Finally, to ensure that the stairs seem safer to your dog, you can take steps that ensure the dog won't trip or fall on them. Your dog may may also be frightened by the noise they once heard while on the stairs. However, if your dog is suddenly afraid of all stairs, or seems reluctant to go up or down the stairs it usually climbs, you should try to find the cause of this behavior and take the dog to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be best able to advise you on how to deal with your dog's anxiety, including its fear of stairs. If you have adopted a new dog or puppy that is afraid to go up or down stairs, or if your dog seems to have suddenly developed a fear of stairs, you have come to the right place. If you have an elderly dog, a sudden fear of stairs could indicate canine arthritis developing. Encouragement and starting small are the keys. I have a 7 year old yellow lab that has lived in my house his entire life. Of course, if your dog seems to have other anxiety issues or is often stressed, it is best to consult a canine behavior specialist or ethologist. A … If at any time you observe signs of fear or stress in the dog, or sense that you're going too fast, let them return to the previous step. You could carry them, but that is hardly an effective long-term solution. Your email address will not be published. Adrienne Farricelli. This may make the dog more reluctant to step on the stairs. I cover the technique and things not to do as well. If you have any questions, please call us at 888-253-0777. For example, if a puppy falls down the stairs, they could develop a fear—or even the surface of the stairs, like tile, could freak them out wherever they are. This is because, to the individual dog, the stairs may look more frightening from one angle than from the other. The Answer. Dogs are afraid for taking the stairs for a lot of reasons. Fear of the Veterinarian. Dogs and Stairs. Understanding why your dog is having difficulty with stairs is the first step. Improper Socialization. Another reason your dog may be afraid of stairs is because it associates them with a traumatic experience, such as falling. But all of a sudden he is scared to go up stairs. Older dogs may develop arthritis, which causes severe pain while stepping up or climbing downstairs. e-mail; 54. shares . If you see they climb the stairs towards you, egg them on with praise and reassurance. If you have stairs with wide slats, putting a blanket or rug over the steps also helps hide the gaps, making the stairs appear less dangerous to your dog. Why is my Dog Scared of Other Dogs? The fear of going up or down stairs is very common among dogs and there are several factors that can cause it. Another possibility is that the dog has an internal injury or is unwell. If your dog is hesitating he may need a little extra support and guidance to feel like he can go down the stairs safely. Below are dog training tips to help a dog scared of stairs. Listen. A dog that is suddenly afraid of the stairs could be affected by a number of things, some of which may require the vet’s attention. Allow them to stop there if they seem reluctant to continue, and use vocal praise to help the dog. If the vet has ruled out health-related causes, the fear is probably psychological. It’s usually an accident, but dog owners sometimes teach their pets to be afraid … Insufficient exposure. This will help to shift their emotional response to the stairs, making them understand that the space doesn't pose a danger or threat. This, for example, can happen to older dogs that start to develop joint conditions like arthritis. No! Or perhaps you have seen dogs paralyzed by fear at the very sight of the stairs. Retrieved on 26 November, 2019. A dog that was never exposed to stairs as a pup and suddenly sees comes across them will often experience fear because the stairs represent an ‘unknown’. He had never been afraid to go up or down stairs before, but a few days ago, he was suddenly unable to go up the wood stairs of my deck outside. It is very important that you employ methods of positive reinforcement when training your dog. Most dogs that are afraid of going up and down stairs is due to the lack of early exposure. … This is more likely to be the reason for dogs that are suddenly afraid of stairs if they show no signs of impaired mobility (i.e. Encourage them by putting down, Continue this exercise for a few days, encouraging the dog to climb or descend the first step. If your large dog is suddenly afraid of using the stairs then it’s definitely worthwhile calling the vet for advice. Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA The Dog Trainer. Lack of Exposure to Stairs. At the same time, many of dogs' lifetime fears actually stem from lack of experience with things. I would recommend trying a lifting harness like the Lift-n-Step harness. By: David Codr. It is important to accustom a puppy to all kinds of stimuli during this phase of its life, such as different people, noises, objects, animals, and spaces. If your puppy or rescue dog is afraid to go outside, it could be because they … The majority of dogs who are afraid of stairs develop the fear because of a lack of early exposure. The reason may be physiological or psychological. This may have happened when the dog was a puppy, or it may be a more recent experience. These can be genetic or health related, but are most often linked to the dog's socialization and experiences they have learned to associate with stairs. Having long nails may sometimes make it difficult for dogs to get a proper grip on stair surfaces, especially those made of laminated wood. 3 Reasons Why Your Large Dog is Afraid of Stairs, 3 Reasons Why Your Dog Keeps Falling Down the Stairs, 3 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Refuses to Come Inside, 3 Reasons Why Your Dog is Suddenly Gassy & Farting Like Crazy Lately. For example, he may have tumbled or slipped down the stairs when you weren’t around. This can be done in several steps. For fearful dogs, a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference. Watching others is a good idea,How I got my parents pup to go down the stairs is by watching my Rottie go up and down them,and then acting like I was going outside with the dog without him. They may have taken a tumble or even injured a leg or perhaps hooked a nail in the wood which caused pain when they tried to climb the stairs. This is exactly why dog behavior experts always … However. For instance, cover smooth steps with strips of carpet or rug so the dog has a better grip when climbing. June 17, 2014. Is he suddenly afraid of height? Counter conditioning is a type of positive reinforcement used to teach the dog to associate the stairs with happy and positive emotions, rather than fear or stress. My 5 year old shih tzu has never had trouble going up and down the stairs since we taught her when she was a puppy, but suddenly as of a week ago she won't go completely up any set of stairs in the house on her own. Once that’s done, you need to encourage your dog to use the stairs one step at a time. Your first goal is to help the dog build positive associations with the stairs. If you suspect this is the case, keep an eye out for other signs that your dog is in pain. In such cases, it’s possible to get your dog to no longer be scared of the stairs again through positive reinforcement and counter-conditioning. Recording these signs will help your vet understand what health issues your dog has if any. Forums Dog behaviour 31 49,369; I have a 7 year old chocolate lab who all of the sudden two days ago decided he did not want to climb the basement stairs. A dog that is suddenly afraid of the stairs could be affected by a number of things, some of which may require the vet’s attention. This isn’t a one-time process. Bathmophobia, or the fear of slopes or stairs, is a somewhat complicated phobia. It takes balance and coordination to maneuver four legs within small spaces that suddenly incline or decline, and coordination has to be learned. Edwards, P. T., et al. Next, place the dog in the proper position going down the stairs, 2 steps from the bottom, and legs on the proper stairs. Can you carry him up or down? Learned Behavior. Allow them to rest there and pet or reassure them so that they know they are safe. To train a scared dog to go down the stairs, place a treat on the first step and encourage the dog to step up and get it. Learn how to help a scaredy-dog get over fear of going up and down stairs. Once the dog is willing to go right up to the head or foot of the stairs, you can proceed to the next stage. He's going to be 6 in a few months and he's a healthy dog. He can run down them just fine but he refuses to go up. If you see your dog wanting to go down the stairs to be with you, but seems scared, there are some things you can do that will make life easier. Published Date: December 12, 2017. Investigating risk factors that predict a dog’s fear during veterinary consultations. Once your dog begins to climb the first step without fear and or needing a reward, help them continue this progress by putting a treat on the second step. Try the methods and steps we explain below and see if they help your dog overcome its fear and get back on the stairs. Your dog used to go up and down the stairs with ease but one day looks terrified as he approaches the stairs. By . Something similar to this happened to me and I waited when I should not have and it cost so much more than I was willing to give up. As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day”. We’re always happy to help! It may be that your dog normally climbs up and down the stairs with no apparent difficulty, but becomes suddenly afraid of stairs. If this is happens just once, or in relation to a staircase that may look particularly dangerous to the dog (very wide slats, extra steep steps or stairs that go very high), then you probably need not worry. These medical conditions aren’t always visible so it’s important to do a checkup with the vet first to rule out any medical conditions. Use kind words and a soft voice, encouraging and rewarding each small step and improvement. A phobia of stairs can also occur if your Pug has fallen down the steps. We are currently experiencing playback issues on Safari. My dog is a pure bred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Such experiences can leave a long-lasting negative experience for your dog. First, you need to get your dog comfortable with being near the staircase. Being raised by a fearful mother (or an over-anxious human who forbade the puppy from going near stairs) could lead to a dog being more likely to fear stairs, either based on a learned negative response to stairs or because they are genetically predisposed to be nervous about the new and unknown spaces. Your Dog is in Pain. How big is he? In this video I cover how to eliminate a dogs fear of the stairs. You can use rewards like small treats or toys to encourage them to come closer. ASPCA. This learning should be be based on positive reinforcement and counter conditioning. This harness provides your dog with full body support, with your help he can avoid an accident. Why is my Dog Pooping in the House Suddenly? Eventually, your dog will forget about how scary the stairs were before. In fact, a fear of stairs is surprisingly common among dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds. 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