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. I have a 7 year old yellow lab that has lived in my house his entire life. June 17, 2014. To a dog, a flight of stairs can appear terrifying, either because of its height, the steepness of the steps or the size of the gap between each slat, if the stairs have slats. 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. There are different associations that can trigger a phobia of stairs in a dog or puppy. Use kind words and a soft voice, encouraging and rewarding each small step and improvement. 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. Next, place the dog in the proper position going down the stairs, 2 steps from the bottom, and legs on the proper stairs. Most dogs and puppies dislike walking up or down stairs because they’re slippery. Continue to work progressively increasing the number of steps. We’re always happy to help! Edwards, P. T., et al. This is to get the dog to get onto the first step. so i have a chihuahua/jack russel mix and he went up our stairs and now he's afraid to come down, i'm not really sure why. Training your dog to overcome its fear and teaching it to go up and down stairs is the best way to resolve the issue. Older dogs may develop arthritis, which causes severe pain while stepping up or climbing downstairs. Encourage them by putting down, Continue this exercise for a few days, encouraging the dog to climb or descend the first step. 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’. In such cases the dog is just showing caution, as a human might, when confronted with what looks like a tricky staircase. We also include a step by step guide to helping your dog overcome its fear of stairs and gain the confidence to use them. Otherwise, he may become even more fearful of the stairs. It takes balance and coordination to maneuver four legs within small spaces that suddenly incline or decline, and coordination has to be learned. Genetics may also play a role in dogs that are afraid of stairs. For this Omaha dog training session we helped a 10 year-old Chinook named Kiya get over her fear of the stairs and walking on shinny hard wood floors. 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. Episode #178. play pause. 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. You can reward your dog with a treat and plenty of praises every time he takes one additional step. 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. If you suspect this is the case, keep an eye out for other signs that your dog is in pain. Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA The Dog Trainer. 80lb Dog Afraid of Stairs-I Live in 2nd Story Apartment Please Help! Recording these signs will help your vet understand what health issues your dog has if any. Allow them to rest there and pet or reassure them so that they know they are safe. Once the dog can climb all the steps without fear but with you by their side, it's time to move to the final stage of training: getting the dog to walk the stairs by itself. Can you carry him up or down? Lack of Exposure to Stairs. Try the methods and steps we explain below and see if they help your dog overcome its fear and get back on the stairs. Some studies suggest that there is a genetic component to fear behavior in dogs[1], and this could include fear of objects such as stairs. Required fields are marked *. Your dog used to go up and down the stairs with ease but one day looks terrified as he approaches the stairs. If you see they climb the stairs towards you, egg them on with praise and reassurance. If your dog falls down the stairs or obtains an injury while he or she is on the stairs, they may come to associate the steps with that negative, painful feeling, and that is what leads to a phobia. Furthermore, the dog's fear of stairs will be reinforced, which is the opposite of what you want to achieve. However, if a dog suddenly becomes scared of stairs, then it's time for a veterinary visit. The source of your dog’s anxiety could be as simple as they bumped a table, and a book fell onto them. Published Date: December 12, 2017. Helping an Old Dog Get Over Her Fear of the Stairs . Some studies have even shown that painting the stairs a different color can help a dog get over its fear of using them[2]. At the same time, many of dogs' lifetime fears actually stem from lack of experience with things. 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. Your dog used to go up and down the stairs with ease but one day looks terrified as he approaches the stairs. Using force will also cause the dog to lose trust in you. In fact, you may notice that your dog can climb up the stairs but is afraid to to go down them, or vice versa. Sometimes, the problem can be something treatable. In this AnimalWised article, we provide instructions for what to do if your dog is afraid of stairs, looking at possible the causes and solutions that you can apply. For instance, cover smooth steps with strips of carpet or rug so the dog has a better grip when climbing. Fear of stairs — He had gone up and down these same stairs without incident for nearly a year before he just stopped cold in his tracks and refused to go down this set of stairs any longer. Let your dog set the pace and keep practicing as long as your dog wants to. Pant And Wag – Stair Climbing As An Exercise for Your Dog. The fear of going up or down stairs is very common among dogs and there are several factors that can cause it. Allow them to stop there if they seem reluctant to continue, and use vocal praise to help the dog. Below are dog training tips to help a dog scared of stairs. When you give in to your puppy’s whining and carry him or her up and down the stairs, you may be enabling behaviors that could become detrimental down the road. 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. Fear of the Veterinarian. The reason may be physiological or psychological. Never force them, however, and always make sure the dog approaches of own will. Encouragement and starting small are the keys. If you have an elderly dog, a sudden fear of stairs could indicate canine arthritis developing. He can run down them just fine but he refuses to go up. Or perhaps you have seen dogs paralyzed by fear at the very sight of the stairs. It may be that your dog normally climbs up and down the stairs with no apparent difficulty, but becomes suddenly afraid of stairs. Positive reinforcement involves rewarding your friend whenever they show the desired behavior, or show a calm and appropriate attitude. My dog was young, just over a year old. Tips to Deal with a Dog's Fear, Why Is My Dog Scared of Loud Noises and How to Help. Each day bring the play sessions closer to the stairs, so that the dog becomes comfortable with being next to the object of its fear. 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. If your large dog is suddenly afraid of using the stairs then it’s definitely worthwhile calling the vet for advice. You should try to make a note of any other symptoms that may appear from your dog at this time. 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. 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. References and Further Reading. It is very important that you employ methods of positive reinforcement when training your dog. There are no miraculous or instant solutions that will have your dog going up and down stairs in a flash. 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. How old is the dog? (2016). 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. This, for example, can happen to older dogs that start to develop joint conditions like arthritis. What Does It Mean When a Dog Lifts a Front Paw? He didn’t fall down the stairs, didn’t get scared one time on the stairs, and didn’t have any other strange occurrences on the steps that we were aware of. 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. It’s usually an accident, but dog owners sometimes teach their pets to be afraid … By: David Codr. They will be best able to advise you on how to deal with your dog's anxiety, including its fear of stairs. 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. This will help to shift their emotional response to the stairs, making them understand that the space doesn't pose a danger or threat. When he's at the bottom of the stairs, he barks and whimpers when we call him to come up. This can lead to approach avoidance behaviors where one moment he seems really motivated to go up or down, and the next, he backs away. All the same, in case the dog is suddenly confronted with a tricky flight of stairs or its fear returns, we advise you to always carry s few treats when you take your dog out. Should I Walk My Dog Before or After Meals? This harness provides your dog with full body support, with your help he can avoid an accident. To start, walk the dog up the stairs once or twice and lots of praise/treats on the stairs and at the completion of the task. Carry the dog down the stairs for now. First, you need to get your dog comfortable with being near the staircase. 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. It is a process that takes some time, but with love and patience, your dog's stair nightmare will soon nothing but a bad memory. For example, he may suddenly look lethargic or he could be walking with a slight limp. Pet Hooligans – Are Stairs Dangerous for Your Puppy . The main two causes of this phobia, though, are trauma and lack of early exposure.. A … But all of a sudden he is scared to go up stairs. Post navigation ← Previous Post. Don’t try to rush your dog. The majority of dogs who are afraid of stairs develop the fear because of a lack of early exposure. Another reason your dog may be afraid of stairs is because it associates them with a traumatic experience, such as falling. If the vet has ruled out health-related causes, the fear is probably psychological. Is he suddenly afraid of height? It's quite similar to climacophobia , or the fear of climbing stairs, except in its specific focus. If a younger dog refuses stairs, she may have an injury, congenital issue (hip dysplasia) or torn pad. First, Add Non-Slip Rugs. The Answer. … 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. Improper Socialization. I cover the technique and things not to do as well. For fearful dogs, a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference. 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. 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. This is because, to the individual dog, the stairs may look more frightening from one angle than from the other. These guidelines can be applied whether you are teaching your dog to go down the stairs, up the stairs, or both. Why is my Dog Scared of Other Dogs? 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. How big is he? If it’s not a physical health issue then it could be a psychological one.
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