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Climbing stairs

August 30th, 2005, 09:49 AM
Hi all! I am looking for some advice regarding my 10 week old puppy. Her crate and little pen is in our basement as that's the room where we spend most of our time when we are home. Indy is pretty good at going up stairs but not too confident going down. So, I carry her down the stairs. Is this just enforcing dominant behaviour? I am just concerned about her falling! Is she old enough to be going downstairs on her own?

I am finding puppyhood very tiring and tougher then I thought. I haven't seen much progress with the jumping on furniture nor the biting. If I am sitting on the floor, trying to "play"...she'll just go behind me, jump on me, climb over me, bite my clothes..etc. She's a golden and shouldn't have many dominant traits and that's one of the reasons I got her. I am afraid that I am doing something wrong and making her dominant. However, it makes me not want to play when she gets like that! Right now, I am pretty much raising her on my own as my boyfriend has a busy schedule. We start puppy school next week...any suggestions on how to survive?

Also, anyone know of someone in the West Island of Montreal who could come in and let her out at lunch??


August 30th, 2005, 10:01 AM
ahhhh stairs.... we finally got over that hurdle... our stairs to the 2nd floor are damn near vertical, and not carpeted. What we did is put those grippy-strips on each stair, and then taught Tucker how to do it very very slowly. At first he was petrified of going down (I don't blame him, it's VERY steep!), so we carried him to the 2nd (bottom) stair and let him learn to do 1-2 steps, after a week of that, we carried him to the middle of the stairs.... after a week of that, we introduced the rest, one stair at a time. It took about a month and a half, but building it up slowly worked great. now, he flies down the stairs.

August 30th, 2005, 10:06 AM
I've been doing that. I will put her down on the third to last step and let her climb down and praise the heck out of her when she gets there! (she actually manages to look pretty proud of herself too!) :)

However, we also have to go down more stairs off the back deck to get to her "pee place" so I have to carry her down those too. It's ok for now...but she's growing by the millisecond (so it seems!) and I am not going to be able to carry her for long!! I dont' want her to "expect" to be carried either.

August 30th, 2005, 10:32 AM
Have you tried treats on the stairs? so as she goes down step by step, she gets rewarded.

sounds like you're doing a great job though - I'd say keep at it, increase the stairs slowly and she'll get it. (and if not, it's a good workout, right? ;) )

August 30th, 2005, 01:02 PM
I have a golden, too, and was worried that she was getting too dominant (and, like you, I got a golden for their famous easy-going temperament). I was very discourged at first, but my little Abby is doing really well -- hang in there. The key is letting her know you are boss and setting limits. For a while, I had nipping and growling issues with her, but (after posting her for advice) I began taking control. Some things I found really helpful:

Never give her a command you aren't absolutely sure she'll obey. She has to know you are always the boss. My trick for instilling a desire to please in her was to keep her on leash most of the time -- that way, if she disobeys, I can give her a quick correction with her training collar by giving a quick jerk on the leash. Now she knows she HAS to obey. At first, she would try to bite the leash and would just go nuts, but I used a spray bottle (see below) and some stern "no"s to put a stop to that. Tone of voice is also important: be kind but firm and go into it knowing you are the boss. I use a gruff voice to give her commands.

Do not tolerate bad behavior, especially nipping. I never get aggressive with her or hit her, but I do give her a stern "No!" and immediately stop playing with her if she does that. A 30-second to one-minute time out usually gets the message across (I would just walk away, and sometimes go into the bathroom and shut the door so she knew she wasn't going to get attention if she was bad).

I also started using a spray bottle for when she got sassy. If I gave her a correction (example: she was chewing the throw rug, and when I said "off," she growled) and she "sassed" or growled, she got a spritz. This might not work with all dogs, but it worked with Abby. Now it's enough if I just put my hand on the bottle. And when I spray her, she immediately stops what she's doing and typically walks over and licks me. Better kisses than growls, I say.
Also, until she stopped with the biting (she would do that thing where she would walk around me and bite me, too -- she would especially jump up and bite my hair!) I quit sitting on the floor to pet her. I would sit on the couch or stand and she would only get pets if she sat for me. I made sure I was never on her level.

Abby is almost 6 months now, and after a rough patch, she recognizes my authority and is slowly becoming the stereotypical golden. Very kissy and snuggly, but she still obeys me. She's got a lot of work to do, but I think she's going to be a very good golden girl.

She will definitely master the stairs in no time, she might just be a bit scared now. I also taught Abby to "climb nice" by walking up and down the stairs with her on her leash. I would make her sit at the bottom (or top, depending on which way we were going), then I would take a few steps, tell her to heel, take a few steps, etc. Just so she didn't try to race/drag me down the stairs. She's very good on stairs now.

August 30th, 2005, 01:37 PM
Thanks Shannon! That's all great advice! I will keep at it! It just seems like I am trying to be consistent but nothing is coming of it! I will try the things you have suggested and let you know how it goes!

August 30th, 2005, 01:42 PM
Also...this may be a stupid question but hey! I'm new at this! How do you know if your dog has fleas? (and is it possible for a 10week old golden to have fleas?)

August 30th, 2005, 04:54 PM
Mine had fleas at that age too (do we have the same exact dog? :) ). I realized it because I had given her a treat (a Bil Jac liver treat) and thought she had some on her face. I laughed at her for eating like a piggie and went to brush it off, but the bit of "treat" just went deeper into her fur (a little brown thing, but definitely not a tick!). Eek! I called the vet, who said her Revolution should take care of it, but I found some puppy-safe shampoo (Zodiac Flea & Tick Control Shampoo for Puppies) and bathed her. I also got some spray to kill the fleas or flea eggs that might have been in any carpeting, etc (luckily our 1st floor is mostly hard wood) and cleaned, vacuumed and sprayed the entire house. I checked her every couple days after that, and she was flea free. :)

Good luck! I know it seems like you're not making any progress, but believe me, you are!

August 30th, 2005, 05:12 PM
Let her figure out the stairs when she is ready. Goldens are prone to hip and knee problems(displasia). The longer you can wait the better and they usually figure it out on their own when ready.
Puppies love to play with their people. It is a natural behaviour when your puppy plays with other dogs to use their mouth. We just need to teach them that they must find a better way to play with their humans w/o using their mouth. The best way is to show puppy that when they try to play this way it causes you to leave. That is the last thing your puppy wants to happen.
Please read
To check for fleas turn your puppy over and look at the bald area between the back legs. If your puppy has fleas you will usually see them there.

August 31st, 2005, 05:43 PM
Rescuing the pup and carrying him doesn't make him dominant it just makes him lazy when he knows he doesn't have to try.
Teaching stairs should only take a short while - perhaps a day. Start at the bottom step and work your way up (for going down) or start at the top step and work your way down (for going up). If you are at the desired destination and encourage her to come to you she will likely try on her own.
It's good not to have her leaping down the stairs at an early age, but it does help to build muscle strength to have her going up and down slowly. Think of the hills in nature that pups would encounter. Rarely is ground flat, but they learn to manage it - especially when they are following the ones they love.