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Dogs Can't do Stairs????

November 2nd, 2007, 12:20 PM
Hi All...I am with Westie Rescue of Canada and just got 2 adult Westies from a shelter. They are being fostered by me in Ontario till I can find them forever homes.

I am very surprised that neither of them seems to be able to go up stairs...they can go downstairs, they can jump up and down off the beds and couch with no problems at all, so it sure doesn't seem like a physical problem!!! They just stand at the bottom on the stairs (3 or 4 stairs from my garage to the house...or 15 stairs up to the 2nd level of my home) and stare and cry till I pick them up and carry them.

These are 2 adult is about 6 years old and one about 8 years is possible that they have never done stairs before????

I guess I will just start training the stairs thing like I did when my Westie, Charlotte, was a puppy. Anyone else have any wonderful ideas about training an adult dog to go up stairs????

November 2nd, 2007, 12:27 PM
First, congrats on giving these guys a second chance :thumbs up .

It sounds like they came from a home without stairs.

If yours aren't already carpeted, I'd consider securing a runner along them so the dogs feel they have more secure footing as they attempt them. Perhaps while they are on leash, you can coax them with treats until they get the hang of it.

You might want to start with the garage stairs as they wouldn't look as daunting to the pooches.

November 2nd, 2007, 12:29 PM
I would guess they've never been in a house with stairs before, or else they used to get carried up/down them.

Find something extremely motivating that you can use to "bribe" them to do a couple of steps. It could be you, a toy, a treat, the neighbour's cat (:D -kidding!)....

We had to train our puppy this way too (she was not used to stairs when we got her. There were tantrums and tears but eventually she decided that going up the bad ol' stairs by herself was worth spending time with her humans who, meanly, were hanging out up there without her! Now she's up and down like a flash!

November 2nd, 2007, 01:05 PM
I find it very peculiar that they can go DOWN the stairs and not up. I have found dogs unused to stairs just leap the whole staircase going down (or try to) and do not negotiate step by step. I would think possible hip trouble but you say they jump up on the beds and couches so that doesn't sound likely either. Patience, training and food tidbits placed step by step should help though, along with the other good tips. Good luck.

November 2nd, 2007, 01:37 PM
Well from an animal's perspective of seeing things from the floor, I would imagine going up stairs would be more difficult than going down, because they can see what's in front of them going down, but might be unsure of what's up above where they cannot see in their line of sight.

November 2nd, 2007, 09:24 PM
Westie's are a small dog and the riser on a stair is 6 " high with a 1"step so an entire staircase may seem impossible for a dog who barely rises above that.

If you have some small foam steps (2-4) maybe you can help them learn.

Just an fyi, my BIG dogs rarely have to use stairs but they ALWAYS are uncertain and slippery-footed smooth-floored surfaces when they do.

The other thing to remember is that it's possible these dogs were not permitted upstairs and were punished for trying.

November 5th, 2007, 11:06 AM
Do you have any background on these dogs, I agree with mummummum that they may not have been allowed upstairs in their previous house and are too afraid to try now.