Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. Yesterday I got my first Dobie. She is a real sweetie, and I couldn't ask for a better dog. The only problem is she is TERRIFIED of stairs. I have had dogs that didn't know how to use stairs, but even looking at the stairs makes her pee herself. I know it is early for us, but when should I start working on the steps with her? And how should I do it? When I go up the steps she whines and whines, comes to the bottom of the steps, and pees. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
yes.. use chicken or steak chunks (treat size) and slowly feed the dog around the object. She will get comfortable being closer and closer. Let her learn at her pace the stairs wont hurt her. If she has a favorite toy you can lure her over with that as well. You have to get the dog engaged first, so give her some commands and let her earn a few treats... when she wants more, start working towards stairs. Up first then down was a great suggestion as well. Patience and she will get it. you could also just sit on the bottom step and pet her till she gets comfortable that close. Then move up a step and pet her, offer food etc. develop her bond with you right now so she learns to trust you.
 

·
You can't kill the metal
Joined
·
832 Posts
I just held my puppy by her collar and made her walk down them slowly. After a few times of that I let her come down on her own with the leash on, this was slow going but she made it. Now she walks down them no problem.

7 flights of stairs up to my apartment, she gets lots of practise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,778 Posts
This is not as easy with an adult dog as it is with a puppy. If the very idea of stairs makes her pee, I am guessing that there is no reward on earth that is going to be valuable enough.

Can she function and live in your home at present without doing the stairs, or is it necessary that she do stairs in order to go outside or whatever?

Are you absolutely certain that there is no structural issue whch makes using stairs painful?

Are you absolutely certain that there are no visual issues which might make using stairs more difficult to comprehend?

If you can take the time to do this, I would get in the car and go scouting around town. Find a store (or something) which has two steps to approach, and conquer those. Then find a library that has three steps. Then find a school that has four steps. Etc. She may get "stuck" at a certain number... go back to the last place she was successful, and have a really good time - great treats at the top, fun tug at the bottom, or something... up and down, up and down, "Yay!"... go back to the steps that were difficult, and incorporate the same rewards. Progress at her speed... it may take an afternoon, or it may take a couple few weeks... it is what it is! It is very important that you do this with no physical pressure... she must move her feeties forward of her own volition! Trying to pull her on leash would probably generate panic and desperate resistance, and be more counter-productive than anything.

There may be some factor involved with your stairs that make them particularly problematic for her... narrowness (is she O.K. in a hallway?), open steps which can be seen through (is she O.K. looking down from a deck?), whatever. If you can discern this, find a way to incorporate that part in baby steps, also.

DO NOT CODDLE OR COMFORT THIS!!!!! DO NOT REASSURE OR SYMPATHIZE!!! Happy, upbeat, confidant... "You can do this! Yay, good girl!"

if she were to have a dog friend who could model stair behavior in an environment with a few steps (then more), that might be helpful, too. Maybe playing in a back yard with some deck steps?

Get her thyroid function checked... there can be a correlation between low thyroid production and phobic crap. If this is what it is, it is an easy and cheap fix... one little pill twice a day!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,587 Posts
agree with mmctaq...the only thing I would also consider is clicker training just to get her close to the stairs. Use a target of some sort that you teach her to touch for the click/treat then slowly move it towards the stairs. Then next to the stair, then on the first step and so on! Another dog modeling is one GREAT plan.

Also since you have just gotten her you may need to build on your relationship some first before getting to something she is so fearful of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,009 Posts
Agree with Pack Leader and mmctag.
- high value treats difinitely help and 2 steps are easier to conquer than 20

I was at a ladies house years ago, and her golden hadn`t gone upstairs ever (had dog for a year, since a pup)...to cuddle in her bed, at night.
I did the treat thing on 1 step, then again on 2 steps (no further)...the next day, dog did them completely...without my help.
(but she wasn`t afraid enough & pee`d)

Let me ask the DT panel of experts:
Does it make any sense, to practice going down steps first (with rewards)...to take the edge off, going up them.

Also, if steps are slipery, dogs pads can skid and cause insecurity.
Practice on carpeted steps before hard wood ones.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,290 Posts
Let me ask the DT panel of experts:
Does it make any sense, to practice going down steps first (with rewards)...to take the edge off, going up them.

Also, if steps are slipery, dogs pads can skid and cause insecurity.
Practice on carpeted steps before hard wood ones.
I don't know how much of an expert I am but for most dogs it's more difficult to go DOWN stairs than to go UP stairs. I'd work on up before I worked on down.

I'd probably start on the assumption that she'd never had stairs in her life before. At home, if she's food motivated, I'd try feeding meals on the bottom step first and then moving up a step at a time with the food dish. I'd probably sit on the step that the food pan was on. At the same time I'd try mmctaq's technique of finding single steps, two steps, three steps and working on up, down. I'd also look for solid wide steps and avoid open steps which seem to be the kind that many dogs find very daunting.

Since dogs who go to shows or trials often have to do some pretty bizarre stairs all my dogs have to learn to deal with them and I work on puppies from the get go--and it is harder with an adult dog but even the adults can and do learn.

And I definitely second mmctaq's reminder to NOT sympathize, not try to console or baby the dog along. Be very matter of fact about the whole process--dogs are great at deciding if you sound worried they should be too.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top