One fine day, you find that your dog refuses to climb the stairs of your house. What should you do if your dog cant climb stairs suddenly? What could be the reasons? Let’s find out all this in the article below.
A little puppy in your house can be afraid of stairs, and in some cases, an aversion to stairs can develop even in an adult dog in your home all of a sudden. One fine day, you find that your dog is just now willing to climb up or down the stairs, even though it was doing so till now.
You might be scratching your head to know the reasons behind this strange behavior of your pet. Many factors can generate a fear of stairs in your dog’s mind. The age of your dog, the health of the pet, and several other things can make your dog think that climbing stairs are a challenging task to pull off.
As a pet owner, if you notice that your dog is also getting afraid to climb up or down the stairs suddenly, then don’t worry. Lucky for you, there are specific actions that you can take to overcome this fear.
In this article, we will talk about the root causes behind this weird behavior of your dog. So, read on and find out all the answers to the questions you are seeking.
Why Dogs Can’t Climb Stairs Suddenly
It could be due to a pain in the legs, fear of stairs, or even long nails that are hurting your dog.
When you introduce your dog to the stairs for the very first time, it might hesitate to take even a single step. Your dog may start barking loudly, or it may also begin whining, depending on the mood of your dog.
You need to treat your dog with compassion, patience, and confidence, and by doing this, you can remove the fear of stairs from your dog’s mind. Some of the common reasons behind your dog’s sudden incapability of climbing stairs are:
Pain in the Body
One of the biggest reasons for reluctance may be the pain in your furry friend’s body. Joint pain, which is mostly caused by arthritis, can be seen in older dogs, making it difficult for your dog to move, and of course, they tend to avoid climbing stairs.
Dogs that are not old but still you notice that they are showing reluctance in climbing stairs, then you should look for symptoms such as limping, being lethargic, and a few others.
All these symptoms can occur in a dog if it has bumped into something hard, twisted its ankle while running or walking, and several other reasons. If you feel that your dog is going through an arthritis problem, then take your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic for medical help.
Past Traumatic Experiences
Negative experiences can leave a long-lasting impact on your dog’s mind. When you are not around, at that time, if your dog has slipped from the stairs while climbing up or climbing down, it will never try to repeat the same thing.
If you see that your dog suddenly starts getting scared of stairs, one day, this trauma might be causing this without even displaying any signs of impaired mobility fear. You can try positive reinforcement and counter-conditioning techniques to help your dog through the trauma.
If you are dealing with a stair climbing issue with your dog, then long nails in your dog’s feet may be behind, creating fear in your dog’s mind. If your dog has long nails, it will find it difficult to get a good grip on the surface of the stairs of your house.
And this problem occurs mostly if the stairs are made up of laminated wood. Once your dog finds difficulties finding the ideal grip, it will become reluctant to climb the stairs. That is why it is better to clip the nails from time to time.
How to Teach a Dog to Go Down Stairs Slowly?
It is better to teach your dog how to climb down the stairs slowly to prevent any unfortunate event involving your dog. You need to follow the same steps when teaching your dog something new irrespective of how simple or complex the activity is.
Now without wasting any further time, let’s take a look at the process by which you can train your dog how to climb stairs slowly and steadily.
Define the Tasks
Dogs that have become older, newborn puppies, and small dogs usually find it challenging to go down the stairs. Your dog might be finding it frightening just by looking from the top of a staircase.
In some cases, it has also been seen that large-sized dogs are also finding climbing down the stairs daunting. When you first bring a dog home, of course, you will try to make it feel comfortable in its new space, and that means you have to make the whole space accessible for your pet friend.
Besides making adjustments to the staircase, you need to define the skills you need to teach your dog so that it can climb the stairs without any sense of fear in its mind. Once you are done teaching your dog, you can take your dog almost everywhere without having the tension that your dog may find it difficult climbing stairs.
If your dog is not dealing with any physical problem such as arthritis which usually develops in the dog’s body because of age. These problems can restrict the movements of your dog. You have to be patient throughout the training process, and you also need to ensure that your training process does not include any punishment or negative reinforcement techniques.
The surface of the staircase is usually hard, so you can use mats made out of rubber or carpets so that your dog can have a nice and firm grip on that surface. Moreover, you also need to make sure that there is no obstacle in the way of your dog.
Finally, whenever your dog climbs a stair by overcoming their fear, you should treat your pet with the things that they like. This is an example of positive reinforcement, which makes your dog perform the activity more and in a better way.
The One Step at A Time Method
You can include one step at a time methods to help your dog climb down. We will mention the steps below. Follow all these, and you will be able to teach your dog to go downstairs slowly.
- Make your dog take the first step. Though most dogs can pull this off easily, if your dog cannot do that, then hold a treat in front of them.
- Reward your pet after the completion of the task.
- After that, add another step.
- Reward at every single step.
- Keep adding steps.
- Keep changing rewards so that it does not become monotonous for your pet.
Some popular training methods for training your dog to go downstairs slowly are the Blanket and Barrier Method and The Makeshift Step Method. Both these methods are a little different from the method mentioned above. But they are as effective as the one we have mentioned.
As we have reached the end of the article, we hope that you have become aware of the reasons behind your dog’s inability to climb stairs.
You can also try the solutions that we have discussed in the article to remove any inhibition that may be there in your dog’s mind regarding climbing stairs. Just remember the two most important things are to assess your dog’s body condition, and as mentioned earlier, never punish your dog while training.
Thank you for reading, we hope this answered your questions. We have written about other problems that leg pain might cause, such as Why Does My Dog Skip When He Walks? And Why Does My Dog Poop Standing Up?. You should not ignore these things, because they could always be a symptom for a deeper problem that you need to get to the bottom of.