When you are considering to bring a puppy home, safety must be a factor to look at. While stairs are good for your home, they can pose a safety issue to puppies. Small puppies may not be able to climb stairs without falling. However, it also has a lot of advantages. These may include:
- Strengthen puppies muscles
- It is a great way to exercise when you do not have the time to go for long runs
- It will help drain pent up energy in puppies
- Will help prevent and manage obesity due to the intense workout
However, some puppies won’t climb stairs at all. It can be a result of previous traumatic experiences while climbing stairs in the past. Other puppies have never climbed stairs before and thus they are inexperienced. Climbing up the stairs is not often the hardest as compared to climbing down. You will need to train your pup how to climb stairs at some point. What are some of the reasons why puppies fail to climb stairs?
They are in pain
If your puppy has an injury causing pain, he might be unable to climb the stairs. Climbing stairs means that he is going to exert pressure on his limb and back muscles. If he is injured, he might not be able to climb up or down.
Observe how he moves around. Does he seem to be in pain when he walks around/ It could be the reason why he is avoiding to climb the stairs?
He is new in the house
When your puppy is still new in the household, he might not want to climb the stairs. He will take a few days to get comfortable moving around the house. Also, if he has never been in a house with stairs, he could refuse to climb. However, I am going to discuss how to train a puppy to climb stairs.
Previous traumatic experience
Puppies are quite delicate. If your puppy has had a traumatic experience while climbing the stairs, there is a chance he will not want it to happen again. As a result, he will avoid the staircase, even when you want him to go up or down with him.
For instance, it could be that he fell or witnessed someone fall down the stairs. Once again you will have to reintroduce how to climb the stairs to your puppy. I suggest that you practice patience while doing so.
Training a puppy to climb stairs
Whether or not your puppy has had experience climbing stairs in the past, you must set aside some time and navigate your house. Climbing the stairs for the first timers is not going to be an easy thing. Some of these puppies have no idea of how to climb the stairs. However, do not despair and I am going to take you through how to teach puppies to climb stairs.
Use treats and rewards
At first, your puppy is going to be afraid to go up or down the stairs on his own. I suggest that you put a leash on him, as with other forms of puppy training. The lease is not only going to guide your pup but it will provide a sense of security. Some puppies refuse to climb stairs because they are afraid.
Carry your puppy about two steps up the stairs. Now, lead the way up and use treats to lure him to come towards you. Be careful and patient, especially if this is his first encounter with the stairs.
Once he successfully climbs up the stairs, offer him a treat or reward him with verbal praises. It is going to encourage your puppy in that climbing stairs has a positive outcome. Remain consistent with your training until he is comfortable and confident to climb stairs.
Provide a distraction
Distracting your puppy is also going to help in training puppies to climb stairs. Well, this is especially when you are dealing with a fearful puppy. As we mentioned above, some puppies refuse to climb stairs if they have had an unpleasant experience. However, you can encourage your puppy to climb stairs by distracting him with play.
For instance, play with him and let him follow you up the stairs. You could probably pick up his favorite toy and initiate play. Ensure that he remains engaged in play the whole time until he has taken a few steps upstairs.
When training puppies to climb stairs through distraction, it also gives you a chance to form a strong bond. Be patient with him until he is comfortable enough to climb them on his own. Once again, ensure that he is on a leash during training.
Be very patient with your puppy
As with every other training, understand that puppies need patience. For him to be comfortable climbing the stairs on his own, you will need to keep training him every day. This is a good thing because you are also going to ensure that your puppy gets enough exercise.
Remember that puppies have a lot of pent up energy. If not properly exercised, they develop other destructive behaviors. Well, brace up for some fun time with your puppy during this time. You are going to build trust and he will be assured that nothing will happen to him even when climbing the stairs.
Remain consistent with your schedule
I insist on developing a schedule for your puppy from the first day he comes home. Well, you must include training sessions in that routine. Let your puppy know that at a particular time of the day, you will be training to climb stairs.
Now, you need to be very particular and strict when it comes to schedules. For instance, whenever you want to take him to the potty area, ensure you go there immediately you open the door. It is no different when you want him, to learn how to climb stairs. When the time for training comes, perform the same routine over and over again. Do not engage in any other activity during this time.
For instance, get him on a leash immediately and lead him to the staircase. Put him on the second step and begin training. Do not let him wander around. Instead, train him to focus on climbing the stairs.
How safe is your staircase?
Earlier on, I mentioned that safety is a major concern when you are adopting a pet. I mean, you have to ensure that nothing happens to them while living with you. For this reason, you must ensure that the stairs in your house are completely safe for your puppy. You don’t want him falling off and hurting himself, do you?
Below, I am going to outline some safety measures to take before you even begin training your puppy how to climb stairs:
Ensure the stairs are carpeted
When training your puppy how to climb stairs, it is normal for minor accidents to occur. You do not want your puppy to incur injuries in the process. Therefore, carpeting your stairs will minimize the chances of your puppy falling and hurting himself.
Besides, a carpeted staircase is less slippery which minimizes the chances of an injury and falling accidents.
Get toe grips for your puppy
In most cases, accidents that may occur when training your puppy to climb stairs are as a result of slipping and falling. In the case where your stairs are not carpeted, get toe grips for your pup. These are going to ensure that he gets a firm grip on the surface and minimize the chances of falling.
Once a puppy climbs up and down the stairs a few times, he will develop the confidence to do it often. Remember, you must be consistent with training sessions.
Use a dog ramp
Sometimes your puppies are unable to climb stairs because of their small size. If your puppy cannot seem to reach the next step of the staircase, I suggest you get a dog ramp for him. Ramps have smaller steps, specifically made for smaller dogs as well as older dogs who might be unable to climb up the stairs.
A dog ramp will ease training for you and your puppy. It will also ensure that there are no accidents during training.
Ensure there are no obstacles on the stairs
Before you begin training with your puppy, ensure that the stairs are clear of obstacles. Obstacles may mean clothing, shoes and so on. For instance, when you have shoes on the floor, they may cause your puppy to trip off and fall. Well, always clean up before you start training your puppy to climb the stairs.
Are the stairs well lit?
Can your puppy see clearly as you train? You must make sure that the stairs are well lit when training. I mean, your puppy can also trip over the stairs just as we do. Ensure that the stairs are well lit before you commence training.
Make the training as safe as possible and employ measures to make it easy for your pup. As mentioned earlier, if your puppy won’t move up and down the stairs no matter what you try, it could be that he is feeling ill or is in pain. Therefore, observe him closely.
The goal is to ensure that your puppy is most comfortable during training.
Going up the stairs
Climbing up the stairs is not often the hardest thing to train. This is because there are limited chances that he could trip off and fall. However, it does not mean that your puppy will readily start climbing up the stairs. Instead, you must train him on how to.
Well, start at the bottom and use any of the above-discussed methods of training. For instance, you can hold up a tasty treat and let him smell it. Then walk up the stairs just a few steps. Well, if your pup is crazy about food, he will follow you up. Consistency is key to successful puppy training.
You can use any other methods to lure or distract him as he learns to take the steps.
Climbing down the stairs
Now, climbing down the stairs is a little challenging. This is because your puppy could easily slide or trip off and fall. Well, if you are dealing with a puppy who has had previous experience with falling down the stairs, it can be difficult to get your puppy to take even a single step down the stairs.
Now, you will need to be very patient with your puppy. Carry him up the stairs and put him down on the second of a third staircase from the top. Make sure that he is on a leash to provide a sense of security. Also, a leash will make sure that your puppy doesn’t fall even when he slides. You can always make sure of that.
To lure him down, take a few steps down the stairs and stand there. Use your preferred method to lure your puppy to come to you. When he can see you in front of him, he will be assured of safety.
In conclusion, if you are wondering whether puppies can climb stairs, the answer is yes. They can indeed learn how to climb stairs. However, if he hasn’t had prior experience with stairs, then you will have to initiate training as soon as you can. We have already discussed the methods you can use to train your pup to climb stairs.
The advantages of climbing the stairs outweigh the dangers involved. I mean, if you are not going to be able to go for intense exercises, you can switch to climbing the stairs. Your puppy will develop strong leg and back muscles from climbing the stairs. Besides, it is fun for a puppy with high energy levels to climb up and down. So basically, you can exercise your puppy without leaving the house!
If your pup has an unhealthy fear of the stairs, it is going to be a little challenging at first. He needs to develop a sense of safety before he can comfortably climb the stairs. Remain consistent with the training routine and ensure that your puppy is healthy.
Be patient with your puppy as it is going to take more than a few sessions for him to climb up and down the stairs on his own. Have you had trouble training your puppy how to climb stairs? How long did it take before he could comfortably walk up and down the stairs?