Helping a Dog Get Over a Fear of Using the Stairs

By: David Codr

Published Date: November 26, 2019

For this Omaha dog training session we worked with Odin, a 1 year-old Smooth Coat Collie, helping him learn how to use the stairs.

I had worked with Odin’s family before. They had called me in to help with a Blue Heeler who was anxious around young kids. Many people are unwilling to accept that they may not be providing a dog with what they need. Although they loved their dog dearly, the youth of their children meant that the dog would be anxious for a long long time so they were unselfish enough to let us help find him a new home that he is thriving in.

As if the universe wanted to repay them for their unselfish act of love, Odin made his way into their home. His energy was perfect for the family and he had no problems with the kids playful and exuberance energy. His only issue, a fear of using the stairs.

I have helped many dogs get over a fear of using the stairs. Some dogs are afraid of steps due to a bad experience and that was the case for Odin. Being blind in one eye didnt help either.

I have found that a great way to help a dog get over a fear of going up or down stairs is to use something they dog wants more as a motivator. Usually its not being left behind. You can learn how to help a dog get over being scared of using the stairs in the free positive dog training video below.

At first, we had to lift Odin up onto the stairs and manipulate his paws a bit. The dog’s fear of the stairs initially caused him to stop moving, but with some patience and a lot of encouragement from his family, it didnt take the dog long to start going up the stairs (mostly) on his own.

The hardest part of helping this dog learn to go up the stairs was getting him started. I had to life Odin’s rear leg onto the first step. Once I did, he did the rest on his own. Coming down is usually harder, but he had no problem with that.

I recommended the guardians repeat this exercise 5-10 times in a row a few times a day until Odin is going up and down the stairs on his own. Based on how much progress we made so quickly, Im betting Odin’s fear of steps will quickly be a thing of the past.

To help his family remember the other tips we shared in this in home Omaha dog training session, we recorded a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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