Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden
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Thread: Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden

  1. #1
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    DefaultScared of the Stairs all of a sudden

    Storm is suddenly scared to go up and down our stairs. Has this ever happened to anyone? Any ideas what would cause it or how we can help her? She's never had a problem with it before - it just started this week. And nothing we can do can coax her to come up - usually food will work for anything with Storm but even that doesn't work. My hubby has been carrying her up the stairs the last few days. Our stairs are hardwood - so we're thinking that it might be slippery and hard for her to maneuver. We're going to try and put a little carpet down at the bottom to help give her some leverage to see if that works, but any suggestions any one has would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
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    DefaultRe: Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden

    How old is Storm?
    We had this same problem with Oona last year. I put pieces of carpet down on the steps. You can get them from Home Depot specifically made for the stairs. One thing I've noticed with Oona is she has to be lined up straight with the steps or she won't go up them. I stand next to her with her leash on take a step and give a little tug up on the leash to let her know we are going up. If this doesn't work lead him through the house with the leash and just before you get to the stairs go up them a little faster so Shadow doesn't have time to think about it. Also this is about the time I started giving Oona glucosamine suppliments.
    Olie

  4. #3
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    DefaultRe: Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden

    A very similar thing has happened with Sam. It's not stairs, it's the area that opens into the bedrooms, and has generalized into any openings that look sort of like halls. No idea why. He's come and gone thru those area a thousand times and then all of sudden he won't go. I've moved furniture, opened and shut doors, lights on, lights off, even put down something for him to walk on. Nothing made any difference.
    My advice to you is basically to ignore it. Don't make a big deal. Don't coax. If you want him to go, put a leash on him and walk matter of factly forward. I did this with Sam and after about two weeks he is now coming back into my bedroom on his own, but still avoiding going into the kitchen.
    This began right after I switched him to a new food (Timber Wolf Organics Black Forest) and it does contain glucosamine. Surely there's not some relationship between that?

    Frances

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  6. #4
    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden

    The slippery hardwood can be a problem for them. Who knows? You could try putting down something with some stick to it. What I would probably do is at breakfast or dinnertime, carry her up to the second step from the top and put her down, with her food at the top of the stairs. All she has to do is walk up two steps to get her meal. Then three, then four, and she'll be going all the way up. Then do the same thing in reverse going down the stairs (usually going down is more stressful, for some reason).

    P.S. Also make sure the light is good. Sometimes they get scared when they can't see clearly to the bottom of the stairwell.

  7. #5
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    DefaultRe: Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden

    ??? Twix refuses point blankly to go up ANY stairs, even a few that we come across on our walks, so she has to be carried up those. We have even tried walking behind her and placing a paw at a time up the satirs (Back breaking) but she still refuses to do stairs!! We have no idea why!!! I think the sofa is comfier than her bed!!! ;D

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  8. #6
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    DefaultRe: Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden

    Boy I bet I could make a zillion bucks if I could somehow become a Lab Psychologist but I don't think there is enought training in the world that would teach anyone how to figure out whats going on in a Labs head. ;D
    My vote to solve your problem would be to add carpeting to improve footing. My guess is that she slipped one time and is now affraid of slipping again.

  9. #7
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    DefaultRe: Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden

    Storm is only two, so I don't think its a joint problem. The weird thing is, she has no problem going down, she just refuses to come upstairs. She attempts it but she seems to just run in place. We put down some carpet today, but she still isn't going up.

    We'll try the leash thing tonight to see if it works.

    I'm with you on the Lab Psychologist. If only I could figure out what goes on in Storm's head...then again...it might freak me out - so maybe its a good thing ;D

  10. #8
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    Anne is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden

    Quote Originally Posted by theoconbrio
    What I would probably do is at breakfast or dinnertime, carry her up to the second step from the top and put her down, with her food at the top of the stairs.
    Agreed!

    A year or two ago, Riley found our hardwood floors to be a very scary place to be. I think I am partly at fault because I tried to soothe him...thus, feeding into his fear.

    Like Nathan said, make climbing the stairs a *happy* occurance. From my own experience, it took time, but Riley is now relatively fear free.


    Murphy, Riley, and Piper

  11. #9
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    cinderbay is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden

    I noticed this a few years ago with my girl. What happened with her is she lost her depth perception. She started needing better lighting, footing for the stairs.
    Over time it has progressed much worse, and we had to put carpets and throws from the living room to the back door so she could walk on them. Otherwise, she would stop dead in her tracks when she reached he edge of the carpet.
    Kim

  12. #10
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    DefaultRe: Scared of the Stairs all of a sudden

    Don't mean to scare anyone, but Nick did the same thing at 2 1/2 years. It turned out to be the first signs of extreme hip dyslasia. Not taking stairs is one of the first crucial diagnostic presentations of the disorder. Not taking stairs was the only symptom Nick was displaying, fortunately I have an excellent Vet and she took x-rays. I am in her debt as his HD is being managed with meds. Apparently age is not a factor and pups as young as 5 months have been diagnosed. Like all things, early detection = less damage and more options.

    You may want to check for other indicators:

    Symptoms
    Dogs might exhibit signs of stiffness or soreness after rising from rest, reluctance to exercise, bunny-hopping or other abnormal gait (legs move more together when running rather than swinging alternately), lameness, pain, reluctance to stand on rear legs, jump up, or climb stairs

    Hope your situation is not HD! Good luck.

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