Reluctance to Go Downstairs
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Thread: Reluctance to Go Downstairs

  1. #1
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    DefaultReluctance to Go Downstairs

    One morning a few weeks ago, my 5.5 year old Maddie would not come down the stairs. She'd been jumping around the day before chasing bubbles in the yard, so the vet suggested she was stiff. I got a neighbor to help me bring her downstairs using a towel around her belly as a harness. I kept her away from the stairs for a couple of days, and things returned to normal. Then, yesterday afternoon, she started showing the same reluctance to go downstairs. She has no other symptoms of arthritis or hip dysplasia. She still jumps on the couch, bed, and into the car, runs around excitedly and is has not slowed down on walks. When comtemplating the stairs, she puts her two front feet on the first stair but then is desperately afraid to go any further. Her back legs shake at the prospect and her heart beats wildly. I can't tell if she is afraid or in pain. Our stairs are hard wood, and we've taken steps to have a runner installed, but that's still weeks away. Any thoughts or suggestions as to what may be going on?

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  3. #2
    TangerineFizz is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Reluctance to Go Downstairs

    She could just be stiff as you've suggested, or she may have developed a fear of them for some reason. Has she fallen down them or slipped on them or any other stairway recently?
    Me, Abzilla and the Helomonster.

  4. #3
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    DefaultRe: Reluctance to Go Downstairs

    We just got back from taking Maddie to the vet, and the vet found no evidence of pain or irregularities with her hips, and indicated that sedation is necessary for x-rays. Given no other signs that Maddie has dysplasia, the vet suggested we not undergo x-rays right now unless there is another reason to sedate her. All we can imagine is that Maddie took a spill while we were gone and is now afraid to go down the stairs at all. Blah!

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  6. #4
    TangerineFizz is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Reluctance to Go Downstairs

    Quote Originally Posted by mastergardener
    We just got back from taking Maddie to the vet, and the vet found no evidence of pain or irregularities with her hips, and indicated that sedation is necessary for x-rays. Given no other signs that Maddie has dysplasia, the vet suggested we not undergo x-rays right now unless there is another reason to sedate her. All we can imagine is that Maddie took a spill while we were gone and is now afraid to go down the stairs at all. Blah!
    Well, glad to hear that there is nothing more "serious", at least physically that is. I bet that once you get the runners installed, she'll be fine again.
    Me, Abzilla and the Helomonster.

  7. #5
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    DefaultRe: Reluctance to Go Downstairs

    I think you have already answered your question. I think that the hardwood makes her question her footing on the stairs. Oona, who is 6 1/2 started the same behavior at your dog's age. How is the lighting in the area of the stairs? Just to make sure this is only in her head try and find a stairway outside and see if she has any trouble going up or down them. Make sure you can't see through the stairs, like basement stairs, (Oona won't' go up or down anything she can see through.) Once you know she is OK don't carry her, this just reinforces her fears. Put her leash on have her stand next to you and give a little tug up on the leash and say, "Come!" and start walking down the stairs. When she gets to the bottom give her praise and a treat.
    Olie

  8. #6
    cinderbay's Avatar
    cinderbay is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Reluctance to Go Downstairs

    have you considered it might be her vision?
    Kim

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