Suggestions for getting puppy to walk down the stairs
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Thread: Suggestions for getting puppy to walk down the stairs

  1. #1
    Carol Franklin is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    DefaultSuggestions for getting puppy to walk down the stairs

    Hi All!

    Would love some suggestions on getting Luna to walk down the stairs.

    Luna is 14 weeks old and goes up the stairs no problem. It is coming down, must seem scary for someone who is so short! We have tried using a high value treat/food lure as well as helping her to "walk" down the stairs, not much luck. I would like to help her learn this new skill as soon as possible as 1) we sleep upstairs (and yes she crates overnight in our room) and 2) she weighs 28 pounds and is all wiggle in the morning (as she should be) and I don't want to drop her on the trip downstairs.

    Basic obedience (sit, come, down, stay, etc), crate/schedule, socializing, and potty training (no puddles in the house since Thanksgiving ) are going well. Just wondering if there are any ideas on getting her to walk down the stairs.


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  3. #2
    mpooleman is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012


    My suggestion is that you start off with only one or two steps, if you dont have anywhere that has a couple of steps, you could just place her carefully on the 2nd or third step up and use treats and praise when she comes down. Im sure she will get more confident with age (and size) too. It can be daunting for them to look down a flight of stairs, whereas just a few isnt so bad.

    If she still wont do it then you could try using a block of wood or something to add additional steps (2 small steps instead of 1 big one) until she gets the hang of it, then take it away.

  4. #3
    ImportedfromMichigan is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Washington, DC


    I second mpooleman's suggestion. My puppy also got going upstairs long before going down and it helps to place her down on the stairs with only one or two left to go. As soon as she gets the hang of that, the next morning try 3 or 4 stairs and so on until she's racing you down the stairs.

    Fully expect them to be fickle. We live with three stairs going down to the back deck, which our dog has used every day since he was 8 weeks old. Up and down. But when he got to a full set of stairs it was like he completely forgot that he already knew how.

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  6. #4
    lucylu's Avatar
    lucylu is offline Member
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    Dec 2012


    When I was teaching Lucy the stairs, I stood in front of her and kept a hand on her back to let her know she was safe.
    Lucy 8/24/12

  7. #5
    Carol Franklin is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012


    Thanks everyone for the feedback! I have started on a short (only 3 stairs) flight, however, Luna is still very unsure. Lucylu, I will try keeping a hand on her back to see if that will work.......but I am guessing that it is just going to take time and growing bigger I just wanted to check in to be sure there wasn't some method I was overlooking as it really would be better for 28 pound wiggleworm Luna to go down the stair under her own power!

    Cute picture of Lucy! I think that is the best part of the forum is getting to see everyone's cute lab pictures!

  8. #6
    Gilthanass is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012


    hey, I know this is a little old, but I thought I would chime in.

    River did the same thing. At 10 weeks she could go up the stairs no problem, but when she thought about coming down, got all in a tizzy (if we were standing on the stairs she would run and bark, almost warning us to get off). What did it for us was a stepped approach. We would put her on the bottom stair and block the way up, then she'd go down. Then one stair up, and again. Finally we put her on the second top stair and she went down like a champ. Patting ourselves on the back for a job well done, we put her on the top flight, expecting a triumphant decent! No such luck, she did the EXACT same thing she had always done, approached the stairs, got scared, and ran away barking. We tried luring her to the top of the stairs with treats, putting one treat on the next step, etc. Nothing. Finally in desperation, I picked her up, put her front two paws on the second stair, and left her bum on the landing. She descended the stairs no problem. I did it twice more, first placing her at the top of the stairs (and blocking her retreat) and then taking her front two paws and putting them on the first step. Now (at 12 weeks) she goes down the stairs like a champ. She has a funny method (she kind of looks like a bunny, hopping down one stair at a time), and sometimes will launch herself off the second last stair and kind of roll at the bottom, but she has no more fear of stairs at all. She'll even do our hardwood.

    So, if you haven't already (and if you've already done the "one stair at a time" approach and find that she still won't START going down the stairs) I would try that.

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