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3-year old rescue scared of stairs...

(15 Posts)
threestepsforward Mon 31-Mar-14 20:59:40

Hi there,

Can anyone suggest to me the best way to approach this. My housemate and I rehomed a staffie-x yesterday. He is gorgeous!!

He has a beautiful gentle nature and lives for food and cuddles. I'm amazed how settled he already seems.

The problem is he won't go upstairs to housemate's flat. He'll get about 2 steps up and will then dash back to the sofa in my sitting room and tremble sad

I've definitely not pushed it further as he's still finding his feet.

I'm planning on:

- taking him to some outdoor steps on our walk tomorrow to see if it's the actual stairs he afraid or, or if it's because of a bad past issue (I figure if he trots up and down the outside ones, it will most likely be a past bad experience?)

- mum is coming round to ours on Wednesday with her dog, who's he's met twice. We show him her dog going up and down the stairs and see if that helps him - still not doing anything other than gently encouraging him.

Does that sound like a good plan? He doesn't seem mistreated in any other way and he was from the council pound after being found as a stray so there's no past history for him.

If anyone can offer any further advice, or knows that what I plan to do is completely wrong, I'd really appreciate your help.

I feel bad for my housemate as he's 'out of the loop' as it were sad

Early night for me tonight but I will defo check back in tomorrow...


cashewfrenzy Tue 01-Apr-14 00:24:31

I'd get a clicker, some pea-sized pieces of cheese and make myself comfy a few steps up, wth a cup of tea and bags of patience. Ten minutes, two or three times daily, and I bet it's sorted within a week smile

The fact that he'll attempt a few is great.

CQ Tue 01-Apr-14 00:28:40

I used to foster dogs in Texas and most of them had never seen stairs before - a lot of trailers and single storey houses. Never took them long to work them out though! Following another dog up is definitely a good idea.

Maybe in his previous home he was banned from going upstairs and has been beaten for it?

Time & treats will overcome. Good luck - do come back and tell us how he gets on - he looks gorgeous!

ender Tue 01-Apr-14 09:22:22

Coming downstairs may be more of a problem than going up, depending on why dog is scared.
18 months ago my lab slipped and nearly fell coming down and decided he wasn't going upstairs any more. Was fine with outside steps. We did the clicker/treat training and after a few weeks he went upstairs very slowly, but flatly refused to come down, not even for his dinner. Got v upset and poo'd and wee'd on the carpet, eventually 2 of us managed to carry him down.
Perhaps he'll eventually get over his stair phobia but we'll be leaving it up to him.

Floralnomad Tue 01-Apr-14 09:26:58

I agree with cashew ,but wanted to just say that he is very handsome !

threestepsforward Tue 01-Apr-14 14:32:40

Thanks very much for your replies and your compliments <proud mum>

I took the funniest photo today and will post it here later when I've downloaded it!

I took him to outdoor stairs today and he was up and down with no problems. I suspect something along the lines of what you said might have happened CQ sad

So operation Stairs starts now. Going to make myself a cup of coffee and have a read of my kindle, surrounded by the tempting aroma of cheese grin

I'll report back later...

Thanks again everyone flowers

threestepsforward Tue 01-Apr-14 14:33:56

Sorry, Ender, I meant to say your poor lab sad Hope he gets through it soon...

threestepsforward Tue 01-Apr-14 21:04:50

Evening all!

We cracked it, surprisingly easily in the end smile

All it took was a few cheese cubes and a sausage treat from the pet shop and he's up and down like it was never a problem lol

I took this pic of him 'relaxing' in the garden today grin I couldn't stop giggling and he kept raising his eyebrows at me...

While his legs are slightly longer than the average staffie, they're not as long as the appear in this pic!

Thanks so much for you input. I guess I was on the right track but it's always comforting to hear you're doing the right thing, especially with a new dog.

Bye for now
Threesteps x

CQ Wed 02-Apr-14 17:57:07

Blimey that looks uncomfortable!! But clearly he was very relaxed there!

So glad you cracked it so easily. Hurrah for cheese smile

Hope that lovely boy knows how lucky he is to have such a wonderful new home.

moosemama Fri 04-Apr-14 09:37:05

Late to the thread and see you've already cracked it - well done! grin

Had to post though to say what a gorgeous boy he is - such a lovely gentle face. smile

Love the photo of him stretching our on his stomach. I'm constantly amazed at the positions dogs seem to find comfortable to sleep in. grin

We rescued a border collie x boy that had never seen stairs before, many moons ago. Whenever we went upstairs he went into the next room to see where we'd disappeared to - a bit like when they look behind a mirror to see where the other dog is.

threestepsforward Fri 04-Apr-14 11:19:26

Moosemama that made me literally lol grin
Aw, bless him!

higgle Fri 04-Apr-14 14:28:59

He is lovely! so pleased you have rehomed a Staffie type. Now, if you have ever tried to teach a standard dachshund to go up and down stairs, that is difficult!

threestepsforward Fri 04-Apr-14 21:44:25

Hi higgle smile

Is that because they are so long?! Or just a quirk particular to your LD (lovely dog). My dad used to have 2 and they were beautiful friendly dogs, brother and sister...

I've always loved staffies! My profile page has pics of my old boy Fred, who sadly I lost a little while back sad

Truman is so friendly with dogs and people, and SO cuddly! He is going to keep me busy though as he has no recall and has shown separation anxiety the few times and few minutes I've left him (twice this week for no more than half an hour). There were bite marks on the garden door when I got home, poor boy ...

I've been doing lots of reading up to prepare for the challenges ahead grin
And it is going to be a challenge as Fred came to me from Battersea at 2 years old - 100% ready to use, straight out of the box! He always came back, no separation anxiety, sat, stayed etc. I was very lucky!

Have a good weekend all owners and doggies alike smile

higgle Mon 07-Apr-14 16:57:14

Because they are so long - they have to go up sort of sideways. Ours used to like swimming in the sea but because he was so long and narrow you had to watch he didn't get washed out to sea.

threestepsforward Thu 10-Apr-14 23:16:05

Hello lovely wise doghouse-netters smile

Progress report on Truman - he is so so good! SO good, and so easy to train because of his love of food lol. He has recall with the clicker and a sausage treat mastered and he plays like mad with other dogs and comes back as soon as I call most of the time smile

I've a bit of a dilemma as it's only been 2 weeks or so and I have to go away this weekend - didn't want to take him as it will be too much upheaval for him in such a short space of time. He has my housemate upstairs, and my mum is coming to stay with him with her dog, who he loves - so I'm hoping the complete change of scenery, together with the familiar, safe house, will be okay.

I can't change the weekend unfortunately as my bro is over from New Zealand and this is my only chance to see him...

Do you think he'll be okay?

Another question - for the very short times I've left him alone (30 mins max.) he's obviously been a stressed, and I returned to tooth marks on the garden door handle sad I've given him a filled kong when I go out and taken it back when I return, but he's obviously still anxious. He peers out of the window when i'm out - is this okay, and comforting to be able to see out?

I'm struggling with this a bit as my previous rescue was no problem at all when I left him alone...

Does anyone have any advice? He sleeps in a separate room on the sofa (his choice!), so his SA can't be too bad, can it?

Grateful for any reassurance/advice and apologies for the long post blush

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