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Using a stair gate

(13 Posts)
PengAly Thu 20-Dec-18 12:07:46

Hello, we are due to bring our retired greyhound home in January grin now im aware he will most likly not be able to use the stairs so we have bought a baby gate to block off stairs initially. This is simply for his own safety as we wouldn't want him attempting the stairs and injuring himself-specially when we are out. BUT we do want to teach him to go up and down the stairs as we would want him to have free roam of the house but only when we are there.

How can i teach him to go up and down stairs with a stair gate in the way? Will it cause issues with him tripping over the bottom or not knowing to go through it even if we hold the gate open? Apologies if im over thinking this...

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PengAly Thu 20-Dec-18 16:34:37

Anyone have any advise please?

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Inforthelonghaul Thu 20-Dec-18 16:45:04

We have an older dog, also a leggy breed, who has always had the run of the whole house. Now though she has real trouble coming downstairs safely and has fallen a couple of times. We have had to take the decision to restrict her upstairs access to just bedtime and she’s is only allowed to come down with someone holding her collar.

I have come to the conclusion that it would have been better to restrict access from the start as we can’t explain it to her so do give it some thought. Stairs can be slippy, long legged dogs don’t always find coming down easy and it puts a huge strain on their legs too and when they fall it’s absolutely horrible.

MyGirlDaisy Thu 20-Dec-18 16:51:27

Do you have any sets of steps near you, such as steps to the beach, pedestrian road bridge, steps in a supermarket car park? If you do I would see how he gets on with those. Our Greyhound never attempted our stairs when we first got him and we didn’t have a stair gate but he did stand and cry at the bottom of them after a couple of days of him sleeping downstairs at night as we went up to bed. DH decided he needed to know where we went at night so we put his collar and lead on and encouraged him slowly to try them. We have dog leg stairs in three bits if that makes sense and after a couple of attempts he cracked it, he now sleeps upstairs every night! He goes up and down steadily. I don’t know if we were just lucky and I have to say with the Greyhounds I have known they are not jumpers unless running after a squirrel in the woods so he may not even think about trying to jump a stair gate. Mums lurcher on the other hand jumps 5ft from standing and throws herself up and down the stairs on a regular basis. Hope that helps.

MyGirlDaisy Thu 20-Dec-18 16:53:59

Cross posted with @inforthelonghaul who makes a valid point about stairs and older dogs. I do wonder what will happen at night if a time comes when he can’t manage the stairs.

Inforthelonghaul Thu 20-Dec-18 17:05:45

MyGirlDaisy it’s heartbreaking when they just can’t manage and don’t understand the change. And to have to suddenly restrict them when for years they’ve been able to do as they please causes anxiety too. It’s not something we gave a thought to when she was an agile puppy.

PengAly Thu 20-Dec-18 17:12:57

Some really good points here. I think my biggest fear is him attempting stairs when we are not home and hurting himself which is why we are putting a stair gate up. But on then other hand a part of me likes the idea of him coming upstairs if we are (such as on a lazy sunday morning or when DH is gaming in his "man cave") maybe we could keep the gate on and teach him to use the stairs so maybe he would learn they are restricted unless invited or is this too complex for a dog?

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MyGirlDaisy Thu 20-Dec-18 17:13:26

Inforthelonghaul yes I can imagine it must be really hard because they are dogs who like company and as you say they don’t understand. I have to say we didn’t think about it long term either but definitely worth thinking about for any future dogs we have.

PengAly Thu 20-Dec-18 17:29:59

Maybe we can keep upstairs as an invite only zone? If the stair gate is always on then he wont go up when we arent there and if we are staying upstairs then we can bring him with us? But the gate would be at the bottom of the stairs

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MyGirlDaisy Thu 20-Dec-18 18:14:25

Yes, think that could be worth trying, if you want him to sleep downstairs I would avoid inviting him in the evenings as it may become a habit, bless him! Very exciting though, I am always saying it on here but they are the most wonderful dogs!

PengAly Thu 20-Dec-18 22:15:35

Thank you! We will stick to the stair gate and only have him come up and down with us. Im also wondering if he would struggle to climb the one step that has the gate on? As the bottom of gate could be a tripping hazard iyswim

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MyGirlDaisy Thu 20-Dec-18 22:32:50

They are quite careful with their feet, when my boys were younger and had Lego on the floor our dog would pick his way though without stepping on it. I think your dog will be able to navigate the bottom stair with the gate on he will probably just step over it. Good luck with him sounds like he is going to have a great home.

PengAly Thu 20-Dec-18 22:42:15

@MyGirlDaisy thank you smile he will be our first dog and we have plenty of love to give him!

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