how can i get my dog to not be afraid of going down stairs?


My dog just over a year old has been going up and down the stairs of my home since she was weeks old on her own. The other morning was so excited for breakfast that she missed the last two steps and hit her back paws (as she’s done many times before). She was not injured. Now she sits at the top of the stairs and wimpers after some time she eventually comes down on her own. I have tried to give her treats (she’s very food motivated) to get her down. I’ve tried calling her excitedly. I’ve even tried firmly telling her to come down. Nothing seems to work.

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    9 Responses to “how can i get my dog to not be afraid of going down stairs?”

    1. Alexis says:

      bribe her with her favorite thing or things

    2. Steve E says:

      Well I would carry her down and put her on leash and with about a hundred pea sized high value treats like liver or chicken I would hav e her go up one step and come back down. Then do it over and over10-20 times. then up 2 steps and down 20 -30 times and then up 3 steps and again 20-30 times. Hopefully you dog can handle this if the dog is showing too much stress I would stop early and give the dog a break maybe you will have to have only 2 minute training sessions. Anyways after a day or 2 you could have your dog going up and down hundreds of times and hopefully this will counter condition the dog to like the stairs again.

    3. Amanda Brooks says:

      I would carry on with what your doing, maybe try walking her up and down a few times (it may take quite a few time) in a nice calm way to show her that if she takes her time she won’t hurt herself, with a nice foody treat when she gets to the bottom.

    4. Chris says:

      I think over time she will get over it. My dog use to be scared to go down the stairs now he darts down them every day with no issues.

    5. Georgi Himchev says:

      First thing that comes to my mind is that all pets have good memory of a painful occurrence. I think that your dog will be ok in a few days just with some time passing by.

      I suggest you motivate her to go down the stairs like it is something normal of her to do. You don’t need to give her treats, just show her that it is ok to go down stairs. Try to play with her a game that involves going up and down the stairs and cheer whenever she does it.

    6. Caroline says:

      If it were me I’d put her on a leash at the top of the steps, have some treats ready, and just walk down the steps calmly with her (hopefully) following. Calling her from the bottom with a variety of tones probably just confuses her and doesn’t help her get past her fear. You basically have to teach her to walk down the steps all over again. Good luck.

    7. Livi says:

      Maybe try putting her on a lead and gradually leading her down.
      It will take a lot of patience, just keep encouraging her.

    8. SOMBODEE says:

      lock her downstairs

    9. elle4pets says:

      My 11 year old Chow had a similar incident with similar results. I bought a doggie ramp and tried that and I had to use real chicken to motivate him to use the ramp with lots of praise and patience. Eventually he went back to using the stairs all on his own.
      Be sure to not inject any of your feelings of "oh poor baby" when trying to get her to go down stairs as she will see this a weak energy and won’t follow it. Be calm, be assertive and keep trying to get her to move forward, maybe use a bit of momentum before hitting the stairs and don’t slow down, you go first down the stairs using a leash. Good luck!