How to Train a Dog to Walk on Stairs

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Training dogs to walk on stairs is best done when they are a young puppy, but using treats on each step is a great way to get a dog of any age to climb the stairs. Introduce stairs to puppies so they will adjust quickly to the new experience with tips from an experienced pet trainer in this free video on dog training and behavior.

Part of the Video Series: Dog Training Information
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Video Transcript

How to train a dog to use stairs. This is something that some dogs are very nervous about. Ideally before your dog is four months old they've been acclimated to all sorts of different things including stairs. Because this is the time dogs seem to be able to accept new experiences most easily. Kind of like we learn how to speak different languages best before we're three years old. So before your dog is four months old, while they're still a puppy you want to make sure and get them out and have them experience lots of different things. However once you encounter stairs many dogs are intimidated because it's so much different than what they've seen before. So you want to work slowly and patiently with a lot of whatever your dog finds reinforcing. So you would initially ask your dog to come up onto the first step and then give them lots of treats as soon as they put the first paw on the step. And let them go ahead and do what's most comfortable to them which in this case is probably to back off of the steps. Then you would work on that a few times and once your dog seems to have that pretty down pat and they're coming right up and putting their feet on the steps then you would ask them to come up the next step. To come down the steps you might sit down a step or two from the, just from the very bottom. You're at the bottom of the stairs, your dog is placed just above you one or two steps and then encourage your dog to come down the steps giving them lots of reinforcement for doing so. This is something you would never want to drag your dog up or down the stairs because that usually just increases their fear and makes it more difficult for them to accept this thing in the future. So if you work slowly and patiently giving lots of reinforcement staying very calm. Only working maybe at 5 to 15 minute intervals so that you don't get frustrated and your dog doesn't lose interest you should be able to concur this fear fairly quickly and then you'll be amazed to find that your dog is just racing up and down the stairs with no problem at all.

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