Living with dogs in a multistory home is challenge to say the least – but your dogs don’t have to suffer. Learn how to train a fearful dog to go down the stairs and back up again without forcing your pet.
How To Carry Dog Down Stairs
Living in a multistory home has many challenges for dog owners, mainly if your dog is big and heavy and happens to be afraid of descending a flight of stairs. As with other things related to dog care, patience is a virtue, and you must give your dog sufficient time to adjust to activity.
Contrary to common belief, stairs are not harmful to dogs, nor will they naturally fall by just using the stairs. However, an untrained dog will hesitate to do so.
Some owners would likely carry their dogs downstairs until the animal becomes used to the activity to save time. You may have some concerns about carrying your pet downstairs because of its size.
The important thing is to know where and how to hold your dog so both of you can safely descend. Stair accidents are severe, and if you don’t know how to do it properly, both owner and animal can be in danger. Below are reminders on how to carry your dog downstairs.
- The most critical part of carrying a dog downstairs is how you hold the animal. Much of the struggle is balancing the dog’s limbs, and your dog has four large limbs with plenty of weight. Your dog will likely sit still, but it’s not going to be easy. Dropping your dog isn’t an option, either.
The safest method of holding a dog is securing both pairs of paws. One arm goes around the two front paws/legs, while your other arm will catch the rear legs from underneath. It’s a lot like carrying a baby on the front.
Another method, if your dog is known for sitting very still, is carrying your dog with its head on the side and both paws on your shoulders. Again, it’s essential to make your dog feel secure. Otherwise, your dog may decide to move, endangering you both as you descend.
- It is also critical to hold your dog at the proper height. Would you please not raise your dog too high up because it would be more challenging to control your descent that way? The safest level is stomach level because it is right where your center of gravity is, and it’s also easier to recover if your dog slips as you carry it down the stairs.
Raising the dog to chest level can make it tougher to balance because your shoulders will be strained. Carrying your dog at stomach level will also reduce the chances of slipping.
- Before attempting to carry your dog downstairs, be sure you have had plenty of practice first on flat ground. If the problem is you can’t get your dog to go downstairs from the bedroom, then you can practice carrying your dog around the bedroom Practicing on flat ground should give you a good idea of your dog’s weight distribution and how much time you will need per step.
Practicing on flat ground will also show how your dog will react to being moved about while being carried. Some dogs are well-behaved if they can walk normally and respond negatively when held close and taken. On the other hand, if you are in a new home, your dog probably feels insecure about the new environment, and this may cause your dog to act out, which makes mobility even more challenging.
How Do I Get My Dog to Go Down Stairs?
The simplest method to get a dog to go down the stairs is by giving treats. However, positive conditioning is long-lasting and can be used for various challenges related to dog ownership.
Affirmative words that your dog already knows should help it overcome any fear or anxiety of descending the stairs on its own. While dogs are non-verbal, they are auditorily retentive, and familiar words of happiness and encouragement should work in encouraging your dog to move down the stairs.
Additional steps that can help your dog include:
- Clear the stairs during practice descents. Any objects on the stairs might distract and prevent your dog from focusing on the task at hand.
- Do not force the dog to go down if you see that it is fearful. Instead of forcing your dog, make a game out of the activity. Dogs are very social, and they love any game.
- A phobic dog will mostly forget that it is afraid if it can follow the owner. The owner is the dog’s entire world, so you are a sure source of reassurance. Going up and down the stairs will have a positive impact on your dog.
- Have a few treats ready when coaxing your dog to take steps. The dog should be able to associate receiving goodies with climbing and descending the stairs.
- The animal’s fear level will largely determine a dog’s performance. The higher the fear level, the likelier the dog will resist initial attempts to use the stairs.
Should I Carry My Dog Down the Stairs?
If you don’t have a lot of time to train your dog in the coming weeks, it’s fine to carry your dog temporarily. However, in the long term, your dog has to learn how to do it by himself. There are many methods to train and encourage dogs to move in a certain way, and you must familiarize yourself with these methods.
Knowledge about basic obedience training for dogs becomes doubly important if you have several dogs at home, and none of them find it motivating to go down the stairs on their own.
Consider the possibility that your dog is afraid of the stairs because it’s something new. Don’t worry if this is the scenario – you can train dogs not to be scared with a bit of patience and love.