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Good morning everyone. I really need some help with this one. I purchased a furniture ramp for Noodle to get on and off the couch because, being a dachshund, back problems are something I consistently worry about.

She really seems to like the ramp. She isn't afraid to use it at all. The problem is that she takes "shortcuts." The ramp is placed in the middle of the couch. She will use it if she feels like it. But if it seems easier then she will just take the shortest path from A to B-- which usually means jumping. And every time she jumps, I worry that *this* jump could be one that could hurt her back. I want her to use the ramp ALL the time, dangit!

She seems to use it more for going up than down. I have given her treats for using the ramp and constantly praise her for even *looking* at the thing. It is new, we've only had it a couple of days, but I'm concerned that the appeal of the "shortcuts" will just grow and grow.

Any suggestions?
 

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We have a step for the couch, and one for our bed, where our mini dachshund and dachshund chihuahua mix sleep. We put using the step on a cue and trained it, just as we did for any other command. The first step was using treats to lure them to use the step. Then, we added the cue words "use your step" along with the treats. We did this during our training, in the evenings, or in our spare time. We did it over and over and over, just as we did whenever we taught them any new behavior. Now, we will still occasionally give treats, just on a spontaneous basis, when they do it correctly. If we see them looking like they're going to skip the step we remind them.

Occasionally, if they hear a noise and want to investigate, or if fiance comes through the door, the just hop, but, then we lead them back and have them do it right, to remind them, with a treat!
 
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