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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to do a rescue this week. I have already been approved. The dog I want the most will not do indoor steps, but will do outdoor steps. The foster mom said she tried for 3 weeks to get him up and down steps by luring him with food. She said food has been a great motivator for this dog with everything but indoor steps. This is what I had planned to try. Apparently that won't work, so any other ideas?

She also tried leading him on a leash.
 

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Buddy didn't do steps when we got him either. He just slept downstairs. Then after 2 weeks he got more comfortable and started going up by himself... I guess he was tired of being alone downstairs with everyone else upstairs.

As long as it's not one of those houses where he HAS to do indoor steps, I really wouldn't worry about it.
 

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If the dog is fine with outdoor steps, that indicates the issue is one of fear/uncertainty as opposed to a physical issue like joint pain. Which means you can most likely work on it over time and as the dog adjusts to your house. As long as, like mentioned above, the dog can access the house sufficiently without the steps in the meantime.

If the dog hasn't been introduced to indoor steps anywhere other than the foster home, it is also possible that the design or material of those stairs are an issue; not stairs as a whole. Traction is very important, a dog that slips and slides on hardwood stairs will not feel confident walking on them but might be OK with carpeted stairs. Stairs with closed risers are easier than open risers because they are visually more solid. Outdoor stairs of concrete or wood with traction are generally easier on dogs than open metal grating or slick Trex decking.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all. The reason I would like him to do steps is so he can sleep with us, and I don't have to crate him. I never mentioned this, but apparently, he was crated 20 hours a day before he was given a foster mom..... I don't mind crating when needed, but I feel really bad for this dog.
 

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Thanks all. The reason I would like him to do steps is so he can sleep with us, and I don't have to crate him. I never mentioned this, but apparently, he was crated 20 hours a day before he was given a foster mom..... I don't mind crating when needed, but I feel really bad for this dog.
For a small dog, you might carry him up and down the stairs initially but making sure that he feels very secure in that movement (many dogs hate being picked up as its kinda disconcerting after all).

If he is an adult dog or at least basically past the major chewing stage, you might set up a safe space downstairs using baby gates so that he has more space than a crate but is confined away from dangerous stuff.

For a small or medium dog or a puppy, a VERY large crate could be another middle ground between regular crate confinement and free roam if he isn't upstairs with adult humans.

And depending on the layout of your house, you could consider a few weeks spent sleeping on the couch or a futon or air mattress etc downstairs while he is confined in the same room by door or baby gate.

Basically, gotta be creative :)
 

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I would just see how he does when you guys first bring him home. As someone said above maybe the design or material made him leery to use the indoor stairs. Just be patient with him and work him toward the goal of doing the indoor stairs. My parents have a 20 pound dog that didn't like to do the stairs because they were hardwood floor even thou all the other dogs used them.
 
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