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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

We just brought our newly adopted dog home. She is SUCH a sweetheart and she and our other dog seem to be getting along very well.

She lived most of her life outdoors and has apparently never had experience with stairs. We live in a multi-level home and we even have to go up stairs to get to our front door. We tried luring her up the stairs with food, but she would have none of it. And we obiously don't want to drag her against her will.

It's only her first day and she's got a lot to process. So we're not too worried about it. But I'd love any advice you might have to teach her about stairs.

Thanks!
 

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I train stairs by baiting each step with a tasty treat then walking away and letting the dog make up his own mind.
 

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We brought home a 7 month puppy who had never been exposed to stairs.... He was so timid that first week, and wouldn't go up. Well, the first day we left him alone behind a baby gate, and when I got home...he wasn't in the laundry room! Guess who was upstairs? So he figured it out pretty quick when he really wanted to. Going down was another story. He'd just stay at the top and wait to be brought down. We did the lure him down with treats for a while, but it didn't really work for us. After a few weeks, he just got it on his own.... just be patient, it will take a while, but he'll get it---whether you teach it to him or not.
 

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I "showed" him how to go up a few of them, then said "let's go" and started walking up. He figured it out pretty quick.

Same thing coming down (that was a little harder for him to figure out, but he got it and now goes up and down stairs without a hitch.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone. Mayzie learned how to do the steps! She does them verrrry slowly and you can tell she's a little uncertain, but I can't believe how quickly she learned!

Of course, now she's afraid of the hardwood floors and will only walk across them if I have her on a leash. (I don't force her to walk across them. Apparently she just feels more secure on a leash.)

She's such a good girl and wants so much to please. I know all this stuff that's "new" to her is going to take some time. But we'll get there!
 

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Thanks everyone. Mayzie learned how to do the steps! She does them verrrry slowly and you can tell she's a little uncertain, but I can't believe how quickly she learned!

Of course, now she's afraid of the hardwood floors and will only walk across them if I have her on a leash. (I don't force her to walk across them. Apparently she just feels more secure on a leash.)

She's such a good girl and wants so much to please. I know all this stuff that's "new" to her is going to take some time. But we'll get there!
I would keep her on the leash also and just praise her for walking around on the floor. Make it a "training session" just her walking around on the floor and getting praised and rewarded. Wally used to hate blue panels on the ground outside (hard to describe without a picture) and would freak out stepping on them. Hated the sound and everything. What I did was take him on the leash, make it so he had to step on it to stay with me, and praise him when he did. Then I'd just walk around doing that over and over (and over and over - rapid repetition works well for him to get it in his head quickly) until he showed no more hesitation/anxiety about it, then we had a play/chase session, and that was it - no more walking on them for that day. Didn't take as long as I thought, and now he'll walk on them, lie down on them (they're our "down-stay practice points" now), and not care about them.

If she does well with the leash on, I would try with the leash off. See if she'd follow you on even without the leash, even just a step or so. Praise her when her paws hit the surface. Try to encourage another step, and so on. Don't force her of course, but even a few successes over time can add up. Get a few steps from her then go play or big food reward, whatever you do to reward her. Wait a little while (10-15 minutes) and try again, see if you can get the same results from her, just a few steps. If you do - try for another step or two.

And so on and she'll get the feel of it. "Good things happen when I step on this weird ground" - that's when you've succeeded.

Nice work getting her to learn stairs. Good luck with the floor and everything else. Hopefully, my ideas will be of some help.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
KBLover - Thank you SO much for your input! Before she was taken into rescue a couple of months ago, she had lived outside her whole life (and in not very good conditions). So inside things are very scary to her. She's like a whole different dog when she's outside.

I'll do what you suggested and try to make it a fun game for her. I have to remind myself to not feel sorry for the "poor little rescue dog" and coddle her. I feel like if we treat her like a "normal" dog, eventually that's what she'll become.

I wish you could have seen the look on her face when she came up the stairs this morning. It was like "Look what I did!" Almost like she was proud of herself for conquering the big, scary stairs. Made me feel so happy. :)
 

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Yeah, I know the feeling. Wally is/was a very fearful dog. He never had fear aggression, but he would run/be anxious and scared of anything unusual. At least she has a comfort zone. She likes outside - might give you a great way to reward her for a good session. Wally wasn't comfortable at all - although he did (and still does) like outside more than inside, at least until a noise or stranger or kid or dog showed up.

I had to tell myself not to coddle/give in too much to his fears and anxiety. That's how I got my back stiff and got him to learn stairs. I just got tired of carrying him and thought "what if he was a medium sized dog? what would I do then?"

I love that look. I just got done with another training session trying to teach him to speak. He did REALLY well, giving me about 30 straight successes. At the end he stood up on his hind legs, grinning at me and "dog laughing" while pawing me. I love it when they feel so good after pleasing us and when you can just see how happy they are about fulfilling a challenge/task. :)
 
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