Hi all. Since there was another thread about crate training I was wondering if you had any suggestions about dogs and stairs. I’m going to ramble on so I don’t blame you if you tune out and don’t read this.
We have a 5 year-old yellow Lab (Sunshine). She’s a great dog. Doesn’t chew anything that isn’t hers and rarely has accidents in the house (only if she has an upset tummy while we’re out). We don’t need to crate her during the day - she just sleeps on the bed until we get home. She’s awesome except for the fact that she’s a freak with the stairs. She hasn’t always been this way. When she was a pup it took us forever to train her to use the stairs, but once she got the hang of them she was off and running.
Over the last few years she has been fine going down the stairs, but won’t go up them. (I must insert here that we have a foyer and there are 2 sets of stairs from there - one goes up to the kitchen, dining, living and bedrooms and the other goes down to the family room. It’s an actual foyer not like in a raised ranch style home. They each only have 7 stairs).
At first it was only trouble going up the set of stairs from the downstairs part of the house to the foyer. She’d stand at the bottom and whine until my husband or I got up, stand in front of her, then move out of her way and say “get up there” - then she’d run up the stairs. We still have to do this with her. She didn’t have a problem with the stairs going to the upstairs part of the house. This tactic does not work for the stairs going to the upstairs.
Now, it’s worse on the stairs going up. It’s unbearable really. She now spends most of her time in the sunroom off of the foyer because she knows she won’t do the stairs. We can’t even coax her up with treats (unless it’s her dinner, then she’ll run up, but not without whining about it for a few minutes). She used to come up while we were eating dinner, but not anymore. She goes out to “her room” (the sunroom) and lays in her bed. I think it depresses her that she can’t/won’t get up the stairs.
We have doggie doors going to the outside, fenced-in yard, so she can come and go as she pleases when we are home. One door is right at the bottom of the stairs to go up. She crashes through the door, stands with her front paws on the third stair (so she’s half-way up the stairs already), but she won’t just walk on up. It’s ridiculous and we’re at our wits end.
We’ve also been trying to get her to walk up the stairs instead of run up them. She’s not interested.
I think she is OCD, but I don’t know what to do about it. It’s not a problem with her limbs because we’ve had her checked out by the vet. I don’t really want her on medication and my husband doesn’t agree with pet drugs for mental issues. He feels there is something that we should be doing to control this behavior ourselves. Something we are missing. We were/are thinking about getting another dog to see if having another dog who’d use the stairs would get her over this. We would like another dog anyway but we keep hemming and hawing over it. It is another expense that we aren’t sure we want to take on. And there’s always the possibility that another dog would make her worse.
We love her so much but just don’t know what to do. If you haven’t guessed, she’s our baby. I don’t think she’s overly spoiled just really loved. Any suggestions you may have would be most welcome. I’m thinking about writing to the Dog Whisperer. Seriously. It’s breaking our hearts and we miss our old Sunshine.
Thanks in advance.