View Full Version : Fear of stairs!

1st July 2008, 04:44 PM
Sparky is scared of our stairs!

He goes up no probs at all & when we first got him I did not encourage this at all - when we have our saturday lie in I used to allways carry him up & down again, now he's just as quick up the stairs & onto my bed as Cass is.

The odd thing is that he rarely gets off the bed - if he wants to get down or go out he stands & cry's at the end of the bed & we carry him downstairs. When we go down stairs Cass goes down no probs at all & Sparks gets to the top of the stairs & wiggles & then barks & refuses to go down, ive tryed going down ahead of him on my bum but he runs away & looks terrified. I know since I have had him that he's not fallen or anything on the stairs as they don't have access to the stairs apart from when I take them up so I don't know what the problem is - it's very odd to me that he won't even follow Cass down & he follows her everywhere!

Barbara Nixon
1st July 2008, 06:55 PM
Lie on your tummy, at the top of your stairs, and look down. You'll see a near small dog's eye view and be very surprised that most risk the journey.

1st July 2008, 09:41 PM
When we go to Scotland - our cottage has an open staircase that Willow (once quite confident) lost his confidence on and remained at the top.

We picked him up and put him on the first step down - then walked downstairs. A few goes later and a couple of days and he had got his legs back!!

Bruce H
2nd July 2008, 01:25 AM
I wouldn't worry too much, that's pretty typical of Cavaliers. They always go up much easier and sooner than they go down. I thought Barbara's description of what a dog sees from the top of the stairs is great!

I am the one here who usually works with our litters getting them used to stairs before they go to their forever homes. I always start them out going up the stairs using a treat. That usually takes no time at all. Once they are going up, then I start working with them going down. What I do is get on my hands and knees on the stairs (below him), with the puppy at the top. I then hold the puppy with both hands and guide him down the stairs, always keeping him above me and praising him the whole way. Then it's just a matter of continuing to do this until he starts gaining confidence. As he gains confidence, start letting him start doing it on his own, always staying below him in case he looses his footing. It might surprise you how soon he will start going down on his own.

2nd July 2008, 01:33 AM
I've had adult rescues very nervous of stairs too if they have never been introduced. They learn fast and in their own time. As Bruce says using treats will help. Alsoo try working with him just on the last few steps where it isn't as daunting to go down head first.

2nd July 2008, 03:20 PM
Ohh thats a good idea, trying the last few steps, that might not be so fightening for him!

I'm going to lie on the top of the stairs tonight & see Barbara - think 'll do that befoer Mark comes home or he'll think Ive totaly lost it!!

amanda L
2nd July 2008, 04:51 PM
Our little rescue boy was very scared of stairs too.
We did exactly as Bruce and Karlin says, and it worked, he's no longer afraid of stairs, in fact, he's the first up to bed at night and first down to the kitchen now to get his breakfast in the morning, compared to my other 2 cavvies :p

2nd July 2008, 05:54 PM
unfortunately i don't have any good advice other than what other have said. just wondering if anyone else has had a situation similar to my problem with our chihuahua..... she will go up and down the stairs from the main level to the upstairs and will go up and don the stairs next to the bed, but she will NOT go down the stairs into the basement. its a finished basement that we spend a lot of time in and she loves to be down there when we bring her down, and she will go up the stairs to leave the basement, but she will NOT come down by herself. if she goes halfway up the stairs and stops, she will come back down, but she won't take the first step down from the top stair. we have tried making sure the stairs are well lit and they are carpeted so she won't slip. but she just won't take that first step by herself. and it's only on that one staircase. any ideas or similar problems anyone?????

3rd July 2008, 11:23 AM
It must be scarey looking down them stairs,i didnt let Alfs go down on his own till he was at least 6 months old.I was so worried he would fall.