When you bring a puppy into your home for the first time, it’s not uncommon for the little creature to be somewhat intimidated at the prospect of negotiating the stairs. To a small dog, getting up a staircase would seem like trying to climb a mountain and there’s the added worry of not actually knowing what awaits at the top.
Here are some things to bear in mind if you’re planning on introducing your puppy to the stairs for the first time:
The first thing to remember is to be patient. It’s a big step into the unknown for a puppy to try and tackle the stairs, especially if it’s still getting used to its surroundings. There are a number of ways of trying to persuade your puppy to use the stairs but you shouldn’t force the issue, and this is where patience may be necessary.
It may be that you will have to take things one step at a time. Positioning your puppy at the bottom of the staircase and allowing it to climb up onto the first tread is the best way to go. Its natural sense of curiosity may encourage it to climb onto the next one. If your puppy likes to follow you around the house it might be an idea to go up the stairs slowly yourself and see if the puppy follows. Dogs tend to have a much stronger sense of attachment to their owners than some other pets, particularly cats, so they may feel a strong enough urge to follow you, even if it means clambering up those big steps for the first time. Using little noises can also encourage your pet to follow you.
It’s important not to force the puppy to climb the stairs if it doesn’t want to. The puppy will go up once it feels brave or confident enough. It could be that it just needs to grow a little bit before it feels up to the challenge and given the rate at which dogs tend to grow, you won’t have to wait too long before your puppy is bounding up and down the stairs on a regular basis.
When you are training your dog to use the stairs for the first time, it is a good idea to use rewards for good behaviour, so even if it’s just one or two steps, let your puppy know he or she has done good by giving it a little treat.