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Ok I have a bit of a problem I've been putting off for a while, maybe somebody can help me.  I live in an old colonial house, the bedrooms and office are upstairs and the rest of the house is downstairs on the main floor.  The stairs to the bedrooms are hard wood and insanely steep, my wife and I are always afraid of falling down them ourselves.  They really don't come out very far, like each step has barely enough room for one foot, otherwise I would put carpeting over them but I'm afraid it will make them even tougher to go down.  The problem is I was so worried about Oggie having an accident that I would not allow him to climb them from the very beginning when we got him.  And he likes to come upstairs because thats where he sleeps and also I work from home so my office is upstairs and I'm there much of the day.  Well I basically had to carry him up and down, which wasn't bad when he was a puppy, but he's seriously getting too heavy at this point.  I can do it no problem but I feel like my knees and backs are taking a pounding.  

Now its at the point where I don't know if he won't climb the stairs because I taught him not to, or because he's scared.  I've tried to take him and put him on the stairs and hes just terrified.  The thing is when he's at other people's houses, he goes up and down stairs no problem.  Admittedly I just think these stairs are too dangerous but maybe I'm being overprotective.  Is it possible to have stairs that are too dangerous?  I am sure I can stick with the training and get him to do it but part of me doesn't know if I should.  

I know this is a weird problem but any suggestions?
 

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I would maybe try coaxing with food and just reassuring him that its ok, bc I know duke is way to big for me to be carrying up and down stairs.  I would suggest that once he gets use to them that you make him go down first in front of you bc I have been knocked down the stairs bc my dads dog started running down to fast behind me and took out my knees.  Im sure that if he wants up stairs bad enough he will do it.
 

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Lol yeah I tried giving him treats each step and he just stands there on the steps like a deer in headlights.  And going down forget about it, hes terrified.  Then I'm thinking well maybe his instincts are telling him these really are too steep and dangerous and I should re-think this...
 

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We had this problem with Duke....Our basement stairs are just like that, steep and they are really short.  There isn't really anything downstairs right now but we want to finish it and make it a family room.  Well Duke was terrified of going down them...he would go down any other stairs but not our basement stairs.  What we did was I went to the bottom and coaxed him down....called his name, helped him a little bit and then did the same going up...When he went down them he got a treat and the same going up.  It took like a half an hour but he finally did it.  It does take a lot of time and patience though.
 

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We have a similar situation, hardwoods and not very big steps.  Cassius never hesitated to fly up and down, though he makes me a bit nervous on the way down and usually launches two steps onto the landing and launches off that the last 2 steps.  Just make it a positive experience, praise/reward, and take it little by little, literally step by step.  The only motivation our pup needed was us being upstairs and him downstairs.  Oh and I second the thought about making sure you clear the way when he comes down the stairs.  I know that people say that humans should be first through doors and stairs with the dog behind, to remind him who's boss but that rule goes out the window if the dog can't slow/stop when he comes barreling down because there's no good grip on short hardwood steps.  I've also started looking at small, almost mats, for each step with a rubber backing that won't slide, just adds a little more grip without taking away width of step.
 

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I think Oggie will be fine with a little coaxing. You may need a drink or two to get over the fear of him going downstairs.  :lol: I rescued Maddie when she was 16 months, and I really don't think she knew what stairs were. When we brought her home, she would run around the 1st floor, no problem. When someone went upstairs she would whine, and run back and forth but not go upstairs. After about an hour, she finally followed me upstairs, no problems. Going down the stairs was another issue!  :lol: She sat at the top of the steps for over a 1/2 an hour. I finally told the hubby to go get her and carry her down or I would. Well, after that argument was over, I went and got a few pieces of cheese. I went upstairs and just started placing the cheese one step at a time. After about 4 steps she finally just kept going down by herself. Now she thinks the stairs are her own Indy race track. She scares the crap out of me how fast she tears down them. Looking at her from behind, I could swear she is going to do a front flip all the way down!  :?  I have a total of 17 steps, and I think she hits 4 of them on the way down. She's a freak! My stairs are probably no where as steep as yours, but I think Oggie has just learned that you will do the carrying and he doesn't have to attempt the climbing. I would just go slow with him. Lots of treats and praise and I'd be willing to bet within an hour he will probably be king of the stairs!  :)
 

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He might even sense your nervousness when you are carrying him and think it is something to be afraid of.
 

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kiahsmom\";p=\"105261 said:
He might even sense your nervousness when you are carrying him and think it is something to be afraid of.
I think this is possible......I would think maybe for everyone if you could use something on them....We had to "fix" my grandmothers steps in her older house and they also were steep and narrow....they were also wood and were very slick...not the kind you would want to just be wearing socks on....We...took a clear poly paint and added that sand mixture in so that when it dried they were "non-slip"....it helped alot....

I think Oggie probably senses there is something to be afraid of either for himself or picking up on your feelings...

Since falling down steps can lead to broken legs, jaws and hips from what I have seen in the past...I would say yes there are some stairs that are just to steep! Some dogs are pro's at it because they either dont think twice about it or have been doing it since they were little....I would not try to make him do it....Going up is usually fine...its going down that is the trick....:)
 

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We don't have hardwood stairs, ours are carpeted. Ace never hestitated one little bit. It does always make nervous too! Especially when he books it downstairs and then flies off the steps at the bottom. I even put an ottoman in front of the stairs to discourage him from going up. Well that didn't work!! He sees it as a hurdle to jump over on his way down! Sorry I'm no help! But I do understand the concerned mommy part!
 

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You might use his leash see if that makes him feel more secure.  Plus if you are worried about him falling down them you guys can both take it slow.  That way you know he isn't going to go running down them and fall.  

With Duke he doesn't like anything in his way especially on the way up the stairs.  he will wait till i'm up and then come up them.  He has to get a running start for some reason!? I don't know why.  Just see what works and watch him, if you don't want him going up and down at his lesure then maybe you can put a baby gate in front of it so you can monitor when he goes up and down.
 

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This is only a suggestion, but have you checked out those stick on strips you can afix to each riser edge?? They are kinda like the things you stick to the bottom of your bathtub to prevent falls, but are long and may give him some "purchase" on those paws as he climbs, or decends. Of course they will help YOU also in case the carrying goes on..( my back HURTS thinking about doing that! )
I also know when Ashley was smaller..she learned by example of another dog doing it without fear. Her little "cousin" Shelby ran the stairs, and then would go back down and seemily encourage her till she reached the top. I don't think any amounts of treats or coaxing  from me would have worked better..I guess she just SAW another dog do it..and though it was ok!
Borrow a friends fearless dog and see if they wil climb for you..maybe it will help, but like Sharon is stating..God forbid the fall if it occurs!!
I get this mental picture of Oggie riding in one of those chair things that help the handicapped to the top of the steps.."Oggie is KING OF the WORLD!!"
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone, some really good opinions and ideas.  I am going to look into something to improve the traction on the stairs and see how it is. I think I might just have him stay downstairs until then.  And good point about how he senses my nerves about it, I'm afraid I'm going to fall myself!
 

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I know this may seem kinda out there, but since you are also worried about falling down the steps, is there any extra room to kind-of redo them? ya know, the staircase itself.
 
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