Should My Small Dog Use Dog Stairs to Get on the Furniture
All dogs are undoubtedly perfect, but each has their own unique needs. This is especially true when it comes to the size of your pup. Whether you are chosen by a small lapdog or a gentle giant, it's important to understand how their size will affect your dog's health needs. So does your small pup need a set of dog stairs, and if so, when should you start training your dog to use them?
Should Small Dogs Use Dog Stairs to Prevent Injury?
Smaller dogs may think that they can take on a lion, and they may even try if that lion is threatening their person, but that isn't always the case in reality. Their little bodies are frailer than bigger breeds, and this means you'll need to take special precautions when caring for them.
The American Kennel Club reports that dog stairs are a great way to help your small pup get on and off the couch without getting hurt. It's also useful for getting in and out of the car. This is especially true for dogs with short legs, like Corgis and Dachshunds.
Ramps are another option if your dog is older, and is having mobility issues. It keeps them from having to step up, as they merely waltz up the ramp like they're doing their turn on the catwalk. Except it should be called a dog walk because dogs actually like to go on walks, unlike kitties.
According to PetMD, small dogs can benefit from either pet ramps or stairs. In this case, it really depends on how much room you have. Pet ramps for beds may be easier on the limbs of older dogs, or large breeds like Mastiffs and Great Danes. Stairs give you more room, however, as you don't have to clear as much space for your dog to use them effectively.
When Should You Start Training Your Small Dog to Use Dog Stairs?
We wouldn't go so far as to say the sooner, the better, as there is such a thing as being too young. Puppies have a lot going on, and many are still learning to walk without wobbling. It may be incredibly cute, but until they can romp and play without tumbling about, training them to walk up and down stairs needs to wait.
According to Pet Spruce, about 12 weeks is a great time to start. This gives your puppy time to get used to walking around on solid ground before you start throwing something new at them.
Can Your Dog Jump off the Couch Safely?
Younger dogs probably won't have an issue jumping off the couch, especially if it's lower to the ground. This will obviously change as your dog begins to age, or has been injured. If this is the case, then pet stairs will definitely help your bestie remain fitter for longer.
In the meantime, it's always good to be proactive. More than one dog has been injured jumping off the couch, especially if they decide to dive-bomb off the back when they see the mailman coming. It's important to get to him before he can escape after dumping all those bills off, after all.
Smaller dogs may seem like they have tons of energy, and seem to enjoy bouncing off the bed and chairs, and anything else they can leap off of, but this can do a lot of damage to their joints. According to FitBark, they may be damaging their joints and bones every time they jump off. This can be accumulative, and may not be obvious just how much they're hurting themselves until they finally get a major injury that not even they can ignore.
Pet stairs can help alleviate this by helping them get up and down safely.
How do you train your dog to stop jumping off the couch?
The best way to stop an unwanted behavior is by training them to do something they are allowed to do and proving them with lots of treats and praise in the process. In this case, using steps is a great way to stop them from jumping on their own.
Wag recommends that you use rewards as a way to train your dog. Preferably something they don't get often, coupled with lots of enthusiasm, praise, and pets.
Start out small, especially if your dog isn't used to steps. This is especially true for hyperactive little dogs whose sole goal in life is being by your side. You don't want them to get hurt while training, after all.
Start by placing the treat on the first step. The idea is to get your dog used to stepping up to get the treat. Practice on this first step until they are comfortable, and then move on to the second. After that, keep them moving upwards until they are on the bed or couch with you.
Going back down should be treated as a separate training session, and should only occur after they have mastered climbing up. Start at the bottom with the first step. Simply place them on that step, and then leave a treat on the ground that they need to climb down to get. Once they get this, move them up a little higher, and have them climb back down. Make sure you let your pup know exactly how awesome they are for mastering the steps.
Should you use dog stairs if you sleep in bed with your dog?
This is always a great idea. Your dog may need to get up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water or patrol the area to make sure those sneaky kitties aren't trying to steal their toys. Having stairs by the bed will give both you and your dog peace of mind that they can get down and back up on their own.
If your dog has trouble seeing in the dark, then light strips can help provide them with light without being so bright that it's hard to sleep.
Should puppies avoid dog stairs?
Puppies already have a lot on their plate when it comes to training. They need to learn to potty outside, not nip while playing, and of course barking at the bunnies outside. It's hard being a puppy. So do you really want to start training them on stairs when their plate is already full?
The answer to this is yes and no. Climbing stairs, whether it be specific to climbing up on the couch safely or just stairs which lead from one level to another, is crucial for your dog to learn to navigate. So you should start training your puppy to use stairs.
You don't want to start them too young, however. Puppies should be at least 12 weeks old before you start training them to use stairs. This gives their bones time to develop, and your puppy has gained some coordination by this time. If you start too early, you may be setting your puppy up for arthritis as they age.
Finding the right stairs will set your pup up for success. When you're ready to start shopping, we've got a great selection of stairs and other doggy products that they'll be sure to love. Check out our site to learn more.