Simple Ways to Teach Your Dog to Use Dog Stairs

4 min read
Simple Ways to Teach Your Dog to Use Dog Stairs - Animals Matter, Inc.

If you have an older dog or one that is too little to hop up next to you, dog stairs or dog ramps may be the perfect answer. There are good reasons to give your pooch a helping hand, whether they seem to need it or not. But it doesn't matter if dog stairs are the perfect solution for your beloved companion if they won't use stairs.

If you can't seem to get your dog interested in their new stairs, don't give up. With a few training tips, some tasty treats, and a dose of patience, you can teach your dog some new tricks, so they can use this helpful tool.

How to know if your dog needs dog stairs?

Dog stairs can be a lifesaver for many pups, and they may benefit from them earlier than you'd expect. Here are some of the best reasons for pet parents to consider using them for their dogs.

Older dogs with painful joints

Dog stairs give a pooch with arthritis a gentle way to climb up and down with less stress on their achy joints. As their pain increases with age, many dogs don't like being picked up, so dog stairs help them to go where they want to with less discomfort.

Little dogs

In an enormous world, dog stairs give little dogs a hand up. If your small pooch has easy access to higher surfaces it spares you from the work of always lifting them up or down. It also reduces the risk of them injuring themselves from jumping a long distance for their tiny bodies.

Prevents damage

A sturdy set of dog stairs not only prevents injuries but also cuts down on cumulative damage from years of jumping. The repeated impact from landing on hard surfaces increases your dog's risk of joint damage, especially in dog breeds that are prone to these problems, such as labs, dachshunds, and golden retrievers.

How do you teach your dog to use dog stairs or dog ramps?

Of course, your dog doesn't understand that the stairs are there for their benefit. They may not want to have anything to do with this new, strange object. But you can teach your pooch to use dog stairs with a little time and some tasty treats. Whether you're working with a new puppy or older dogs, try these training tips to get them comfortable with their new stairs.

  1. Give them some time to get used to the stairs or ramp. Leave it in a room the dog spends time in, and let them explore it without any pressure. You may want to put a few treats or toys on the lowest step to encourage them to check it out and give them a positive association with it.
  2. After a day or so, place the dog stairs beside a piece of furniture they like to spend time on. Sit at the top of the stairs, so they're interested in getting up to you.
  3. Put a treat on each step of the stairs.
  4. When the dog takes the treat from the bottom stair, praise them and give them another treat, even if all four paws are still on the floor. Your dog loves to please you, so this shows them that using the stairs makes you happy.
  5. As your dog moves up the dog stairs, praise them and give them treats every time they get to a new step.
  6. When they get to the top, reward them and spend some time with them, giving them attention. They'll start to understand that the stairs lead to good things.
  7. To help them learn to go downstairs, repeat these steps in reverse, sitting at the bottom of the stairs.
  8. Continue until your dog is comfortable with the process, slowly reducing the number of treats.

How long does it take to teach your dog to use dog stairs?

Most dogs will pick up the skill pretty quickly, but exactly how long it will take depends on how much you work with your pooch and their temperament. Some dogs will pick it up the first time, while others need several training sessions to figure it out. Most dogs will learn to use the stairs in one to two days.

If your dog takes longer to learn, don't worry. Dog training simply takes longer with some pups. Be patient, and keep trying. Just remember that dogs are very sensitive to their owner's moods. If you start getting upset about their lack of progress, they may interpret that as a negative message about the stairs. Keep trying, but make sure the approach is positive.

If you find that your dog isn't very motivated by the treats, try using toys instead. Some pups will stand and stare at treats, but will happily clamber up the steps for their favorite toy.


Why won't my dog use the dog stairs?

A fearful dog may simply be scared of this new thing in their environment and need some time to get used to it. If they are older dogs with very painful arthritis, walking up steps may put too much pressure on their joints to climb stairs. In this case, a dog ramp might be easier for them to use.

What are the benefits of using dog stairs?

Dog stairs make it easier for small dogs and dogs with arthritis to move around. They also protect dogs from injuries and spare their owners' backs from the strain of picking them up frequently.

What are the differences between dog stairs and dog ramps?

Dog stairs are just like they sound, a series of steps for your dog to climb. Dog ramps have an incline instead of steps, so dogs don't have to raise their paws as high to walk up. Our companion ramp features a foam, scalloped tread to provide traction so your dog doesn't slip.

If you are looking for a high-quality dog ramp or stairs, we invite you to browse our collection. They're made with careful attention to detail, so you can be sure they are sturdy and easy for your pup to use. For more information, contact us today!

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