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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've heard from multiple sources that I should be careful with my 8 week old pup around stairs. They say that repeatedly going down stairs can lead to damage in their joints because the bones are still soft. As a result I've been carrying him down the stairs off the back deck when we go outside. It works pretty well right now because he's not reall sure about the steps and will let me. But, I'm sure that within a week or two he'll be trying to charge down them the way he runs everywhere else, not to mention he'll be getting awfully big for me to carry him.

So my question is, at what age should I stop worrying about the stairs and let him run up and down them?

DH
 

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I would let him do it on his own. I have never heard of going down steps being harmful to a pup.
You do however run the chance of makeing him fearful of steps by carrying him down them.Right now by carrying him you are re enforcing a fear.
 

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Ditto the above! I carried my dog up and down our basement stairs when he was a pup and know he WILL NOT go down those stairs! He lies at the top and whines. I’ve tried LOTS of encouragement, food, normal walking on lead, throwing toys and bumpers and he will just freeze at the top. He goes up and down all other stairs but not the ones I carried him down!:oops:
 

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DH said:
I've heard from multiple sources that I should be careful with my 8 week old pup around stairs. They say that repeatedly going down stairs can lead to damage in their joints because the bones are still soft. As a result I've been carrying him down the stairs off the back deck when we go outside. It works pretty well right now because he's not reall sure about the steps and will let me. But, I'm sure that within a week or two he'll be trying to charge down them the way he runs everywhere else, not to mention he'll be getting awfully big for me to carry him.

So my question is, at what age should I stop worrying about the stairs and let him run up and down them?

DH

It is important to "teach" dogs to handle stairs. All too often that gets left out of the socialization skills puppies need to learn.

I've always taught pups to go UP the stairs first. They need to learn to not fear them, then they will look at them as one step at a time. I've not had a problem teaching pups on long stairs, like those we have going down to our basement...BUT only going UP a step at a time.

If you have steps that are enclosed, and shorter, it would be the best way to begin, like your back deck. Ours was open steps, and that seemed to be a mental block for a time. So we learned on the long stairs coming up from the basement. Only after they have learned to climb all the way up on their own, do I start having them go down a long set of stairs.

After they have been proofed on your stairs, find a long set of open stairs for them to learn on. It's quite perplexing to have to take your dog up a flight of open stairs, like you might find at some motels, and have them balk because something about them is scary. So teach the variety of all stairs during it's socialization stage, and as soon as it reaches enough size to hop up and down on them.

Good Luck

UB
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, thanks I'll stop carrying him. He has no problem going up any stairs I just never let him try going down them because I had heard it could damage their elbows.

Thanks a lot.

DH
 

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I actually begin training puppies in litters as soon as they are big enough to to reach up to the top of the next step (typically 4-5 weeks) since I had the experience of a dog that was afraid of stairs and don't want to be sending out pups who share that problem. However, I am very careful not to let the pup near steps where a fall could be harmful. That's the real area you need to watch with those young joints.
 

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DH said:
Ok, thanks I'll stop carrying him. He has no problem going up any stairs I just never let him try going down them because I had heard it could damage their elbows.

Thanks a lot.

DH
That fear is more for dogs jumping off the back of a vehicle, as they come out of their kennel or box. I too am cautious when training a pup under a year old. I don't lift them down off the tailgate, but I sorta assist them to land on all four, so they don't get the full jolt of landing on their front legs.

Like you, I think the landing on their front legs from a vehicle height can be detrimental to their joints, and will show up as they age. I don't think that's the case from going down stairs, if taught properly.

UB
 

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Donna Kerr said:
Ditto the above! I carried my dog up and down our basement stairs when he was a pup and know he WILL NOT go down those stairs! He lies at the top and whines. I’ve tried LOTS of encouragement, food, normal walking on lead, throwing toys and bumpers and he will just freeze at the top. He goes up and down all other stairs but not the ones I carried him down!:oops:
I had the exact same problem - dog would race up and down any other stairs, including open risers, but the on steps I carried him up and down he was freaked out. Took a loooong time and a lot of positive reinforcement (and some treats) to get him to handle those steps...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for setting me straight folks. Just got home and a little whislting and clapping had him running down the back stairs in no time.

DH
 

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I got tired of getting pups that were fearful of stairs and other things so when we had our first litter I put steps , tunnels, decoys, and all sorts of things in the whelping area and every one of those pups were the most confident adjusted pups I have seen, the owners raved about how bold these little pups were Ahh I miss the lil boogers
 
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