Phobias can develop in dogs all of a sudden and for no clear reason. They may become scared walking over wood or concrete surfaces for instance. A common phobia that develops in many dogs is a fear of stairs. As with any phobia that inhibits leading a normal life, fear of stairs needs to be corrected by desensitizing your pet to the object.
For lots of people, if a dog has a fear of something, the problem has come from some bad experience of the dog. And though this could likely be the case when the dog has been adopted, it is quite unlikely when you have had the dog from its birth. For instance, you might be sure that your dog has never had a bad instance with the object it has grown fearful of.
If your dog has developed a fear of stairs as its phobia then you need to take some steps to correct the problem. A great way to remove this fear from the dog is to buy some portable dog steps, which, dependant on the size of your dog, should have 3-5 steps at most. Once you have assembled the steps, let your dog examine and sniff them. Because the stairs are far less intimidating than your house’s flight of stairs, your dog will likely feel no such fear towards them.
The first thing you should do with the steps is to lean them against your bed or the sofa. These are places where the dog usually jumps up on so he is more likely to climb the dog stairs here. Now place a treat on the first step and when your dog takes the treat give him some praise. Follow this procedure with the remaining steps up to the top, never forcing him to climb the stairs and always praising him for climbing a step. This form of positive reinforcement is particularly beneficial to the dog when they are fearful of something. Thus, it should be the method of choice to resolve your dog’s fear of stairs.
After you have managed to get your dog onto the last step, place a treat on the furniture that the steps lead on to. This method should be continued for a while so that your dog can get used to climbing up the steps. You can then apply the same technique with your home’s stairs. Again, commence on the first step by placing a treat there, and then gradually placing treats on each sequential step, giving the dog praise for each step he climbs.
The logic behind all of this is that your pet will realize that there is something good for him for every climbing the stairs, which should cancel out the original fear that the animal had acquired. After you have carried out this method for a while, you’ll find your dog going up and down the stairs free of his original fear.