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How to Teach Your Dog to Use Ramps or Stairs

Posted by Puppy Stairs on 1/4/2016

Congratulations on your decision to invest in Puppy Stairs or Ramps! These versatile accessories will allow your dog (or cat) to reach elevated surfaces within your home, such as the bed or couch. Instead of jumping, which can lead to early arthritis and hip problems, dogs can access elevates surfaces simply by walking up and down. But how exactly do you teach a dog to use ramps or stairs?

Natural Instinct

It's important to note that many dogs will climb up stairs or ramps without any additional training. Dogs have a natural instinct to climb and explore their surroundings. So after placing the stairs or ramps inside your home, be patient and give your dog a couple of days to check it out. It may not happen immediately, but many dogs will begin to climb stairs or ramps on their own.

Setting Up Stairs or Ramps

If your dog is reluctant to use the stairs or ramps, try placing in a familiar location like the living room. Dogs are more comfortable in familiar areas, which should increase the likelihood of them attempting to use the stairs or ramps. You should also make sure both the bottom and top of the stairs/ramps are free of obstruction. If there's a large pillow at the top, it may discourage your dog from attempting to climb.

Use Treats

Of course, there's no better way to teach a dog how to use stairs or ramps than positive reinforcement through the use of treats. Purchase a box of your dog's favorite treats (Milk Bone treats are excellent) and use them the next time you want to train your dog to use the stairs or ramps. Take a single treat, break it up into several pieces, and make a trail leading from the bottom of the stairs/ramps to the top. It shouldn't take your dog long to pick up the trail, at which point they should climb the stairs or ramps while eating the pieces as they go along.

Offer Support

Some dogs, puppies in particular, may be reluctant to climb stairs or ramps, simply because they feel unsafe without any kind of support. You can encourage your pup to climb, however, by placing a hand behind them. If your dog feels your hand against their body, they'll feel more comfortable confident in their climbing abilities.