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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2013, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Annoying

Ivy is almost 13 weeks now and does something I find annoying. She tends to be a bit "grumbly" and I definitely know when she is bothered by something. I'm fine with that.
However, we have a side split house and to get from the kitchen to the family room you have to go down 5 steps. Ivy can't go down these stairs and needs to be carried. I often go down the stairs with stuff in my hands and go back to get Ivy. She wants to come down and join us yet growls and backs away when I try and reach for her. It really annoys me that she is telling me "Don't pick me up" but at the same time she needs/wants me to.
I've tried leaving her there and pretending I won't get her when she growls, hoping she'll not growl when I come back and try again (because she whimpers that she wants down). But she growls and backs away again and really, I only have so much time and can't spend all day doing this back and forth game.
Any suggestions? Should I lure her with a treat?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2013, 04:53 PM
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You should address her issues as soon as you can. Train her to do the stairs.

Having a traumatic experience while climbing stairs could certainly cause
a dog to fear them. Other traumas that could cause a fear of stairs include
slipping, falling, or being injured on them. More common reasons for a
dog's fear of stairs, however, are a lack of previous exposure, lacking the
motor coordination to navigate the stairs successfully, perceiving the
staircase as visually overwhelming, or simply having an instinctive fear
of heights. Fear of climbing stairs can also be due to joint-related pain; if
you suspect this might be the case or your dog is a senior citizen, a vet
checkup is in order. you live in a split-level home or take your dog to public places, a fear
of stairs can be problematic. Fortunately, it is one of the easier canine
fears to conquer. Because most dogs' fear involves climbing down, we'll
focus on that aspect.
Preparation
Food will be used as a lure and as a reward, so have extra-special treats
on hand. Slices of hot dog, cheese, or bits of boneless boiled chicken are
all excellent choices
Be sure there are no objects near the stairs such as statues or potted plants
that could be knocked over, or things on or around the stairs (such as
kids' or dogs' toys) that could cause your dog to become startled, slip, or
fall. Years ago, when working with a client's stair-phobic dog, I did no:
realize that the upright air purifier, which sat on the lower landing, w;s
not as heavy nor as solid as it appeared. The session had been going welL
We had progressed to the point where the dog was enthusiastically
climbing down the entire staircase from the top step—until she happened
to bump the air purifier, which fell over and startled us all. Fortunately,
after moving it aside we were able to convince the dog to continue, but it
could have caused a real setback.
Stairs without a Care
Rather than placing your dog on the top step and expecting her to navigate
the entire staircase, you will be asking her to climb down a single step at
first. As long as she remains comfortable, steps will added one at a time
until she is happily climbing up and down the stairs without a care.
Read through the following instructions before you begin. As always
take your time, watch for signs of stress, and proceed at a pace at which
your dog is comfortable.
Stand with your dog at ground level, at a distance from the stairs that is
comfortable for her. Toss a treat on the floor a foot or two away from you
and say, "Get it!" Act and sound happy and enthusiastic, as though this
is a fun game. Repeat a few times, moving a few inches closer to the
staircase with each repetition, until you are tossing treats on the floor
right next to the stairs. Do a few repetitions.
Once your dog is comfortable taking treats at ground level next to the
lowest stair, it is time to take the first step—literally. Stand a few feet
back from the stairs. After your dog has eaten the last treat from ground
level, without pausing, toss a treat on to the lowest step and say, "Get it!"
Allow your dog to take the treat. Then call your dog (in a happy voice, of
course!) and reward her for coming to you. (Alternately, if your dc ;
knows touch, ask her to return to touch your hand. To teach the skill, s^;
Chapter 16.} Repeat a few times. Then, without pausing, toss a treat on
to the second step and allow your dog to take it. Again, call her and
reward her for coming. Repeat a few times. Depending on the size of
your dog, she may not actually have to climb any steps to take the initial
treats; that's fine. As you progress, she will have to use one paw, then
two, then eventually her entire body in order to reach the treat.
If your first session involves only three steps, that's fine. The goal is not
to get your dog to race down the entire staircase in as short a time as
possible, but to leave her with a positive feeling about the stairs. Do
short, daily practice sessions that end on a good note. Begin the subsequent
session a few steps below where you left off. If at any point your dog
balks and will not move, go back to a level at which she was comfortable,
do a few repetitions, then end the session.
troubleshooting
If your dog refuses to climb the stairs to take the treats, assuming her fear
of stairs is not extreme:
gently lift your dog on to the bottom step. (If your dog is too heavy to
Lift yourself, engage the help of a friend with whom your dog is
comfortable.) With your dog on the step, stand back and enthusiastically
call her to you. Use a high-pitched, happy voice; try crouching down and
opening your arms. If necessary (and your dog is food-motivated), try
Bartering a few treats near your feet. Since navigating the lowest step is
not so frightening and you are being so enthusiastic, it is likely that your
dog will comply. Repeat until she seems confident and relaxed on the
first step, then proceed to placing her on the second step. Stop the session
before your dog has conquered just a few steps. Practice in brief, frequent
sessions, building up to her confidently navigating the entire staircase.
Tricks to try:
• Are your stairs carpeted? If not, the slippery surface might be
contributing to your dog's fear. Lay down a runner (rubber or carpet)
temporarily—or permanently, to ensure everybody's safety.
• Do your stairs have risers? If not, that open space between the steps
could be frightening your dog. Tape cardboard to the front of each
step while working through the exercises. Once your dog is
completely comfortable, the pieces can be removed gradually, one
at a time.
If you have two dogs and one is not afraid of the stairs, or you can
borrow a friend's non-stair-phobic dog, call that dog up and down
the stairs. Your dog may learn through example that the stairs are
not so daunting after all.
With practice, your dog will soon be climbing happily up and down the
stairs in your home. But do not assume that means she will be fear-free
when she encounters stairs in other locations. To help her generalize that
all staircases are not to be feared, bring along treats and practice at other
locations. Take the time to introduce your dog to new staircases gradually
as you did at home. You will find that with each new location your dog
will show less and less trepidation, until she will ultimately climb any
flight of stairs with ease

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2013, 05:48 PM
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Another problem besides the stairs themselves may be that many puppies find it intimidating for someone to reach down at them to pick them up and will react by backing away, if not actually grumbling the way she is. Try sitting down on the stairs and see if she'll come to you rather than reaching down at her. I'd also ALWAYS have goodies in my pocket for a puppy. there are SO many "teachable moments" in the course of the day!


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2013, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Ivy isn't afraid at the stairs. She goes up no problem and is learning how to hop down one step.
I agree that I think she is mostly objecting to me reaching up the steps to get her. When we are in the kitchen and I pick her up to go down she groans a tiny bit but there is no growling.
I think she gets tired of being picked up. The kids want to pick her up all the time but I've put a stop to that. She insists on following me around the house and we have gates and stairs to navigate so I think I have to pick her up more often then the average person.
I think I'll make sure I'm not being lazy and just reaching up the stairs to her and go all the way up the stairs and pick her up properly and give her a treat when I do.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2013, 07:25 PM
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if she knows how to do the stairs and isn't afraid, why did you want to lure her. ?? Dogs don't need to be picked up to do anything
If you pick her up and reward her, you are reinforcing her for not coming down the stairs . ??? When a dog is in your arms , he loses control of his environment.

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Last edited by davetgabby; 10-24-2013 at 08:22 PM.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-25-2013, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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Our breeder told us that he doesn't recommend Havanese do stairs until they are 6 months old. We have been allowing her to go up 1-5 steps and to hop down 1. I haven't found anything on this forum that supports this recommendation but we have been trying to follow his advice anyway.

I don't believe she is afraid at the top of the stairs. After some thought and reading krandall's post I believe she is annoyed that I am reaching up the stairs (I would stand on the bottom step and reach up to get her). I would be rewarding her when I pick her up so she sees that getting picked up I a fun thing and not something she should be annoyed about.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-25-2013, 04:10 PM
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sorry , it doesn't make sense to me.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-26-2013, 11:28 AM
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Rosie was a year old before she tried the stairs on her own. I liked that she didn't go down as my office was on the second floor and she could play in the hallway without me worring about her getting downstairs and out a door. Then one day she decided to follow me down the stairs and she never looked back. My advise would be if you want her to learn the stairs, just leave her at the top and don't look back. She will eventually follow.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-26-2013, 01:20 PM
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I agree with the pup being too young for the stairs.
Only once older did I teach Henry to go down, and I had him do it slowly, even stressing that words in a calm manner while he did it. I did not want him racing down and then skipping the last step.
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