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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'd like to make sure we're all on the same page in our household before pup arrives, and I'm getting some "differing opinions." Hoping all you helpful folks can clarify a few things:

1) At what age can puppy be taught to use the (carpeted) stairs with supervision (vs carrying him up and down)?
I say after the pup is 3 months old and very slowly/carefully to ensure no falls and to protect those joints.

2) At what age can puppy be allowed to jump up and off of the sofa?
I lean toward being conservative re growth plates, so I say after one year. Until then, I want to buy dog stairs so pup can safely walk up and down to the sofa. Is that silly, and pup can just jump down as long as he can jump up?
 

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From ShamaPapa:

No expert, but I think both size and age need to be considered in these situations. Her Majesty was a very tiny pup and even full grown is still very petite. She still needs to be careful going up stairs. If she goes too fast she sometimes will stumble by missing the jump to the next step.

She doesn't always clear the distance to get on the recliner or sofa either. It is just a long way for her "littleness" to jump even though she is almost seven now. The other evening she attempted to jump into my lap to watch TV with me but didn't quite make it. I felt her front claws go into my leg and heard her back legs scrambling to get a hold and pull herself up. I saw the panic in her eyes and quickly scooped her up (got a big sloppy kiss for that). We have pet stairs all over the house now to make it easier for her to get up to locations she likes. So just be aware that if your puppy is on the smaller side for the breed that may make a difference as to how soon they can do stairs, jump on beds, or jump on sofas, and how much observation may be necessary.
 

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Someone mentioned once a general guideline along the lines of, if they are tall enough to climb up with two feet on the ground, it’s okay to jump off of it. I don’t know if that’s true, but Sundance has a long body and he could do stairs pretty easily. The problem was that Sundance LOVES to run up the stairs at top speed to the hallway where we like to play. Our stairs were gated anyway for potty training, so that helped, the goal was more to prevent him from running up and down multiple times a day and to keep him off of the carpet unsupervised. The sofas we had at the time were really low so furniture wasn’t an issue. Sundance was also more cautious and when he was a young puppy and for a long time he didn’t try to jump down off of the sofa, and he’d ask to be picked up. When we had to be more careful is when he was older and more confident and wanted to jump off our higher bed, around a year old. I think Sundance was easy with these kinds of things. Without much effort he could jump over any of our gates, he is athletic and can jump really high, but he doesn’t seem to realize it and I’m okay with that! We had more trouble when he was recovering from an injury than we did when he was a puppy, and in that case we were able to control the environment.
 

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I'd like to make sure we're all on the same page in our household before pup arrives, and I'm getting some "differing opinions." Hoping all you helpful folks can clarify a few things:

1) At what age can puppy be taught to use the (carpeted) stairs with supervision (vs carrying him up and down)?
I say after the pup is 3 months old and very slowly/carefully to ensure no falls and to protect those hips.
This is not so much a hip issue as a front end and back issue. That is where they are putting all the pressure, and it is on the way down, not on the way up. It also depend to a great extent how MANY steps. If I had a step or three beteween levels, I would certainly be PRACTICING it by 16 weeks. (12 weeks might be pushing it, especially iff it is a small puppy)

2) At what age can puppy use the stairs unsupervised?
I'm not sure if there's an exact age, but only when pup proves to be very confident and capable. Or is there a specific age?
Again, it depends. On size, physical dexterity, "wildness" of the puppy, length of the stairs and where they are going. If you have a couple of steps between levels, as long as the puppy isn't a "launcher", I would say, as soon as you feel that the puppy seems very secure on the stairs, IF the bottom is well padded. WE have 5 steps down into our back yard, and this was a problematic number and placement, especially because they end in a cement pad at the bottom, and Ducky (and previous puppies) have been "launchers". If he was calm, he would nicely try-trot down the stairs into the yard. If he was excited, he would launch off the top step! We solved the problem in the medium time by puuuting a soft rubber pad on the cement at the bottom to keep him from landing on that! But he got carried until he was about 5 months.

As far as full flights of stairs, there are several risks. The first is a full-length fall can happen, and can do SERIOUS damage to undeveloped joints. Second, would you allow a puppy unsupervised access to ANY carpeted area before a year or so? I wouldn't! And I ESPECAILLY wouldn't allow them unsupervised access to a floor of the house that I wasn't currently on. WAY too much possibility of getting into trouble... with or without the danger of the stairs. So, IMO, stairs should be blocked off until the puppy is WELL over a year old. BUT the puppy should be climbing them, in both direction, WITH SUPERVISION, well before then.

(Honestly, our upstairs is permanently gated off, because Panda thinks she is "Goldilocks", and "unmakes" EVERY bed in the house if she is allowed up there unsupervised! :ROFLMAO: 🤷‍♀️

3) At what age can puppy be allowed to jump up and off of the sofa?
I lean toward being conservative re growth plates, so I say after one year. Until then, I want to buy dog stairs so pup can safely walk up and down to the sofa. Is that silly, and pup can just jump down as long as he can jump up?
Stairs will not help. They will give your puppy access to the couch, and then in his excitement, he will TOTALLY forget about them and jump down. They will only give him access to the couch earlier than he could get up there by himself. The safest way to handle it is to only allow SMALL puppies onto the couch when YOU put them up WITH you, and YOU put them back on the floor. For a while, they won't be able to get up there on their own anyway.

Once they can get on by themselves, you have a couple of choices. Some people are of the opinion that they should never be allowed to jump off furniture. Others feel that they should not be allowed to jump off until they are over a year. I believe in breeding the soundest animals I can, and being REASONABLE cautious about raising them. However, I also won't wrap them in cotton wool. Once they can jump up on a piece of furniture, I will let them jump off. AS LONG AS they have a safe landing. (IE, a rug, not a hard tiled or slippery wood floor. Now that is NOT the same as CLIMBING to the BACK of a sofa and jumping off! I would NOT allow that! I alsoNE VER ask my young dogs to do repetitive jumping or weaving efforts in sports. Again, that is completely different. But single jumps on and off things in play, with secure landings? I think well conformed, athletic animals should be able to handle that. YMMV.
 

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Our rule of thumb is they can't jump off anything they can't jump up on. By the time they can jump onto a sofa, it's not only okay for them to jump down, but you're probably not going to be able to keep them from jumping down all the time.
 

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IMO jumping up and down from high places is very stressful on a small dogs joints. Whether this results in an acute injury, a repetitive type injury or contributes to arthritis in old age, I would prefer to avoid any of these scenarios. Regular exercise is critical but the high jumping and big flights of stairs are something I would avoid, especially for dogs on the smaller side, those who have extra long backs which are more prone to back injuries, and those who have conformity issues that could increase risk of injury.
 

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Taking a very cautious approach with stairs and jumping up onto a sofa was something I read about very early on before Toffee even came to live with us. I always carried him up and down the stairs if he needed to be in the upstairs office ( working from home during Covid). He slowly gained confidence going upstairs but was then ’stuck’ at the top because he seemed to intuitively know coming down was a whole different ballgame. We ’taught’ him how to come down slowly and carefully. He can now beat me to the top of the stairs even when I get a head start. He gets on and off the sofa easily but only learnt how to get up on the back of the sofa last month. The sofa is up against the front window sill and there’s no way he could fall off the back. It’s his favourite place to be ‘nosy’ and watch the world and everyone go by!!🥰
 

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IMO jumping up and down from high places is very stressful on a small dogs joints. Whether this results in an acute injury, a repetitive type injury or contributes to arthritis in old age, I would prefer to avoid any of these scenarios. Regular exercise is critical but the high jumping and big flights of stairs are something I would avoid, especially for dogs on the smaller side, those who have extra long backs which are more prone to back injuries, and those who have conformity issues that could increase risk of injury.

For sure any dog with conformation issues should be handled with more caution, and probably a consult with your vet.. And "high" places, DEFINITELY should be avoided for any small dog. IF they can't get up on it (in a single jump, NOT climbing!) they should not be allowed to jump down off it, and then, only onto good footing. Even if they DO have good conformation!

...AND... Ducky is exceedingly "springy" HE can jump onto things that even at 13 months tomorrow, I would not let him jump OFF of!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I’m so glad I asked because it sounds like putting stairs next to the sofa would be the wrong thing to do - and would likely result in a puppy jumping down. Good to know- removing the stairs from my shopping cart. :) Pup can jump up (and down) when’s physically able to do it all on his own - and pup will always have a soft landing.

Pup will not have unsupervised access to other levels of our home without a person with him for a long time. I’ve taught many a dog how to use stairs but not a toy breed. My definition of unsupervised meant at what age can you walk up/down WITH the dog (but not in active ’catch’ mode like when they’re learning) in terms of their joints in case a trip occurs.
 

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Pup will not have unsupervised access to other levels of our home without a person with him for a long time. I’ve taught many a dog how to use stairs but not a toy breed. My definition of unsupervised meant at what age can you walk up/down WITH the dog (but not in active ’catch’ mode like when they’re learning) in terms of their joints in case a trip occurs.
I think you will know when they are steady and capable on the stairs. I think FALLS are most likely to happen when they are blasting around like crazy maniacs. You are not going to let them do that when they are WITH you! I am SURE you would interrupt that behavior, and tell them to settle, or pick them up if they didn't! I don't think we can give you a specific chronological age. It's sort of, "you'll know it when you see it! If you are unsure, wait a few weeks!"
 

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What I will say to this is that if you think that at any time you might not want them jumping down from things then work on that from day 1. Perry falls into the "not conformationally sound" and probably shouldn't be jumping ... BUT for us right now it's a quality of life issue for us - I can stop him from jumping but it would require basically keeping him crated and very tightly tethered to me (and even then I have a hard time stopping him from jumping). I've discussed this with the vet and we are in agreement - and all the work we're doing to get his leg solid are aimed around NOT having to restrict him. IF I had known this might be a major issue I would have tried to restrict him from day 1 (maybe not successfully) but at this point in time I am not prepared to restrict his quality of life to potentially extend his life longer. So it may become a trade off that you have to consider.

That being said, I know that mudpuppy has been very successful at training hers to not jump - but it's not something that would work for us.

As a starting point though I would suggest (in addition to all the good suggestions above) NOT trying to coax them to jump on the couch/ off, etc. and try as much as possible to get them into a habit of waiting for you to pick them up to get off the couch.

Perry does think about jumping off the back of the couch but he has gotten into the habit of waiting for me to get him (when I'm in the room) - we've made it part of our zoomies game - he'll zoom around the room (bouncing on and off the couches) and often will end standing on the top of the couch, I take him down and zoom him again :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks all! We are very comfortable letting our dogs up and off the sofa - just wanted to check on the appropriate age for this smaller breed. I am going to buy a rug for one room though - thinking about trying Ruggable which is supposedly machine washable.
 

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When Mia was 7 she had what was diagnosed as an IVDD episode. Prior to that time, both Mia and my yorkie were huge sofa loungers. Once a dog has IVDD, it is recommended to never again allow them to jump on/off furniture or do stairs. Otherwise, there is a huge risk of this happening again. Since that day Mia and my yorkie have never done furniture jumping or stairs. Mia will be 14 in a couple months and has never had another IVDD episode. As an added benefit of not jumping, my yorkie who has a luxating patella that was getting worse almost never does his little luxating patella skip anymore. I sometimes wonder how many dogs with luxating patellas wind up with CCL tears because of jumping and doing stairs on an unstable knee. They say a luxating patella increases the risk of a CCL tear yet many dogs with luxating patellas never get a CCL tear so not sure. Although IVDD is not that common in Havanese, luxating patellas definitely are.

I thought it would have been super hard to prevent them from jumping but it wasn’t. I did block the sofa for quite awhile until they got accustomed to lounging elsewhere. I made sure they both had very comfy sleeping areas right near the kitchen and great room very close to where we are. Once they got used to not going on the sofa, they never even tried to go up there anymore even when it was no longer blocked. They seem to be content with just being near us. Once in awhile they will sit by the sofa and want to be picked up to sit with us but rarely.

My husband and I are not big sofa loungers and are rarely on the sofa except for a couple hours in the evening so maybe that helped. We tend to hang out at the kitchen table where we have comfy cushioned chairs.

If I ever get another small dog, I will do my best to discourage jumping and flights of stairs from the beginning.
 

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Thanks all! We are very comfortable letting our dogs up and off the sofa - just wanted to check on the appropriate age for this smaller breed. I am going to buy a rug for one room though - thinking about trying Ruggable which is supposedly machine washable.
I bought Ruggable for my daughter’s room for her vanity area. It washes really well, even makeup washes out, so I think they’re great. I’m not sure I’d like it in my main living area because it’s more of a flat weave and not plush. I did consider it but they don’t come in big enough sizes. It’s not uncomfortable, I think it’s just personal preference. I have DD’s over carpet so no additional pad (aside from the one that goes with it) but if it’s okay to use ruggable with an additional rug pad (I haven’t checked to see if it’s compatible), I think a nice, thick rug pad would really make it in a family room.

My hands down favorite rug is a Dash and Albert polypropylene (I think, it’s recycled?) rug and I love it so much. I like it more than my more expensive wool rug. Like any other rug, if pee were to really soak in I’m sure it would retain a smell since it’s synthetic, but Sundance peed on it once as a puppy and it sort of beaded up, and I was able to rinse out the little bit it absorbed and spray it with enzymatic cleaver. It doesn’t feel scratchy or plastic-y at all, it looks and feels almost like a cotton rug. Sundance once grabbed a paintbrush with navy blue chalk paint on it and ran to the rug. He left little blue footprints on it and a big paintbrush mark and they washed out. I machine wash the small matching kitchen rugs they always look great but my dining rug doesn’t fit in a washing machine. i spray it with diluted oxyclean and water and then rinse it in the shower about once a year and it looks brand new. The only down side is I can tell when Sundance’s nails get too long because they do snag it sometimes. I can usually pull the loop from the other side to fix it, but it still looks good with a few small dog related imperfections. I would use one in my family room in a heartbeat, and probably will if my current rug wears out.
 

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I have flat weave eco cotton rugs from Hook and Loom. They are not thick but supposedly the flat weave rugs are better for pet nails. They are washable. Although they are not plush, they do feel plush when I put a rug pad underneath. I am very picky about rugs and rug pads because these can be the most toxic things in our home. It was very important to me that they not be treated with any chemicals or flame retardants. I have been very happy with the rug and pad. If I did not have pets I would probably buy one of their plusher rugs but with the pad this rug is plush enough for us. They are also reversible.

Flatweave Eco Cotton Rugs - Hook & Loom

Earth Weave Rubber Rug Gripper | Gimme the Good Stuff
 

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I have flat weave eco cotton rugs from Hook and Loom. They are not thick but supposedly the flat weave rugs are better for pet nails. They are washable. Although they are not plush, they do feel plush when I put a rug pad underneath. I am very picky about rugs and rug pads because these can be the most toxic things in our home. It was very important to me that they not be treated with any chemicals or flame retardants. I have been very happy with the rug and pad. If I did not have pets I would probably buy one of their plusher rugs but with the pad this rug is plush enough for us. They are also reversible.

Flatweave Eco Cotton Rugs - Hook & Loom

Earth Weave Rubber Rug Gripper | Gimme the Good Stuff
I like those! They are a lot like the cotton ones from dash and Albert. If I do switch out the rug in my family room I’ve considered doing the cotton version but for such a large rug I don’t know how I would clean it as easily. The synthetic is great for under the dining table, we’re too messy for anything else there.

We tend to lounge and sit on the floor so I go back and forth on more of a plush rug. What I have right now is cheap won’t last indefinitely but the upgraded rug pad makes a huge difference, especially to sit on. Sundance likes to lay on it, and it is under the legs of the sofas so he jumps off of the sofas onto them instead of the hard floor. I don’t worry about the furniture too much because he’s not small for a Havanese, but I’ve tried to take it into consideration since he did have an injury, and consider the future and age. I also have a lower bench/ottoman/footstool type thing I used as a step after his injury, but I wouldn’t want to use it with a puppy. I didn’t encourage my puppy to climb up and down from the sofa on his own because of potty training more than anything.
 

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I like those! They are a lot like the cotton ones from dash and Albert. If I do switch out the rug in my family room I’ve considered doing the cotton version but for such a large rug I don’t know how I would clean it as easily. The synthetic is great for under the dining table, we’re too messy for anything else there.

We tend to lounge and sit on the floor so I go back and forth on more of a plush rug. What I have right now is cheap won’t last indefinitely but the upgraded rug pad makes a huge difference, especially to sit on. Sundance likes to lay on it, and it is under the legs of the sofas so he jumps off of the sofas onto them instead of the hard floor. I don’t worry about the furniture too much because he’s not small for a Havanese, but I’ve tried to take it into consideration since he did have an injury, and consider the future and age. I also have a lower bench/ottoman/footstool type thing I used as a step after his injury, but I wouldn’t want to use it with a puppy. I didn’t encourage my puppy to climb up and down from the sofa on his own because of potty training more than anything.
Size is definitely something to consider if you want to wash one in your own washing machine. My washer will only hold sizes up to 5x8.
 

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I bought Ruggable for my daughter’s room for her vanity area. It washes really well, even makeup washes out, so I think they’re great. I’m not sure I’d like it in my main living area because it’s more of a flat weave and not plush. I did consider it but they don’t come in big enough sizes. It’s not uncomfortable, I think it’s just personal preference. I have DD’s over carpet so no additional pad (aside from the one that goes with it) but if it’s okay to use ruggable with an additional rug pad (I haven’t checked to see if it’s compatible), I think a nice, thick rug pad would really make it in a family room.
It is my understanding that Ruggable is coming out with pile rugs too. I only saw it in passing, because we have orientals. I love our rugs, and we either inherited them or were gifted them... but I sometimes wish we had rugs that could be tossed in the washing machine!!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have flat weave eco cotton rugs from Hook and Loom. They are not thick but supposedly the flat weave rugs are better for pet nails. They are washable. Although they are not plush, they do feel plush when I put a rug pad underneath. I am very picky about rugs and rug pads because these can be the most toxic things in our home. It was very important to me that they not be treated with any chemicals or flame retardants. I have been very happy with the rug and pad. If I did not have pets I would probably buy one of their plusher rugs but with the pad this rug is plush enough for us. They are also reversible.

Flatweave Eco Cotton Rugs - Hook & Loom

Earth Weave Rubber Rug Gripper | Gimme the Good Stuff
I am also really picky about rugs and chemicals... Have you tried putting your Hook and Loom rug in the washing machine? How did it do?
 
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