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My 11 Month Old Won’t Go Upstairs Anymore

Discussion in 'Behavior' started by Mack, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. Mack

    Mack Forums Regular

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    Hi! It’s my first time owning a Sheltie and I’m trying to figure out his behaviors. A few months ago we taught him how to go up the stairs and down. We only have four stairs he goes up and down. He can go down just fine, and is perfectly potty trained, sits on command, shakes on command, drops items when told to do so! He refuses to go up the stairs anymore. When he doesn’t go up, we pick him up and carry him. He’s a very lazy, laid back, and soft tempered Sheltie with a little bit of spunk. He only goes up the stairs when there’s a high reward or if he hears someone outside and is running out of fear/escape. If we leave him at the bottom, he just sits and whines or barks. What should I do?
     
  2. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Forums Sage

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    I'd use treats to entice him up until he's going up them on his own without reward.
    It's possible something spooked him and that's why he won't go up on his own (it doesn't take much to spook them).
    My now almost 2 year old Finnie got spooked by my range hood noise and took me about a week or more to get him to stick around and not hide by using lots of treats. Even now if I turn it on it can set him back if I don't have treats handy.
     
    Darren likes this.
  3. Mack

    Mack Forums Regular

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    How should I go about the treats? Just wait for him to come up if I show them to him? Put treats on each stair? Or put them at the top? I know it would probably take repetition. We did it when teaching him the first time. He’s just fully capable of doing it and does it best when he goes up quickly, but now he’s probably spooked and takes it slow, or puts his paws on the first step and backs down. I know that he gets confidence when I’m behind him and just doesn’t want to slip.
     
  4. SheepOfBlue

    SheepOfBlue Premium Member

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    Ignore his barking he wants up and can do it but it is sooooo nice having an elevator. I bet you ignore him for a short time and he will be up there with you all of a sudden.
     
  5. Mack

    Mack Forums Regular

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    I can try it! Thank you. It probably doesn’t help he watches my Yorkie get picked up, so he expects the same treatment!
     
    SheepOfBlue likes this.
  6. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    Given his age I think he is going through an adolescent fear period. Don't get angry with him or push him too much, you don't want to in grain the fear. Encouragement is fine. Why isn't your Yorkie going up the stairs, with you carrying another dog up it may reinforce his fear that there is something wrong with the stairs.

    I'd actually try just doing one or two steps at a time, if you can get him up one step (even putting his paw on one step) giving cheers and a play, but don't push him again. Any movement is a success atm. Too much pressure will make him more fearful, so for now just go for small victories. Stairs are scary for many dogs, esp for a long nosed dog. Remember dogs have difficulty seeing directly in front, but this is esp the case for long nosed dogs who have a different field of vision. Their eyes are further to the side, so they don't see in front, and they also have a different field of vision to other dogs (like your Yorkie) and humans, seeing movement better.
     
    DianeP, Piper's mom and Mack like this.
  7. Mack

    Mack Forums Regular

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    I’m probably as gentle as my dog is to be completely honest! I don’t want to reinforce his fear, but the Yorkie is eight years old and lived in a puppy mill for a good 4ish beginning years of his life. We aren’t professional dog trainers and aren’t exactly sure how to handle him, so we carry him up the stairs. He gets the chance to see our older lab mix get up the stairs, but she slips at times because her bones aren’t as good as they once were. We help our dogs to the best of our abilities. I’ll go slow and steady with him, he’s a smart boy. I really appreciate your help.
     
    SheepOfBlue likes this.
  8. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    Oh dear, he's probably seen the lab slip too, must think those stairs are evil!

    My old girl became scared of drains when she was that age, not sure if she saw a ball go down the drain or maybe a cat, but OMG she was petrified. Roll forward 12 years and she is still scared of drains! And I am a trainer and have never been able to get her over that fear!:o1 Who knows what goes through those simple little heads. Drains are easier to avoid though, so hopefully he'll decide he'd rather be with you and get over his fear, Sheltie boys are such mummy's boys they hate being apart.
     
  9. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

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    Hi Mack, great advice for you so far. I am sure slow and steady with high value rewards will help!

    I didn’t catch if you had carpeted stairs or wooden steps. I have found with carpet they can gain traction. At my brothers home he has wooden stairs and none of my boys would use them.
     
    Hanne likes this.
  10. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Forums Sage

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    I'd go along side him so you can hold the treat close to him and use a happy tone (lots of fun) and get him to follow the treat up the stairs (while you talk to him...good boy, etc etc...the sillier the better lol).
    With my 2 year old I just waited until he was ready to do stairs but your boy was doing them and is now afraid of it. Some Shelties are just more sensitive than others (Finnie is very sensitive, doesn't take much to spook him). As Caro mentioned about the drain, my 4 year old Piper would avoid drains as if his life depended on it lol and he's the most stable dog.
     

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