Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Stairs Dilema

We have a problem and mom needs your help. We're going to Nantucket in 20 days for our vacation and we have to go on the ferry that travels from Cape Cod to Nantucket. This is not a problem for me. I've done it several times already! It's fun and I love it! We meet lots of people and other dogs on the ferry! It's Mitch! Mitch doesn't climb stairs yet and you have to climb stairs to get from your car up on deck with the people and the FOOD! Mom has been racking her brain how best to get Mitch to become less fearful of the stairs so today we tried a different approach. Mitch loves blueberries and she thought maybe we could entice the little guy to go for them and climb stairs! Mom is sitting on the stairs putting blueberries on the steps and holding one out and talking real sweet to Mitch. Come on Mitch, you can do it! Mom thought that maybe I could be of assistance! Let me show you how it's done Mitch! Now watch me carefully!
You're not watching! Get back over here! Don't run away! You gotta conquer these stairs Mitch! Come on buddy! I'll help you!
Toss that blueberry right in my mouth mom! No need for me to climb those stairs! I already know how, right?
OMG can you see the drool that's coming from Mitch's mouth? The poor little guy is beside himself! He wants that blueberry sooooooooooo badly but no way will he climb! I'm trying to tell mom that she'd better toss it before Mitch has conniptions!
Come on Mitchy - you can do it! One step at a time! Try for mom, okay?Nope, another failed attempt! Mitch is frustrated and wants to bite my ear! Back to the drawing board!It's not just the Nantucket trip that has mom concerned. Our grooming room is at the top of those stairs and at 53 pounds, Mitch is getting too heavy for mom to carry up and down the stairs much longer!

Can anyone offer a suggestion or two that we can try? Mitch won't respond to being leashed. He's too fearful! Mom has tried whispering sweet nothings in his ear at the bottom on the stairs hanging on to his collar. He listens and then runs! Scaredy cat!

Anybody want to give it a shot? We would sure appreciate it. We're running out of time!

So until next time...........

Love ya lots,



the many Bs said...

oh Mitchy, you can do it!

Maybe if someone were behind Mitch, to give him a little push. You can do it one stair at a time.

Maybe they're kind of slippery for dog paws and little traction mats on each step would help for a while.

and what if Everyone and a lot of yummy treats were at the top of the stairs and just one person would stay with Mitch to help him up on step at a time, with lots of rewards along the way.

Comeon Mitch, you can do it, you little pupster!

(our mom grooms us to and has to lift us on the table - Baxter weighs 62 lbs, but she can lift him up! go moms!!!)

Bogart H. Devil said...

Hm... that's a tough one. I've been climbing stairs since I had to pull my little milk-belly up each one so I've never been scared of 'em (just not very good at it for awhile).

I'm kind of surprised Mitch that you haven't just followed the lovely Maggie up the stairs at all, I know I would!

Maybe try just doing a few steps at a time a few times a day or putting the goodies directly on each step so that Mitch has to climb a little to get each yummy morsel?

Doing it a little at a time so that it's not a BIG deal to Mitch, but just something that we all do everyday might help a little...

I'll make a video for Mitch to show him how a Male Dale does stairs :)

Love & Aire Kisses,

PS - my mom is jealous, she used to live in Boston and has been out to the Cape and Nantucket and she says it's BEAUTIFUL, and well worth climbing stairs for Mitch...

Princess, Tank and Isaac: The Newfs of Hazard said...

Hi! Here's how our dad would do it. First, find a short set of stairs, like 2 or 3. If he wont climb to you holding a treat try putting a treat down on each step and at the top far enough back so he has to climb up to get it. If blueberries don't work, try little smokies, imitation crab meat, dried salmon treats, dried liver, lung or the dried chicken breasts (small pieces, but big enough to be worth it). Do it when he's due for a meal so he'll be hungry. If going up is hard, try going down first. Wood can be slippery, so maybe try concrete steps first. It's important that there are only 2 or 3 stairs, not a huge mountain of them. If he wont bolt up 2 or 3 stairs for a super good treat you should ask yourself if he may have some kind of joint problem.

If this works do lots of practice up and down with lots of excited praise. Putting the treat on the steps eliminates the possibility of him getting the treat by wheedling you. That is also very important. He has to know that the route to treats is up the stairs, not looking cute. :)

Then you can transition to a slightly longer concrete or non-slip staircase - maybe 4-6 stairs depending on how confident he is. Let him see you put a treat on each step, maybe 2 on the last 2. Then progress to a short, more slippery step. You have to go back to a very short set of stairs when you change surfaces. Hopefully this will work well and you'll be setting sail well fed and mobile! Good luck. Contact me through my blog email if you have more questions or if this doesn't work. If you tell me his response I might be able to help more.

The Army of Four said...

Oooh, Mitch! I used to be scared of stairs, too!
I think the Newfies and everypup had some great ideas. They look real slippy to me - can you find some that aren't slippy? Like maybe a short set of concrete steps while you're out on a walk? Or maybe a friend who has carpetted stairs? They might be less intimidating! I know they're scary ..... but you can do it! Start small, with ones that aren't slippy! And lots of TREATS! :)

Ruby Bleu said...

Oh Maggie that's a tough one. It took me a good long time to learn how to go up and down (up was much easier for me tho). What finally got me was hanging with my friends Bob & Cooper. The wanted upstairs and I couldn't follow them unless I went up the stairs. I tell ya, peer pressure! But it worked.

Everyone gave some great suggestions...definitely nothing slippery to start and nothing you can see through (scawie). Oh and work just a little bit each time...otherwise he'll get too frustrated --- AND always have SNACKIES!!!

Good Luck..Lots of Licks, Ruby

Putter said...

Oh Mitchy!

This is quite a quandry:) Here is what we say ... Tell your Mom ... Practice ... Short Leash ... Mom by your side encouraging ... Maggie out in workshop with Dad ... Practice ... Encouragement ... and more Practice ...:) Let ME know how it goes, K?:)

Your Friend,

Putter ... :)

the many Bs said...

Here's another idea for little Mitchers. How about if mom carries him halfway up the stairs and then just puts him down on the stairs? If there are non-skid pads on the stairs so he can keep his footing, maybe he will walk either up or down. As soon as he gains confidence, then he will be good to go!

Come on Mitchy! You can do it!

Stanley said...


All of the suggestions are good. I like the idea of starting with just a few no-slip steps. I'm pulling for ya, Mitch Man! You'll get the hang of it, you're a dogly dog and very clever.

Maggie, I never realized just what a vocal girlie you are. I love the photo of you yelling to Mitch at the bottom of the stairs. And Mitch's drooly mouth... VERY JUICY! That Mitch drool could cause a problem on the stairs, so watch out!

Keep us posted!

Goober love,

Joe Stains said...

geez poor mitch, I don't feel so bad for being afraid of bubbles since he is scared of those stairs! I dont have any good advice though, we are pretty fearless around here when it comes to steps.

Suki & Joey said...

Sorry, Mitch, I don't have any advice for you :( We don't have stairs in my house, but for some reason I don't mind stairs. The first ones I came across were at the park last week and they didn't bother me.

I'm sure you'll learn fast, you're a cute, smart boy! :)

Puggy kisses

Gus said...

MMMMMmitchy. Hold out for MMMMMMeatables! Steak and shake works for me! Also, I think the idea of non slippy stairs might help.

Lorenza said...

Hi, Maggie.
Sorry I don't have an advice with those stairs thing. I am scared of them too! But I am sure Mitch will learn how to go up and down pretty soon!
Have a good night

Jessica said...

Looks like you've gotten some good advise on trying those stairs. We can't think of anything to add to that.

Us smaller dogs just fly up and down the stairs, maybe it's easier for smaller dogs?

Good luck. Love, Seadra and Zoe

Boo Casanova said...

hey maggie, not sure if this helps. i used to be scared of stairs too coz i have short legs and mom would pull me forcefully to get up the stairs - that didn't help fyi.

but there was one day, i was at this beautiful park walking and there were stairs. so we were just walking towards the direction and "suddenly" i could climb stairs! maybe you could bring mitch elsewhere to try the stairs. he's too used to the current stairs that he might not like it. try another environment see if he likes it.

btw, if u wanna try at home, i would say put treats on each steps. walk beside mitch and papa behind mitch and give him a push. btw, let mitch walk near the wall instead of the other side - it will make mitch feels safer by not looking down through the holes.

wet wet licks


Kien said...

Oh Mitch boy!... even i have hip problems.. i still love climbing stairs..

What i think that u need someone to push you from behind.. when i hear someone from behind ask me to "GO" "GO".. i have the adrenalin to move.. or else.. try ask Maggie and the rest of the members to call you from up stairs.. u will run to them knowing that everyone is already up there and you alone at downstair..

Anyway... i know you can do it.. u are a clever boy!..

Golden Rossi

Luckie Girl said...

Hey Maggie,
I can't remember how I started working the stairs but I think it was those really low ones that didn't look too swcary.
I hope Mitch gets over his fear and starts climbing!

Toby said...

HI Maggie!

Oh, poor Mitch. Look at all the drool coming outa his mouth. He def. wants those blueberries bad. As for advice, you may wanna ask Sunshade's Mom. Sunshade was going thru a chickendale phase at one point and refused to go up or down stairs.

Sorry that we can't offer any advice. My Mom isn't too bright ya know..LOL.


Urban Smoothie Read said...

when my owner teach me how 2 climb d stairs....she's not tat patience n kind like ur owner...

she juz put me on a leash n walk up d stairs n i need to follow reluctantly...n then i learn 2 climb it in 2 days time...

Ben & Darling said...

Hmm...I dont have stair at home & I never meet one yet. But I think it will be work on me if mom tie any treats or food with a string and pull it from the bottom part till upstair step by step....I guess that will motivate me. Good Luck Maggie.

Snowball said...


In the season 1 of The Dog Whisperer show, there is this episode that show how Cesar Millan train a great dane who refused to walk on shiny surfaces. His tactic might help you in training Mitch to overcome his phobia towards the stairs.

If you are not staying so far away, I would have loan you my copy. Its a video that is definitely worth watching for all dog guidance.


Myeo said...

Hi Maggie

It is rather strange that Mitch is scared of stair cos we are much shorter but yet we are not scared of teh stairs. Hmmm, how about slowly guiding him by putting up his paws on every step and push his butt up. is that possible, we are not very sure.

Boy n Baby

Girl Girl Hamster said...

Oh Mitch, you can do it. Try harder little guy... Maggie you're such a nice sister to show Mitch the way to climb the stairs

~ girl girl

umekotyan said...

Congestion with the stairs is dangerous.
The order of order is required.

from loved ume tyan

jaffeboy said...

K now. Hope this will work.

Aks mommy to carry him till 3 quarters way up the stairs. Put a handful of his favourite treat at the end of the stair. Make sure mommy sits beside him so he doesn't fall back. If he doesn't move, try giving him a treat from the "pile" just to show him there's something nice awaiting him at the end.

Good luck! Oh, mommy can try to give Mitch a little push from the back.

Amber-Mae said...

Oh Mitch, it's not that hard or scawie...What my mommy did was that she pushed my bum up while my other hooman coax me up the stairs. Sometimes, she'll take my two front legs & put on one step & then my two hind legs on one step. You'll get the hang of it soon Mitch!

Love licks,
Solid Gold Dancer

Peanut said...

I have no ideas but hopefully mitch figures it out soon. Oh and I finally got mom to update my friends list and you are now listed. She is so slow sometimes.

Girasol said...

I don't have ani new ideas but I believe Micht can do it.

Marvin -The Hollow Hound said...

ooooh sorry Maggie, we have no idea how to help you out with this dilemma, poor Mitch and poor Mum!

I am not allowed upstairs, so I don't go up them very often, but if there is a good enough temptation at the top......I am soon up there!

I will try and give it some thought tonight to see if I can help in anyway......

love and licks, Marvin xxxxx I love the pics of you both, so sweet!

Linda said...

Hey Maggie,
Mama thinks you should leave Mitch in the room with the stairs all by himself & leave a tiny treat on the first 5 steps. Leave him there for about 20 minutes & then go see if he ate any of the treats. If he did, then try placing the treats on higher up steps the next day. Also some have already mentioned this, he might not like the slipperyness of the steps. Do you have any old carpet scraps you could hook temporarily to the first few steps? Otherwise, the way Mama would teach puppies is just leash them & pull them up the steps whether they liked it or not & after one time they would do it. She did also put one arm around their belly to hold them so they wouldn't fall down. Good luck & let us know what works!
Luv & Wirey Hugs!
Butchy & Snickers

Unknown said...

Oh man Mitch! Those are scary steps... you need anti-slip matts so you feel secure, a ton of treats, your mom and Maggie by your side with encouraging words and you favoritest reward at the top!! That's how I got up my steps. Hope that helps.


Scrappy and Pebbles said...

Awwww poor Mitch !

I can go up and down our back steps but sometimes get scared at our front porch steps and will sit at the bottom and call mom (bark till she comes)) to carry me up. Sorry I am no help. But you have my sympathy.

tail wags

Anonymous said...

Hi! Maggie, ohh..poor Mitch. I know about that fear. I used to be scared of the stairs too. Mommy hold my front legs and pushed my behind from the back and showed me how to walk the stairs one step at a time. Come on! Mitch, you can do it!


Agatha and Archie said...

Oh Mitch it is very very hard and Archie had a hard time of it also(if it is wet he still sometimes does a little) Try something putting something SO DELICIOUS he will have to go get it and do skid proof the stairs.Nantucket!! Lucky! YOu will be very close to us!! We will wave!! Love Agatha+Archie

Koobuss said...

Wow Maggie,

Mitch has issues. I think he needs to go to the doggie psychologist.

Is he this way on all steps? Maybe the problem is that the grooming room is at the top of the stairs and he doesn't like the grooming room. Has your mother tried to get him up other stairs in a different part of the the house or even in somebody else's house? Try different steps. Just a thought.

Good luck!!

Your friend,

Sophie Brador said...

Hey Mitch, If you keep holding out, maybe they'll just get a baby backpack and carry you up the stairs. Who needs to walk when you can be chauffeured around by your people?

Or maybe, your people need to break down and try chicken necks or something amazingly tempting like that. I hear they think they are disgusting, but I love them and would even walk past a box to get one. A box!!!!

~Sweety~ said...

Hi Maggie,

I hope Mitch is able to conquer his fears for stairs..

Can ur mom try to food motivate him or toy motivate him to figure his way up?

Sorry i dun have any good methods to share with you.

Lots of love,

Simba and Jazzi said...

ahh Mitch stairs are great fun for running up and down. You'll get the hang of it in no time.

Simba x

Huskee and Hershey said...

Ummm.. ok I cannot help much here except give some moral support to Mitch. That lil' guy looked terrified! I can't say much cos I never had any problems with stairs and mom just took for granted that it was natural.

Good luck Mitch!

Allegra the Airedale! said...

Maybe your mom should buy one of those chairs that is on a track for older people. That way you can ride up to the top like the prince you are.

Christaligia said...

Oh Mitch!! I know you can do it. Follow Maggie. I like the idea of the few concrete steps to try first. I'm still little and there are no stairs where I live so I've never done stairs but I can climb a curb if that counts. I was hesitant the first one but mom helped push up my bottom for me and then I was ok with them. Now I do curbs good.

Jessie, Jake and Lola said...

Oh boy - this is a dilemma.

We asked our mom and she says she remembers running up the stairs and we eventually followed her - it was coming down she had a problem with.

We hope Mitch learns soon - Mom says that if Mitch doesn't learn he can stay with us !

Deanna said...

Have you tried small sets of steps - five or six like you might find in a park?

Ferndoggle said...

You've got lots of good ideas Mitchy! You can do it. Big Boys climb stairs!


wally said...

Wow--Mitch is the third Aire I've heard of who is afraid of steps! Yeesh! I'd second everyone else's suggestion that maybe the stairs are a little slippery for him. You also might want to try making it a game, get some of his favorite toys and play with them sitting on some stairs so he has to come up at least one stair to get one. Good luck, dogable!


Asta said...

Hi Maggzie, and My sweet Mitchy,
I'm so sowwy that Mitchy is scawed of the should have told me maybe I could have wun up and he would have followed me in play..should I come back and entice him up with a smoochie kiss???

Maggzie ,you look so wondewful in your pink T-shirt,and you're the bestest big sister to twy to help Mitchy..I hope it wowks
smoochie kisses

Jackson's J1 and J2 said...

Hey pals, sorry I don't have anything to add really apart from moral support. I live in a 3 storey house so I'm up and down the stairs all day long. So Mitch loves blueberries? I tend to spit them out a few times and then just eat them out of desperation if nothing better shows up! I watched Bogart's video early, it was really cool! J x

ToFFee said...

hey Mitchy! looks like you're going to prvenow that you're a bog boy now..

We got this from a websie and hope this helps. Better to practive on non-slippery floor though.

Tips on how to Train Puppies to Climb the Stairs
Provide a favorable environment. Starting the training at home is much more pleasurable and safer compare to an outdoor unknown territory. Usually, homes have a wide stairway which will be less frightening to the puppy. , home staircase are generously and evenly spaced (giving the pup a firm ground on four before attempting the following step) as oppose to those steep stairs seen in parks and streets.

Build confidence from ground up. It is important to start off at the bottom of the stairs. No, mid flight of the stairs won’t do even it is spacious. Success comes from good foundation!

Lead by example. As a top dog, needless to say you have to go up the first step. That’s what leader of the packs does! Then encourage the puppy to join you, by using your gentle and assuring voice, food treats or his favorite toy.

Repetition, one step at a time. After the puppy has joined you on the first stair, go back down one step (ground level) using the same method as climbing up the stairs. Repeat the process until the puppy will go up and down that step on his own. Taking a one step at a time approach is the best way to teach your puppy not to be afraid of stairs.

It is very crucial to build confidence slowly and not rush the process. As with all my dog training tips go, the motto is to a KISSER – Keep It Short and Simple with Easy Repetitions!

Go go go Mitchy! you can do it


fee said...

oopsy dearie, what did the stairs do to lil mitch? would it help if someone surprised mitch and chased him up the stairs? come on mitch, you gotta learn to climb those stairs ; mommy's going to get very tired carrying you around!

go go mitch!


Johann The Dog said...

The newfs have great ideas! One step at a time.

Mum had to teach and help both me and Gracie with the stairs. She separates us when she works with us. Just one at a time, so we can have concentration and one-on-one with Mum, helps us be more focused and confident.

Then she got out some REALLY yummy stuff, and sat on the first stair and had me come up their with her and she gave me all sorts of treats, then the second stair, then the third....then she scooted down the stairs with me and I walked down them.

All positive, all the time. Keep trying I know you can do it. And we like Boo's idea too, about going somewhere else and trying stairs.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Come Mitch, you can do it! We would love to hear some video of you wooing at the bottom of the stairs, ha ro!
Sitka and Tia