Why Is My Dog Avoiding StairsIs your dog pulling away from stairwells or insists on sitting down when you reach them? While there are times when you can and should carry your pooch in your arms, if they try to avoid stairs daily, there’s probably a reason. Let’s review common reasons your dog avoids stairs and what you can do to help yours climb to the next level.


As long as your dog is in good health, climbing the stairs is excellent exercise. If something is wrong, climbing can inflict significant pain, and avoiding stairs is your dog’s way of staying pain-free.

Contact your vet if your dog expresses explicit pain with every step, but you can’t detect a reason (a wounded paw, for example). If your dog is diagnosed with arthritis or any other joint-related issue, the vet might suggest you change their diet, add supplements, or prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Besides, your vet might recommend physical therapy, which can help improve your dog’s mobility and strengthen their muscles. In addition, you can make some changes in your home to help your furry friend climb the stairs easier. For instance, you can add a non-slip carpet to the steps, reduce the number of stairs your dog needs to climb, or install a ramp to make it more accessible. Remember that it’s essential to follow your vet’s instructions and monitor your dog’s progress regularly.

Fright of Stairs 

Why Is My Dog Avoiding StairsA time they fall down the stairs, or a back pain they suffered when climbing in the past – if your dog has a bad memory associated with stairs or height, they will do their best to avoid these potential dangers.

The best way to help your dog overcome their fright is to create new memories using toys, treats, or praises. Try to persuade your dog to climb up the stairs by holding their favorite toy or a treat in your hand and encouraging them to come and get it. Reward and praise your dog for every stair they climb or descend.

If your dog is still reluctant, place your pooch on the stairs and give them some space to reach the prize on their own terms. 

Sometimes, dogs develop a fear of stairs without any apparent reason, which can make it challenging to motivate them to climb up or down. In these cases, it’s essential to be patient and not force your dog to use the stairs. Instead, you can try desensitizing them to the stairs by taking small steps and gradually increasing the height and distance. For example, if your dog is afraid of going up the stairs, you can start by placing them one step up and rewarding them for standing there. Once they’re comfortable, you can lure them with a treat or toy to climb one more step and so on. If your dog feels scared or stressed, take a break and try again later. Remember to praise and reward your dog for every successful attempt, even if it’s just one step.

Wow, Stairs!

If you have a puppy or you’ve just moved with your dog to a new house with extra stairs, use the method above and add some socialization tricks.

Socializing your puppy or dog to stairs is crucial, especially if they haven’t encountered them before. You can start by introducing them to a few steps at a time and letting them explore and sniff around. Encourage them with treats, toys, or praises and make it a fun experience. Once they’re comfortable with a few steps, you can gradually increase the number of stairs and add some challenges, such as see-through steps or a height difference. Remember to reward and praise your furry friend for every successful attempt and avoid scolding or punishing them for mistakes. With patience and consistency, your dog will soon learn to love using the stairs and enjoy the benefits of exercise and exploration.

Product Design

Why Is My Dog Avoiding StairsSometimes it’s not the stairs but the material or the way they’re built. If it’s your dog’s first time on tiles or concrete, if the stairs include gaps and see-throughs, or they have no guardrails – it’s time to practice some socialization.

If the stairs terrify your dog, or you’ll never climb them again, it’s alright to carry them safely in your arms. 

Too Big

If your dog is small, some staircases will be too high for their short legs. In these cases, carry your lightweight dog until you reach flatland.

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