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).

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. 

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.

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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