"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Stair Fright

– Posted in: Columns

Pup on StairsDear John,

We have an 8 month old Maltese that is house trained.  However, we had an incident this week where he finally made it upstairs unattended for a few minutes. When my husband went up to get him although all the doors were closed he had pooped about 15 piles all over the landing upstairs. He is house broken and does not have accidents.  He also had peed twice. My husband said it looked like a war zone when he got there with these small piles of poop everywhere. Is this a behaviour thing or was he frightened because it was dark and he did not know where he was. He is from a rescue unit and has other issues but this is not one them.

S.W. – London

Dear S.W.

I don’t think your mountaineering Maltese considered that what goes up must come down. He got to the top of Everest, looked back down, said, “Oh Crap!” and then he did – 15 times apparently.

Young dogs are usually intimidated by their first few trips up stairs but not as much as they are the trip back down. It takes a while for puppies to get in co-ordinated control of their bodies but their minds are well aware that it’s quite possible that their back end might at some point race their front end to the bottom.

It’s a heck of a slope for a Maltese that at eye level would have been looking straight on to the top of the first step. Were our roles reversed and it was I on a cliff looking down comparatively scaled boulders leading to everything familiar to me in the whole world, well lets just say the subsequent clean up may have taken longer.

He’s old enough that he should have been stair savvy by now and co-ordination wouldn’t have played a role, more likely lack of experience and therefore confidence due to his back ground. Rescue dogs usually have some sort of baggage. The fact that he was willing to give it a shot upwards speaks well for him and I’m sure with a little time, your helpful hands, and a lot fewer steps to practice on he’ll be fine.

Paw-sitively Yours

John Wade
www.dogtrainingwithjohnwade.com

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