How to Train Your Dog to Use Dog Steps

If you have a small dog or a senior pet who is having trouble getting up on furniture or into the car, getting a set of dog steps might be the answer. Just be sure the dog steps are the right size for your pet; if the distance between each stair is too far or the treads are not deep enough for your size dog, the dog steps basically are useless.

It’s also important for the dog steps to provide secure footing or your pooch might not want to use them. Non-slip coating, like on the Frisco lightweight non-slip pet steps, can help your canine feel confident and comfortable as he goes up or down the dog steps to get to your bed.

As for how to train your dog to use dog steps? The key is to take it slowly and use a lot of positive reinforcement.

Not all dogs naturally understand how to use stairs. And even if a dog learns how to climb up stairs, going down stairs can be awkward or scary at first (descend some stairs on your hands and knees to see what I mean). As you train your dog to use dog steps, give your pup some time to get used them. Once your pet figures it out, he likely will love the freedom they provide.

How to Train Your Dog to Go Up and Down Dog Steps

Use a Food Dispensing Toy for Fast Eaters. If your dog eats too fast use a food dispensing toy (we love the Kong Wobbler & Bob a Lot), or place a few tennis balls in their bowl to slow their eating. Not only does this keep them from eating too quick, it gives them a nice mental workout.

As with most dog training, you’ll want to have yummy dog treats on hand. Then, follow these simple steps to get your doggo started.

  1. Set up the dog steps next to a particularly comfy piece of furniture. Your bed or a couch are great options. The goal is to choose a piece of furniture that your dog would be happy to get onto.
  2. Place some treats on every step of the dog steps and let your dog notice the treats. NOTE: You won’t have to put treats on the dog steps every time the dog uses them. You just want the dog steps to make a really good first impression right now.
  3. Each time your dog goes up a step, praise him and feed him extra treats.
  4. When your dog reaches the top of the dog steps, spend some time relaxing with him on that furniture.
  5. To teach your dog to go down the steps, repeat steps 3-5 in reverse.

You may need to repeat the procedure several times before your dog starts to go up and down the dog steps when treats are not there. If you see your dog using the dog steps when you haven’t put treats there, praise and pet your dog, and maybe give him a bonus treat or two.

Safety Tips with Dog Steps

When training your pet to use dog steps, keep these things in mind:

  1. Make sure the dog steps are not slippery.
  2. Place pillows or other soft padding around the dog steps at first to give your pet a soft landing if he does slip off.
  3. Never move the dog steps away while your dog is on the furniture. If you do, he might wind up jumping off the furniture to get back onto the floor. This can be dangerous and cause injury with a small or older dog, or if you have slippery tile or hardwood floors.

Giving your pet access to furniture using dog steps is a great way to expand his world. Train him how to go up and down the dog steps on his own, and he’ll be able to come hang out with you more often, too. What could be better?

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Featured Image: By Jon Lofdahl