Dog stuck at the top of the stairs!

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Dog stuck at the top of the stairs!

This is a discussion on Dog stuck at the top of the stairs! within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Sometimes my mini poodle will be at the top of the stairs by himself and he appears stuck. I can see him from elsewhere in ...

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Old 02-06-2019, 05:41 PM
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Dog stuck at the top of the stairs!

Sometimes my mini poodle will be at the top of the stairs by himself and he appears stuck. I can see him from elsewhere in the room and, despite clearly wanting to come down, especially when called, he's just stuck there. There are two short flights, this is at the top of the 2nd. If we walk up to the stoop between the two flights, he'll come down to us. BUT calling for him to come to us from elsewhere just doesn't work....he's just stuck! He'll place his two front paws on the next step and then hesitate and withdraw back. Crazy!

Very odd AND NEW behavior. Any idea what might be going on and how to address?

TIA,
David
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:41 PM
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How old is your poodle? Is he a senior dog by chance? Any new medical issues like doggie dementia or sight or hearing issues?

If all is ok medically/ physically I would just begin by retraining him and see if that works.

For me, I would make a fun game out of going up and down the stairs. Do it a bunch of times, use yummy small treats, lots of happy praise. Do this for a week and see if he resumes his old normal pattern.

One time, after a zillion times of loading normally into my car at night after work, my Gracie dog just froze and would not get into my car. I was baffled. She just kept staring at me with her sweet gentle eyes as if trying to tell me something. I tried offering her to go potty? Nope. Did she want to walk around the parking lot? Nope. Did she want a treat? Nope. Something/someone creepy in the parking lot? No one was around but us..it was getting super late and very dark out. Whaaat?

So I just basically "retrained" her for about 4 days. I put super yummy homemade chicken and steak bites in the car seats. I had to show her and lure her in there at first. (My Gracie is a touch sensitive fearful dog so I could not just pick her up and put her in the car like a normal dog)

It worked!!!!!

After a few days, all was normal again!! Thank heavens!!!!!

Did I ever figure out what spooked her or made her freeze up? Nope. I suspect maybe she heard a weird spooky sound at the same time and then associated loading into the car as scary or spooky. Who knows?

Maybe this will work for you guys like it worked for me and my Gracie dog.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:49 PM
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Thanks for your response. Marley is a healthy, wonderful 1.5 yr old Mini. He generally goes up and down the stairs just fine so I'm not sure what there is to retrain here.

A bit more info, don't know if it's relevant. I recently had a knee replacement so I have walkers positioned at the top and bottom of the stairs during my recovery. This behavior seemed to coincide with the walker being positioned at the top of the stairs. Again, this seems only to happen in the evening (did I mention that before?). I've made a point of keeping the walker as far away from the top stair as possible.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:18 PM
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Maybe this has something to do with the walkers like you mention. Maybe your dog was coming down the stairs and the walker moved a bit or something and spooked him? Or he ran into the walker accidentally at first and it scared him? Or he heard a weird noise at the same time he saw the walker up there for the first time, so now he has odd associations?

Again, who knows?

But, you say "He generally goes up and down the stairs just fine so I'm not sure what there is to retrain here"

I would think of the retraining as kind of a mental reboot
.

Like my Gracie and the car situation I just wrote about. Of course Gracie knew how to jump in and out of my car. We did it everyday and every night. She had no problems there. Just like your dog and the stairs.

BUT---something had made her mind freeze up or be afraid/nervous/anxious about getting into the car that night and the next few days. So, for me, I just gave her a mental reboot, retrained her/counterconditioned her to thinking jumping up into my car was fantastic. And like I said in a few days it totally worked and she never again has had that issue.

Does that make more sense now? I hope I explained it better this time
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:11 PM
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luxating patella can cause this, the knees actually do lock up they are stuck, then it will unlock & the dog can move again. The knees also hurt. My dog was diagnosed with it at 2 yrs but its hereditary & my Janet was born with dodgy little knees. Stairs & jumping are the hardest for her. She is now 4 & some days cant get on a couch, she uses a footstool, I was told by my vet that with her L.P & bow legs she may not be sble to walk by now😢 But she can still walk & run fine, can only jump all fours off the ground by about 5cms. If she stands on her back legs one of her knees gives out & she falls.
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:52 PM
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Are they wood stairs? If so, try putting something on the stairs that makes it so she has more solid footing.
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