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Discussion Starter #1
I must appologize in advance this is a little long winded.

Okay....My Boyfriend and I adopted a 10 month old female husky/australian cattle dog/ mixed breed named Trixie from a shelter about 2 months ago.

When we first got her we didn't want her upstairs because we didn't want her to get into anything up there that could hurt her or to a lesser degree destroy something like clothes or computer wires (the bedrooms, office, and a bathroom are upstairs) but now we see that she can be trusted to not do that ( she only destroys her own stuff like the bed in her crate) and we want her to feel free to come upstairs and roam as she wants when we are home.

We had a puppy gate blocking the stairs the first 3 weeks we had her but we have removed it since then and she has not attempted to go up the stairs at all even when we call her from the top of the stairs, the landing midway, or at any point lower than that. She just looks at us and runs back into her crate and hides or to her spot on the carpet and looks at us while very politely sitting.

We've tried treats on each step all the way up, all she does is grab the first treat and run away again. We tried putting her toys on the stairs... Nothing. We also tried leashing her and trying to lead her upstairs but she splays out and tries to scamper away like we're try to get her into a dungeon or something. Nothing works.

The only way she gets upstairs is if we pick her up and carry her. When she was up there (we only brought her up once we don't want to traumatize her) she stayed glued to the floor for about 10 minutes then SLOWLY began to roam around then glued herself somewhere else on the floor.

I know it's not a general fear of stairs because she goes out the front door and back door stairs with no problem.

What gives?

I must mention that by nature she is a VERY timid dog. She is really good with people and LOVES to be pet and she is pretty good with most dogs as long as they arn't too big or barking at her.

Anyone have any tips to get her to come up the stairs? We would love to have her feel free to sleep upstairs (not on the bed) with us at some point.
 

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What kind of treat are you using? I'd use chicken and not start at the stairs themselves.

Figure out at what point by the stairs she starts getting scared, then a step or two before you get to that point sit down with her and hang out like it's no big deal give her a few really high value treats like chicken or lean ground beef, then once she's comfortable there move a step closer to the stair and repeat the process, if she starts to stress out go back to where she was comfortable. You'll be doing that all the way up the stairs and on the second floor.

She may progress fast but it could also take the course of weeks, just work with her every day and let her tell you when it's time to move forward.

I wouldn't recommend flooding, especially with a timid dog, as it could do much more harm then good and break the trust that she has with you. Flooding is when you force the dog to do something despite it being afraid to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was just using her kibble and small peanut butter banana treats but I think I'm going to try the higher value treat. And sitting with her step by step sounds like a good idea.
I just hope she's not going to just run to her crate and hide because she knows what I'm trying to do... She's pretty smart like that LOL
 

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LOL, gotta love smart dogs. I had one that used to watch me opening the gate and then figured out how to open it. I think if she would have had hands instead of paws there would have been no stopping her.

I think she'll be O.K. as long as you start at a place where she isn't afraid and just keep on easing closer and closer to the stairs then up them. Like I said if she starts to get fearful just retreat back to the last place that she wasn't fearful.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here's some updates.

I've gotten her to come to the first and second step with the treats BUT her hind legs don't leave the ground floor and once she gets the treat she runs away to eat it. I had her coming back on her own but I had gone up a step and placed a treat on the third step. She came to the bottom of the stairs, looked up at me, I pointed to the treat on the stairs next to me and told her in a hushed excited voice "Theres the treat Trixie go get it! " And she would look and sniff at the treat but then run away again. So I decided to move away from the stairs but leave the treat there. And I know now that she does want the treat because she keeps going over to the stairs looking up them and whining. But she refuses to go up on the step and get it. Even if I try to pet her and encourage her she acts like I'm going to hurt her or have an alterior motive for the treat. I'm going to keep trying but I wish she would just trust me.
Maybe she was abused early in life?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have only had success with taking a well beloved bone and putting it on the third step. She goes there and gets that but that's about it. I'm beginning to think that downstairs is going to be her domain and upstairs will forever remain a mystery to her. And also the only way she attempts to get the treats that are now constantly on our stairs is when neither one of us is there on the stairs. She only attempts after we leave. I really don't understand and I don't want to push her. I'm not sure if calling her to the stairs and sitting there every day with a treat just to have her run away is pushing her but I nevertheless feel bad and (again) I DO NOT understand what on earth she is so afraid of.
 

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I'm sorry it isn't going better. Some phobias take many months to work through.

Unfortunately you really don't know what she went through before you got her. Whoever had her first may have had stairs and harshly trained her not to go up them. With her being afraid to go up the stairs when y'all are there that may be the case. Then again some dogs develop a phobia for no apparent (to us humans) reason.

Hopefully someone else on the forum has some other things that you can try.
 
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