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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Morning,
For some reason Shiloh (2 years old) is afraid to go down the steps on our deck. There are 8 steps going down to a walk way. I think something has scared him? He runs up the steps but I have to pick him up and carry him down the steps. We had a stand off last night. I tried teasing him with treats, going 1 step at a time, nothing. He just sat there and howled at me. He just went to the vet 2 weeks ago and checked out fine.
Any suggestions? I know my neighbors got a kick out of me coaxing him down the steps to potty. I gave in and carried him.

Thanks!
 

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That is a little strange for a two-year old. Our three-month-old Maggie has exactly the same problem. I thought she would outgrow it. Is this another Beagle trait?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I used to take Shiloh out of the back door to potty. There are only 3 steps there, but my neighbor is a jerk and HATES dogs, especially beagles. I started taking Shiloh out the front door because this guy would see us coming out the back door and start cussing. I stay in my yard only. Shiloh has never even graced his yard, not one toenail has been in this guys yard.
Honestly, I'd like to see Shiloh take a beagle dump right on the edge of his yard. But to keep the peace, I started taking him out the front door to the front yard.

He will jump into the front seat of my truck with no problems. I wonder if something spooked him. I guess I need more patience. I'm always in a hurry and don't spend alot of time coaxing him down the steps. I just pick him up and put him down at the bottom of the steps and he's ready for take off!
 

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Charlie is the same way. My house and my parents house, we will not go down the deck stairs. He will haul butt coming up them though. It is only outdoor stairs. We can coax him if we really try. Josie on the other hand will go up and down any stairs to get where she wants to be no problem.

Whats odd, is Charlie will jump on and off the bed. Josie will not.

I had a dog as a kid who was the same way though, afraid to go down outdoor stairs, I think it is normal.
 

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It's not a beagle trait. It might be a puppy thing, but usually with some coaxing and making them feel safe, they outgrow it very fast.

With Shiloh, I would work on it this way: high value treats (salami, frankfurters, cheese, whatever works), a toy he loves and lots of praises. Every time he makes a small progress, praise him and make a huge fuss of it. Patience, it will work.
 

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It's always interesting to see what new beagle hang-ups people encounter. I wonder how much of it is him being stubborn knowing someone will eventually take him down the steps as opposed to a bad experience.

I think you can conquer this though. Unfortunately I don't have an easy answer for you. Since you know your dog better then anyone you're the best one to figure out what will motivate him to work on this problem. Food is obviously a great motivator for beagles.

You might want to just sit down on the steps with him. Play with him, give him pets and so on. Just make him comfortable being close to the steps. Then maybe place a high-value treat on the step below you. If he gets it try putting another treat on the next step lower and so on. If he doesn't go for it don't sweat it. You might have to work on this over several days. But I think if you're close by and comfort him he'll eventually feel safe enough to slowly move down, even if it's only one step at a time.
 

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That's happened to me before. Something must have spooked Coco once and he wouldn't come in the house and I had to carry him in. And then, oneday he just walked in.
 

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Susi was 6 years old when she first used stairs. She wouldnt even go up them at first. We got her to come down very slowly,pulling her down one step at a time, talking to her the whole way. At the bottom she got a treat. It took her a couple of weeks to get over her fear of stairs, even now she comes down them carefully and likes the light on when its dark. Snoopy runs up and down like a mad thing. We are frightened he'll hurt his back, so keep a stair-gate on them for daytime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's definately going to take some time. When I got home from work yesterday I put his leash on like normal and headed out. He stopped and plopped his butt down and arooed at me and I ignored him. I put a small piece of roast beef (Yeah, my husband didn't like that) on the first step. He sniffed it and tried to grab it without stepping down the step. I picked it up and put it on the next lower step. He was not happy. He howled and barked. I gave him a tiny piece and showed him the rest of it was on the next step. Long story short, he went down 2 steps and then ran back up to the top. I ended up carrying him down because he was about to poop on the deck. I'll work on this several times a day with him. With the weekend coming up I'll have more time to spend. I just wish I could figure out what spooked him. Thanks for all the advice.

My husband is a cat person, but he still loves dogs. He's never been around anything but labs or lab mixes. He thinks Shiloh is very stubborn. I told him, No, he's just being a beagle. I wouldn't have him any other way. He is the best cuddler at night.
 

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Are the stairs open in the back? Maggie is not afraid of stairs but was reluctant to go down the stairs from my friend's deck to her back yard. We think its because the stairs open in the back and she can see the ground below. I think it either confuses her or she thinks she will fall. If we have one of my friend's dogs walk with her, she is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, they are open. That makes sense. I was just thinking, several months ago we had a couple of stray cats living under our deck. Maybe one took a swipe at him or spooked him.
 

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My beagle Molly, and my jack russell, Abby are both afraid to go down the steps on the deck. I think it is because there is no back to them. Once they get down, they are fine, but there is always a hesitation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm going to work on it some more this afternoon when I get home from work. I think it has to do with the steps being open. He runs up them no problem.
I still have plenty of roast beef left!
 

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Snoopy has this same problem. She will go up/down any step unless they are open in the back. Then...she will go up but not down. Even a food bribe won't work.
 

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place him at the top of the stairs, nose pointed down
then stand behind him with a good pair of tennis shoes on or work boots,
and give him a good swift kick!!!


just kidding. it is probably the open back thing. but another thing to try, instead of starting at the top. is only carry him down to the last 2 or 3 steps. then put him down and see if he will go further.
try that for a few days, then only go down to the last 4 and so on.
good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Last night was a little better. There are 8 steps total going down to the walkway.
I put him on the 4th step and some roast beef on the 6th step.
I coaxed him and he looked scared to death!

He did go down the grab the beef and I gently pulled the leash to coax him down the remaining 2 steps. He went down and immediately ran back up and started scratching on the door.

We did this 4 or 5 times. He's gotten better, so with the weekend coming up, I'll have more time to work with him on it.

Funny thing though, I take him to a park that has trails in the woods. His favorite trail is 3.1 miles and it's a lot of up and down hill walking. Some of it is so steep he has to get a running start and run up. (so do I)

He has never even slowed down going up those hills. I really think it has something to do with the steps being open at the back.

I think patience is the key. My husband said, Just pull him down the steps. Maybe that's what happened, my husband took him out and got tired of waiting and pulled him down. He says he didn't, but - I don't know. I hope he wouldn't do that.
 
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