Teaching Berner puppy to climb staris, what age?

Discussion in 'First Time Dog Owner and Basic Questions' started by Happy Boy, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Happy Boy

    Happy Boy New Member

    Dear all,

    I have a nine week old Berner puppy, and a two story house full of stairs. We have been carrying him up and down flights of stairs to go outside to potty, go upstairs to sleep, change locations with the family, etc. Needless to say, he is starting to feel quite heavy at nearly 20 lbs! (Plus, I think he enjoys the ride!)

    We have started teaching him to climb up the stairs. He sort of hops up them a little bit, but can make it up about 13 steps a couple of times per day. We have not worked on going down the stairs.

    At what age should a Berner be taught to climb up and down the stairs (w/ supervision). I am concerned about joint problems at this age. Should I be? Is it appropriate at nine weeks to start training him to do the stairs?

    I look forward to your feedback.
  2. konabeardog

    konabeardog New Member

    When we first got Kona we did the same thing....carried her up and down to use the bathroom, go for walks, play outside. I remember not being able to pick her up anymore, so my boyfriend would do it, sling her up on his shoulder and bring her downstairs (probably around 4-5months?).
    Eventually we found her downstairs one day sleeping on the slate floor by the front door (A LOT cooler down there). From then on, she would use the stairs as she needed to, but would definitely look up at us for a "free ride" whenever she felt lazy. We always kept a baby gate at the top of the stairs when we weren't home incase she tumbled down.
    As a puppy she hopped down the stairs as well; she still kinda does now, except she learned to "slide" down when she's in a rush. SUCH a nut!

    Overall, Kona (knock on wood) has had no joint problem or health problem. When we first got her, our breeder recommended we give her GLYCO-FLEX I for joint support, which she has been on since we brought her home. I know of other pups in the litter that have had ligament and hip/elbow issues already, yet they didn't keep their dogs on the joint supplement. I'm not telling you how to care for you pup in any way, but being this is my first Berner I would highly suggest some type of joint supplment to help them out. We're very active with Kona (hiking, snowshoeing, etc), so we'd like to keep her as healthy as possible. Hopefully this helps a little!
    Congrats & good luck with the new pup!!
  3. Happy Boy

    Happy Boy New Member

    Thanks for the information on doing the stairs!

    Thanks for the helpful advice on doing the stairs! Happy Boy can do the stairs quite well going down. We use treats to make him climb slower, but when he is in full gear he leaps up them like a rabbit hopping.

    We are slowly working on going downstairs. He can do about three steps down, but then his hind end picks up speed and he starts to tumble! He will get it eventually, I guess. I am glad to learn of your experience, to sort of gauge what typical stair climbing behavior might look like!

    I will have to look into the supplements. He is on Nature Select food. I will have to review the label more closely.

    Thanks for responding! :)
  4. Tucker

    Tucker New Member

    We got our boy at 13 weeks and immediately taught him to do stairs. He was very cautious for about 6 weeks. Now at 8 months he does them 2 at a time! lol
  5. Happy Boy

    Happy Boy New Member

    Happy Boy can climb up and go down the stairs.

    I am happy to report that at 13 weeks, Happy Boy can both climb up the stairs and run down them now! One day, he wanted to go outside and down the stairs he went! He forgot he was afraid, and just ran down. We were amazed! Personally, I think he has enough length, height, width and gumption to make it doable.

    We are so glad, as we live in a two story house and carrying up and down the stairs was really beginning to exhaust us!

    Oh happy day, for Happy Boy and his family!

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