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Old 02.08.2015, 13:02
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Doggie friendly stairs

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We've just found a new build apartment in Zurich that is tempting us. Thing is, it's got stairs that leave us uncertain (not having seen it in person yet) as to whether they'll be doggy friendly.

The first issue is that they don't have backs - you can see through as you go up. Rusty can learn to deal with that, but he'll be nervous at first.

The second is that they look to be parquet, which we all know is a bit slippery. I'm assuming at this point that the builders wouldn't make stairs that are too slippery for humans, and thus maybe it will work out for dogs... but I'm trying to plan out options too. I'm envisioning some sort of stick-on rubber mats or something that we could apply that would prevent our puppy from sliding as he comes down the stairs. Have any of you seen or used anything like that?

Thanks!
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Old 02.08.2015, 13:34
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Re: Doggie friendly stairs

We had one of those open tread staircases in our rental house, spiral to boot. For dogs who are not used to them, your assumption is correct: A bit of training is often needed.

Going up was easy for mine, including Psychocollie (who came by his name honestly ) but going down posed problems.

For a curious well balanced dog, free-shaping with the clicker, rewarding whenever the dog makes a move towards voluntarily taking a step down, worked well. After the first session Swimbo was trotting up and down without a thought.

Psychocollie needed more training, though. And support at first. On lead, lure with treat, click and reward each step or even each voluntary attempt. No discussion and certainly no recriminations for reluctance. And watch stress - literally take this one step at a time, stopping if you think the dog is too stressed.

But even Psychocollie got it in the end.

Fast forward 5 years, Psychocollie started to lose his back legs. Slippery wood surfaces were particularly difficult - including the staircase. I had already put sisal rugs down all over the house to help him, so looked for something similar for the stairs.

(Looking back, I wish I had thought of them when initially training the dogs to use the staircase.)


One of the issues we had was that the landlord was a carpenter, made the stair case himself, was very proud of it - and he was concerned that anything stuck to the stairs might damage the finish. I went directly to him for recommendations as well as permission for anti-slip matts, as I though his input would limit concerns later. I can't remember where they were bought, a local carpet firm IIRC. But such things can be found all over, for instance here from Amazon.de, deliverable to Switzerland:

http://www.amazon.de/Teppich-Stufenm...treppe+Teppich

(Random google for Hund + Stufenmatt, no experience with this retailer.)

A side benefit of stair tread covers is that you also limit damage from the cliquey-clack of canine nails... something that should be pointed out to a reluctant landlord.

If this turns out to be your dream house, I wouldn't see the stairs as a deal breaker - Rusty seems like a quick learner.

(But any time you have stairs to get in and out of a house, think ahead 10-15 years. If you think you will still be in this house, do you think you will be able to carry your future elderly dog up and down stairs? )



ETA:

Is this a rental or purchase?

If a purchase, and if the stairs are wholly yours - could you put backs on the steps?

I've looked at a few houses with what I thought of as problem stairwells (problematic for my wonky dogs, that is) and my husband though that adding a back to the open stairs wouldn't be too difficult of a project. Now, OH tends towards the overly optimistic when it comes to his DIY projects, but still... if you own the stairs, there are more options available.


ETA:

IIRC, Mrs Doolittle had posted about stair solutions some years ago - you might contact her.

Last edited by meloncollie; 03.08.2015 at 10:53.
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Old 02.08.2015, 15:58
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Re: Doggie friendly stairs

Another random google - Hornbach have a decent selection of Stufenmatten, including a sisal one:

http://www.hornbach.ch/shop/Innendek...ikelliste.html
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Old 02.08.2015, 19:52
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Re: Doggie friendly stairs

Brilliant, thank you very much!

When Rusty gets to that age, I'll carry him if necessary, but we'll keep that concern in mind. Given that one of the places we're looking at has gardens accessible from both levels, it may be a non-issue - aside from him wanting to be where we're at (which, let me tell you, is not a constant need these days - damn kid's getting all independent!).
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Old 03.08.2015, 00:36
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Re: Doggie friendly stairs

Dogs and stairs....not a good combination in my experience unless the stairs are carpeted.


Wood is slippery and on stairs it will scratch. A recessed rubber strip at the edge of the stairs helps make them less slippery for humans and possibly for dogs.


I have a stair carpets for sale if you need them. They are very useful in a rental property. You must select the right tape so as not to mark the surface you will affix them too.


Just send me a PM.
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