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General : stair fright
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 Message 1 of 3 in Discussion 
From: MSN Nicknameannie01788  (Original Message)Sent: 1/7/2009 7:33 PM
I had to board my "kids" the first 2 weeks of December.  They did fine and got home and acted normally after the initial excitement wore off.  But now, 2 weeks later, Gus (2.5 y/o male) is very fearful of coming down my stairs--something he has never had a problem with before (and the stairs are carpeted).  I know that he had no stairs to deal with at the kennel.  He will run up them without any difficulty, but when he wants to come down he will stand at the top of the stairs and whine and bark until I go up the stairs to stand behind him.  He will then go down them, but very slowly.  Occassionally his back left foot will knuckle under as he is trying to come down the stairs and this seems to really confuse him.  I have never seen him knuckle under when he is walking and it is difficult to test his response when I put him in a knuckle under as he wants to play.
Do you think this is a behavior problem and/or a medical problem?  And if it is behavior, what do I do to help him lose his fright of coming down the stairs?  Right now, I am trying to not make a big deal of it, but am praising him when he gets to the bottom of the stairs.

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 Message 2 of 3 in Discussion 
From: MSN NicknamekatydogcrazySent: 1/7/2009 8:20 PM
That knuckling under is a worrisome sign of some neurological problem - dogs just do do that in the ordinary course of things, and it would be very confusing for him. You need to have Gus checked out. In the mean time at least you have a method worked out that will reassure him when he needs to use the stairs. Please let us know what the vet thinks!

 Message 3 of 3 in Discussion 
From: highsierraSent: 1/7/2009 11:44 PM
Well if it's not a physical problem then you might try some real good treats like
a piece of left over steak at the bottom of the stairs.  Let him smell it at the top and then head on down and do that for a while.  He might forget why he is afraid but I'd probably have him checked out too just to be sure.
Good luck.  Keep us posted,