When you bring home a Labrador Puppy, you would expect it to take on all the dog life hacks easily. Whether running, jumping, playing, or climbing stairs, every Labrador owner expects their dog to do it all without any hassle. But do you know that an experienced Labrador owner will always alert you about making these dogs climb stairs?
This article today will clear out all the confusion on the million-dollar question, “When can Labrador Puppies Climb Stairs”? Well, Labrador Puppies can start climbing stairs when they are 4 to 5 months old. Allowing your Labra to climb and alight stairs at this tender age will help them learn safe navigation and won’t even lead to any physical discomfort (disease specifically). However, regardless of how much they develop around 4 to 5 months, it isn’t safe to push your Labrador puppy to climb stairs. Dogs who do this forcefully or unwillingly often develop disabilities like Hip Dysplasia or exacerbate the said condition.
Can A Labrador Puppy Go Up And Down The Stairs?
Yes, like any other dog breed, Labradors too can go up and down the stairs that too in a well systematic manner. Labrador puppies enjoy doing so; however, pet owners must not initiate this activity forcefully.
If the dog can’t make up for one step without jumping, it is because he is too small to climb stairs. Making them do so forcefully can result in him tumbling downstairs and inviting multiple fatal injuries.
Regardless of their age, taking one step on stairs up and down can prove a massive undertaking for Labradors. While some learn it at an early age, other Labradors may take months until they even begin learning, let alone mastering the art.
Are Stairs Bad For Labradors? When Can Stairs Go Bad For Dogs?
Stairs aren’t bad for Labradors, but unattended navigation on the staircase can bring problems for both dog and owner. You can’t let your Labra puppy go up and down the stairs unsupervised, especially the overenthusiastic one.
Also, Labradors are more athletic dogs with a top speed of between 20 to 30 mph. They are on an unplanned marathon whenever they enter indoors after a play session.
It is when you would find your Labra either crashing into the wall or running/ jumping over the stairs at a very top speed.
However, accessing stairs with this full-throttle attitude can get the Labrador into trouble. It will, of course, make them fall or crash badly but can even lead to bone issues like Hip Dysplasia.
Labradors and Hip Dysplasia- Are Stairs Bad For Labrador’s Hips?
Hip Dysplasia is one of the most common chronic disability that some breeds, including Labrador Retriever, Saint Bernard, German Shepherd, and Great Dane, suffers from. The disability is genetic amongst these breeds, given their huge size, excessive growth rate, and unbalanced nutrition.
When a Labrador suffers from Hip Dysplasia, his hip joints will develop a malfunction in which the head of the femur bone won’t fit well into the hit socket.
As a result, the head of the femur bone and the joints (the ball and socket) instead rub painfully together, causing heavy discomfort to the dog. This, in the long run, can result in excessive pain, degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis), and discomfort in the hip joint, all due to a loss of cartilage over time.
But is Hip Dysplasia in Labradors a result of climbing stairs? Well, not fully, but yes, the possibilities are prominently there. Some evidence suggests that Labradors who climb stairs before their limbs have properly developed and strengthened may increase Hip Dysplasia risk. Though this disability is commonly a result of hereditary origin in Labradors, stairs to are one of the majorly responsible factors.
Therefore, ensuring that their physical growth has reached the right level before introducing your Labrador to stairs is extremely important. Labradors who are still very small aren’t yet fully coordinated and, therefore, can easily fall down the stairs.
How Do You Teach Your Labrador Puppy To Climb Stairs?
When your Labrador is still a puppy, you just can’t let him run over the stairs unsupervised. Your dog needs to reach a specific mental and physical age (Development) before you introduce him to the stairs. As the Labrador puppy grows, his feet size too will increase. Bigger feet mean proper placement on stairs along with a firmer grip.
NOTE: Before you teach your Labrador puppy how to climb stairs, make sure his feet and legs are big enough. Monitor how well he can take steps while he is still walking on the grounds. Also, ensure the staircase at your home is wide enough for the dog to climb comfortably. Besides that, ensure that each staircase’s height is safe enough for your Labrador to climb comfortably and safely. Basically, think like your Labrador.
Also, if your Labrador is too active and enthusiastic, you have to behave very cautiously with him on the stairs. Dogs like these are always in a hurry, and therefore they can end up hurting themselves. So make sure your Labrador puppy slowdowns before you begin with the Dog Staircase Tutorial.
Teaching Labradors’ How to Climb and Alight Stairs’.
Rather than making a big deal of the Staircase game, encourage your dog to climb along with you. Most Labradors learn stair climbing an easy way along with their owners.
- An entire 8 to 10 steps long staircase can get too much. Therefore, instead of going it all over at once, take a single step at a time. Use positive reinforcement like treats for encouragement. This way, you will gradually make your Labrador comfortable for navigating.
- Some dog owners also suggest that going on all their fours help them teach Staircase task easier to the canines.
- Be cautious that your dog doesn’t go very fast or all at once, especially while alighting the staircase. Using a dog harness will help for being on an extra safer side.
- The idea is to get your Labrador puppy to climb and descend the stair at a very controlled pace. The dog will use its heel while climbing, whereas the entire paw while descending the staircase.
- For best training, you may help you be extra patient and repeat the process several times until the dog learns well. Make sure to use commands while the dog is at the lower or upper end of the staircase.
Safety Precautions to make Staircase Safe for Labrador Puppies
No matter how attentive and cautious you are, before making your Labrador climb stairs for the first time, there are some safety precautions you need to follow. All you have to do is to follow these safety tips while training, and your dog is good to go.
- Firstly, make sure the stairs are wide enough and not very high.
- Ensuring that your Labrador puppy doesn’t fall adds grip to your staircase. You can use a rubber carpet or material that can increase the resistance level.
- Thirdly, keep the staircase clean of any obstacles, dirt, dust, or debris. Remember, you should behave as cautiously as you would have for a human baby.
- Make sure the staircase has a rallying/ wall on both sides. This will keep the dog from falling.
- Operate the light above your staircase or install light around the stairs to improve the dog’s visibility.
- Lastly, though most importantly, stand firmly for supervision. Do not let your Labrador puppy navigate through stairs in your absence or unattended.
Can Labrador Dogs With Hip Dysplasia Go Up Stairs?
If your Labrador is already suffering from Hip Dysplasia, you should not allow them to climb stairs. Climbing and descending stairs can increase the risk of injury and alleviate your dog’s pain to the worst possible level.
Therefore, instead of using stairs, consider installing a dog ramp for Labradors if they have already developed the disability of Hip Dysplasia.
Also, avoid making the dog jump and run unattended. Though make sure you include regular safe exercising into their schedule. Structure the exercises carefully under Vet’s supervision and, if possible, hire a professional for the same. Besides that, for dogs suffering from Hip Dysplasia, avoid diets that can lead to obesity.
And with that, we conclude, “Yes, your Labrador puppy can climb stairs.” Once your puppy turns 4 to 5 months, you can introduce them slowly with stairs. However, ensure following the basic guidelines and do not go overboard with the teaching part. Let the dog catch things at a slow pace. And if your dog is a pacer, calm him down before you both hit the stairs.