I have a 7 pound Yorkie with a ton of energy. Our house has hard wood floors and our bed is pretty high up so we have pet stairs by that and the couch.

Probably about 3 out of 4 times he just jumps right over them. I've even tried moving the steps out a little further, but he just jumps further.

He's actually made a crying/whimpering sound when hitting the ground a few times and I know that this breed often has hip problems. He's still young but I want to keep his hips healthy and I don't know how to get him to use the steps. He's not afraid of them or anything, he just doesn't think.

Does anyone have a suggestion for how I could get him to use the steps when he needs to get down off the bed/couch?

Thank you

3 Answers 3


For every time he jumps off, pick him up and put him back on the steps until he finally walks down properly. Repeat this as many times as it possibly takes.

Hope this helps!


It sounds like he needs encouraging

Place the dog in the middle of the stairs. Put a treat on the top step only, and encourage him if/when he decides to walk up the remainder of the steps. If you want him to go down the stairs, repeat the process above except place him on the stairs facing downwards, with the treat on the first step

Eventually, you can train the need for treats out of the equation and simply place him on the steps once he gets the gist of what he's supposed to do.

The next step is to keep him calm when approaching the steps. Once he realizes what he needs to do, accompany him to the couch or bed. Repeating easily a few times can sometimes help.

Guiding him (with a treat in hand) can redirect his focus and energy to the stairs and once he gets the hang of this, he can hopefully start to use the stairs on his own.

I have a Shih Tzu at home and I used this process to help her use her dog stairs. It took 2 attempts but it works and she uses them regularly. Best of luck!


Put treats on every rung and on top destination.

I have a shih tzu. We have doggy stairs around our house. He used to be scared to use them, so we used treats on the stairs to incentivize him.

If you don't think the treats will work, perhaps you can reward them some other way (happy proud parent tone and lots of chin stroking) when they use the stairs. Another option could have another dog or child (be aware of the weight limit of the stairs) do it the right way.

  • Thank you, your advice seems really good, but in practice I'm not sure how it would work. It's usually when I'm waking up in the morning - he wakes up at the same time and gets excited and practically dives off the bed. I suppose maybe to reinforce the fact that those stairs DO exist and get him comfortable using them, but he jumps down as more of a reaction and doesn't think about it. I will try that, thank you! Jun 16, 2015 at 18:10
  • I have a shih tzu. We have doggy stairs around our house. He used to be scared to use them. How do you incentivize them the first time? Well if you don't think the treats will work perhaps you can reward them some other way (happy proud parent tone and lots of chin stroking) when they achieve it. Other option could have another dog or child (under 75 lb if that's the stair limit) do it the right way. Good luck! I love pet stairs!!! Gives so much freedom to small dogs and they deserve to be able to use the bed and couch
    – Maximin
    Jun 16, 2015 at 19:54
  • Yeah - he will use them if he stops to think for a second. He's not afraid of them, he's just too reactive. He will go from 0-100 on the energy scale in less than 1 second, and just jumps right away. He doesn't realize how small he is and that he's hurting himself when he jumps. He actually cries sometimes when he hits the ground, perhaps the real answer is getting his energy managed better. Thanks again Jun 17, 2015 at 22:12

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