In this world, there are two types of people: those who refuse to allow their dogs on the couch or bed, and those who can’t get enough snuggles. We at Dog Quality believe there is nothing wrong with allowing your dog to climb up for a cuddle — in fact, we encourage it! However, for senior dogs, getting up on the couch or bed without assistance can be more difficult.
As dogs age, they may develop conditions such as arthritis or hip problems, making them less mobile and less likely to jump up onto the couch or into your bed. That’s where a dog ramp for high beds or couches comes in handy: it provides your pup with the necessary boost. If your senior dog has limited mobility, here’s how to teach your senior dog to use a couch or bed ramp so you can both enjoy as many cuddles as possible.
Dog Ramp or Stairs: What’s Better?
Before we begin, you may be wondering whether ramps or stairs are better for dogs. While both can be useful for making your dog’s couch, bed, or even your car more accessible, ramps are preferable for senior dogs with joint and mobility issues. A dog ramp provides a smooth, gradual rise up to your bed or couch, allowing your senior dog to get close to you in a comfortable manner. There will be no jumping or difficult stair climbing. Just a straight shot to your side.
Ramp Training for Senior Dogs
First and foremost, it is critical to remember that every dog is unique. It may take some time to train a senior dog to use a ramp, depending on his physical condition and personality. Climbing a ramp will be an unfamiliar experience for your dog. Some dogs will take to it right away, while others may experience some anxiety at first. Our Gentle Rise dog ramps, on the other hand, are extremely safe, with a safety rail and sturdy frame to provide dogs with a sense of security.
Be patient, take your time, and don’t rush your dog. We are confident that your senior dog will be more than comfortable using his new dog ramp after just a few short training sessions. What you’ll need to train your dog to use a ramp is as follows:
- A dog ramp, such as Dog Quality’s Gentle Rise ramp, for high beds or couches.
- Plenty of treats
- A leash and collar or harness (optional)
Are you prepared to teach your dog to use a bed or couch ramp? Follow these easy steps.
- Introduce Your Dog to the Ramp
Introduce your dog to the apparatus before attempting to get her to climb the ramp. Set up the ramp on your bed or couch and use treats to encourage your dog to walk around and sniff it. Before adding an incline, make sure your dog is comfortable with the ramp. You’re preparing her for success this way.
- Add an Incline
When your dog is comfortable with the ramp, try walking up to the bed or couch. Begin by leading your dog all the way to the bottom of the ramp. (The leash and collar may come in handy here.) Without hesitation, walk alongside the ramp and entice your dog to climb it with treats. You can use treats in two ways: hold them far enough away from your dog that she has to move forward to get them, or place them along the ramp so she has to keep walking to get the next treat.
Encouragement, positive reinforcement, and repetition are essential in this situation. Give your dog plenty of treats and praise if she climbs the ramp without hesitation. If she refuses to move forward, backs up, or attempts to jump off the ramp, return her to the bottom and begin again. This step may need to be repeated in 10-15 minute intervals for several days until your dog gains confidence. Keep in mind that your dog may be very nervous. While the safety rails provide security for your dog, you may choose to support her with your hands for added comfort.
- Take it Easy Going Down
It’s one thing to get your dog up the ramp, but it’s quite another to get her down. A dog’s first instinct is to jump off of furniture, but the impact on your senior dog’s joints can be painful. That is why training your dog to go down the ramp is equally important.
Follow the same steps for teaching your dog to go down as you practice going up with the steps above. As your dog walks down the ramp, support her with your hands if necessary and provide plenty of treats. Also, if you notice your dog about to jump off your bed or couch, stop her and lead her to the top of the ramp. Your senior dog will quickly realize that the ramp is the safest and most comfortable way to get down.
- Slowly Reduce Treats
Although treats are an excellent way to reinforce positive behaviors, you eventually want your dog to follow instructions without being rewarded. Once your dog has mastered using the ramp — both going up and down — gradually reduce the number of treats she receives. In no time, your dog will be using the ramp without hesitation or expectation of treats.
Our mission at COZIWOW is to improve the quality of life for senior dogs so they can age with dignity. If you’ve noticed your dog attempting to climb up to sit with you but failing, or if he has a condition that limits his mobility, it may be time to consider a dog ramp for high beds and couches. Dog ramps are the best way to give your senior dog the freedom he craves: being by your side.