Being able to walk up and down stairs is a concern that most dog owners overlook when they bring a puppy home.
But when your tiny puppy is half the size of a single stair, an entire flight of them can be a daunting challenge.
Cavapoo puppies can walk up and down stairs with your guidance from 12 weeks old. You shouldn’t allow them to use the stairs on their own until they reach adolescence (around eight months old) due to the safety risk.
Today we’re looking into why you shouldn’t let your Cavapoo puppy on the stairs alone and how you can train them to safely get from one floor to the other.
The Dangers Of Stairs With Puppies
Stairs offer a real hazard for puppies due to their small legs. On average, a Cavapoo puppy will be between 4.5 and 7 inches tall at their youngest.
The average height of a single stair is between 6.25 and 7.8 inches. This means that it is entirely possible your puppy will be smaller than one single stair!
But why does this matter? Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t allow your Cavapoo puppy to climb stairs alone.
Stairs Can Damage Joints
If your Cavapoo puppy is jumping down an entire flight of stairs, the impact is bound to do some damage to its joints. It can put unnecessary pressure on their limbs which can lead to pain in the future.
Puppies are fragile compared to older dogs, and they often have loose joints. While unlikely, your Cavapoo puppy only needs to suffer one bad landing for a severe injury to occur.
While your puppy might not look in pain while they’re young, the damage done to their joints in their youth could come back to bite you in their adulthood.
Not only will your dog be suffering from avoidable pain, but you’ll also have higher vet bills due to constant visits.
The Falling Risk
The main issue with stairs is the risk of your Cavapoo puppy falling to the bottom of the flight.
Depending on how far they manage to climb, a fall from this height could be detrimental to their health and well-being. Falling while going down the stairs is even more likely for small puppies who only weigh a few pounds.
It’s often seen by vets that puppies have fallen right from the top of a flight of stairs because they have miscalculated their jumps.
As their snout is likely to be the first thing to make contact with the floor below them, this can cause all sorts of issues for their teeth and skulls.
How To Train Your Cavapoo To Climb Stairs
It is natural for Cavapoos to learn how to use the stairs on their own – it doesn’t take much for them to work out that they need to jump up each platform.
You’ll very rarely get a dog that reaches adulthood without knowing how to climb stairs.
However, just because they know how to climb the stairs doesn’t mean that you should allow them to do so without proper training. You should monitor them throughout their training to ensure that they are climbing the stairs safely, and be there to catch them should they slip.
Start stairs training from around 12 weeks old. They’ll already be a little larger than they were when you first welcomed them home, so they shouldn’t find the stairs so challenging.
Demonstrate how to climb a few stairs at once, offer treats as an incentive, and encourage them to meet you on a higher stair. A split flight of stairs is often best as there aren’t so many stairs for them to climb, resulting in a less daunting training session.
Sit on a step just out of your dog’s reach so that they want to follow you. If you have someone else around to help, have them wait behind your puppy so that they can catch them if they fall.
Put a treat on each stair between you for even more incentive to jump up. Continue offering plenty of encouragement and positive reinforcement while they work it out themselves.
Remember that climbing stairs is very taxing on those little legs, so keep your training sessions to just a few minutes at a time. This will prevent them from overexerting themselves and suffering a tired-induced injury.
Can You Teach A Puppy To Walk Down Stairs?
While you can, in theory, teach a puppy how to walk downstairs, it is much more dangerous than learning to climb up. Gravity is not on your dog’s side here, and one misstep could lead to a long fall.
If you want to teach your dog how to walk downstairs, we would recommend using a leash.
This keeps them close to you and gives you more control of their movements so they’re less likely to slip in the first place.
Letting Cavapoos Use Stairs Alone
Most vets and pet owners would recommend that you don’t allow your dog to walk up and down stairs alone at all.
While they’ll learn to have more control over their bodies as they mature, it still only takes one wrong move for them to fall and hurt themselves.
However, if you want to become more lenient with their stair use, you should wait until they have reached their adult size before doing so. Cavapoos tend to reach their final height and weight between 7.5 and 11 months.
Most people consider adolescence to begin at 8 months, so this is when it is considered safer for them to climb the stairs alone.
If you wanted to allow them access to the entire house constantly, we would recommend that you place softer flooring at the bottom of your stairs. This will cushion the blow somewhat, should they slip and fall.
Preventing Your Cavapoo Puppy From Using The Stairs
If you don’t want to risk your dog climbing the stairs, there are several things you can do to prevent them from climbing them.
Doggy gates at the top and bottom of the stairs will put a barrier between your dog and the stairs.
They will only be able to reach them when you are present to open the gate. This is a great way to ensure that they still learn to use the stairs while supervised.
The only issue with this is if your dog tries to jump the gate and injures itself.
Another option is to simply carry them up the stairs. Cavapoos only reach between 8 and 25 pounds, so they’re more than light enough to carry them up a quick flight of stairs.
We hope that our article has given you some insight into the dangers of stairs for Cavapoo puppies and how to train them the right way.
Many owners don’t think that the risk is worth it of allowing their puppy to use the stairs, so they’ll simply carry them instead.
You can begin stairs training at around 12 weeks, but you should wait until they’ve reached their adult size before allowing them to use the stairs unattended.
See what ways you can train your Cavapoo puppy around the house: