Are You Afraid Of The Stairs?

| October 4, 2014 | 0 Comments
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Dr Zeus

Dr. Zeus

Dr. Zeus is known as BISS Am GCH Can CH Gingerbred Celestial Thunder JH, CGC by the AKC and just plain old Zeus to his friends. He has traveled far and wide in his four years. All across the US and Canada where he learned many things about being a great dog. His show career brought him to the elite of the sport and he hopes his new passion of hunting will also bring him great success. In all of his travels Zeus has met many dogs of all breeds. His insight and knowledge is how he achieved his honorary doctorate in “How to be a dog”. If you have a question for him, Zeus would happy to give you a dog’s perspective, so please send them to

labrador retriever sleeping

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Dear Dr. Zeus, I am so afraid of the stairs, especially the ones that you can see through. I haven’t had a bad experience on them, but I have just never been a fan. Is this an irrational fear? It puzzles my mom because she’s never given me a reason to not like them and she doesn’t force me to go up them. But, I still hate them? Why am I so afraid?! Stair-phobic in Washington – Indy, the Labrador Retriever

Dear Indy,

This is an interesting question. Most of the time dogs develop a phobia of stairs when in their excitement, they do not pay attention to where their legs are and take a painful tumble down a few steps. But in your case it comes down to instincts! Instinctively, dogs know that it is a bad idea to get close to edge of a cliff and, from our point of view, that’s really what stairs look like – a steep downward slope.

Most of us encounter stairs for the first time as puppies and usually need coaxing to get down them. But older dogs can be very stuck in their ways and if they encounter stairs later in life, they are much less inclined to learn to navigate them without some pressure. All they hear is their instincts telling them that they are in a dangerous situation and that going up or down that cliff could be threatening. Thus, they stay firmly planted either at the top or bottom of the stairs. This sounds like it must be your situation. So what it’s going to take for you to get over this fear, is to take it step by step, literally. Take your time conquering each step and although your instincts are there for a reason, trust that your mom is not putting you in danger.

Often when we get scared our people want to comfort us and being that we learn by association it takes about two seconds for us to realize that being afraid of something is a great bid for attention. Don’t let this be the case. Don’t use this fear as an excuse for attention, rather let your success of making it up and down the stair be the reason for attention. Hopefully your mom will give you the time and have the patience to let you work through this issue on your own!

I hope this helps Indy and that you can conquer your fear of stairs. Doing so will take you to great new heights!

Regards, Dr.  Zeus

Category : Ask Dr. Zeus

Misha Abbenhouse

About the Author ()

Being surrounded by the Great Northwest for the entirety of my life I have come to really enjoy the outdoors, loving the rain almost as much as the fleeting sunshine and all the activities that come along with it. I've always loved animals especially those of the equine and canine variety. My intense interest in dogs led me to start writing about the adventures that Indy, my black lab, and I shared. Aside from animals, I love to read and write and college really fostered this love and I now find myself being able to couple my two great loves of writing and dogs.

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