An Easy Way to Prevent Dogs From Going Up Stairs

By Laura Payne

Your dog probably loves you as much or more than you love him, and he most likely wants to follow you everywhere you go. If you like to have your bedroom to yourself at night, you might want to keep your dog from going up stairs. You also might want to prevent him from going upstairs to keep one level of your house fur-free or perhaps he's getting older and the stairs are becoming a challenge. Whatever the reason, there are some simple deterrents you can use to keep him from heading up those stairs.

Pet-Safe Gates

Install a pet-safe gate at the base of the stairs. There are several different types of pet-safe gates available at pet stores and online. Some gates are screwed in, and some rely on tension to stay in place. Gates with one-touch, walk through openings cost a bit more, but you may find the convenience worth it.

Carpet Runners

Place pieces of plastic carpet runner, pointy side up, on the first four or five steps, and your dog most likely will avoid walking up the stairs. Dogs do not like the feeling of the sharp points on their pads.


Dogs also don't like startling sounds. Put sheets of tinfoil on the first several steps, and when your dog steps on the foil, the sound will cause him to back away from the stairs.

Shelf Liner

Lay pieces of shelf liner with the sticky side up or double-stick tape on four or five steps. The stickiness is another texture that dogs do not like and will avoid.

Combine Deterrents

You can even use a pet-safe gate and one of the other deterrents together. Place the gate at the bottom of the stairs and carpet runner, tinfoil or shelf liner in front of the gate. This will send your dog the message that he shouldn't even get close to the stairs.

Verbal Deterrents and Rewards

Choose a signal phrase, such as no stairs, to use as a deterrent so your dog can learn what you expect from him. When he approaches the stairs speak your signal phrase and distract him. After he walks away, reward him with a small treat. He will soon know what the stairs are and that he should not go upstairs.

Start training your dog not to go upstairs from the day you bring him home, and be consistent. If you let him go upstairs on some occasions and not others, it will confuse him. Once your dog has learned his boundaries, he will know not to go upstairs even if you remove the physical deterrents.