Your puppy has the stubborn conviction that he absolutely must explore the next floor up, but you're adamant that he must remain downstairs. Sound familiar? If so, don't worry! With proper training as well as a few house adjustments, you can prevent him from climbing up to the forbidden floor.
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Tip #1 - Set a puppy gate at the bottom of the stairs, not the top. If you put it at the top, all you're saying is that it's OK to climb but he can't enjoy whatever magical rewards are hiding on the second floor. By setting the gate at the bottom, you're taking the actual stairs out of the equation and making the experience a lot less exciting, so puppy can focus on something else.
Tip #2 - Keep all "interesting" things downstairs. That means no bringing food upstairs, no taking puppy toys to the second floor and don't let the cat go to sleep in the upstairs bedroom. The more interesting and magical the second floor is, the more your puppy will want to be a part of it.
Tip #3 - Yelling "no" at a pup is only effective if he knows what it means -- and if he understands that you mean business when you say it. Start training your puppy on basic commands like "no" and "stop" as early as possible. Use them with simple things first -- for example, to teach him not to chew on your shoes -- rather than with something he desperately wants, like climbing the stairs. Once he's mastered the "no" command, he's more likely to obey it even for things like climbing or reaching for something that's almost irresistible.
Tip #4 - Teach Puppy boundaries by closing doors and containing him to a certain area of the house, even when you're home. Giving a puppy free reign of the house (even in areas where he's generally allowed) can be a recipe for disaster, as it emboldens him to explore everywhere and he's likely to get into all sorts of trouble when unsupervised. When you leave the house, confine him to a single area, such as the kitchen or the utility room, or put him into a crate so he stays away from trouble.
By Tammy Dray
About the Author
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.