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Training Your Dog to Use the PetStep Folding Ramp

Train Your Dog to Use PetStep Folding Ramp

To us humans, the goal of a pet ramp is quite obvious: to help our dogs easily and safely reach higher surfaces. Our pups don’t always think the same way. While some dogs will be gladly walking up and down the ramp with little to no training, others will find the new object anxiety-inducing and will initially resist using the ramp. That doesn’t mean your dog isn’t capable, though! If someone put an object that you’ve never seen before in your space, you’d probably be a little wary too. If your dog is a bit (or a lot) resistant to using the PetStep ramp, we have a few training steps that can help your dog confidently use the ramp in no time!

Training your dog to use the PetStep ramp can be broken down into three easy steps: 

  1. Allow your dog to become familiar with the ramp in their space
  2. Get your dog comfortable with being on the ramp 
  3. Guide your dog on the ramp until they instinctively use the ramp on their own

If your dog is a bit (or a lot) resistant to using the PetStep ramp, we have a few training steps that can help your dog confidently use the ramp in no time! 

Pet Ramps: Friend or Foe? 

While the PetStep ramp will make your dog’s life a whole lot easier, they may not initially see it that way. A new object in their environment can cause excitement and even anxiety in some dogs. The best way to get your dog comfortable with the presence of the ramp is to allow them to check it out on their own terms first.  It is best not to introduce the ramp for the first time during any situation in which your dog may be more excited or anxious than usual. Some dogs may not totally enjoy car travel, so it would be better not to introduce the ramp for the first time when getting ready to hop in the car. If that’s the case, introduce the ramp inside your home where your dog feels safe. If your dog loves the outdoors, you can place the ramp in the yard while your dog plays outside.  Start by unfolding the PetStep ramp and placing it flat on the ground. Dogs will naturally be intrigued by a new object in their environment, and will probably check it out with some sniffs. Some dogs will paw at or even walk on the ramp without needing any encouragement. Your goal here is simply to allow your dog to get used to the ramp being in their space so they will see that it is not a threat. If your dog is especially skittish or anxious, it may take a bit longer for them to accept the ramp in their space. No worries! As a dog parent, you know that training can sometimes take a little patience. 

Never Too Many Treats

Okay, maybe there can be too many treats, but using treats to get your dog comfortable with being on the ramp is usually the best option. Most dogs are food-motivated, and even if not entirely motivated by food, every dog has a favorite snack. With the next step being to get your dog comfortable with being on the ramp, treats will definitely come in handy! With the ramp still laying flat on the ground, you can place a treat or two on the surface to entice your dog to walk on the ramp to receive the treat. Some extra nervous dogs will likely still be enticed by the treats but will snatch them off the side without touching the ramp itself. In this case, you can hold the treat in your hand to lead your dog, coercing them to get a few steps on the ramp before they can enjoy their treat. Every time your dog does walk on the ramp, be sure to reward them with ample pets and praise! Once your dog seems more comfortable with being on the ramp, you can use a treat to lead them across the ramp as if they were using it at an incline. Soon, your pup may become so accustomed to the ramp’s presence that they will begin walking on it without needing a treat. Again, dogs that tend to be more anxious in new situations may take a little longer to feel safe enough to consistently walk across the ramp’s surface. Still, every time they walk on the surface will build more confidence for the next time. And the positive reinforcement from the treats and praise will always help!

On to Greater Heights

Once your dog has become comfortable with walking on the ramp on flat ground, you can transition to using the ramp for its intended purpose at an incline. Many dogs can go directly from flat ground exploration to using the ramp on your car, SUV, van, or truck. Still, this is a new activity so using some treats to guide your pup won’t hurt! You can also attach a leash to your dog to gently guide them up and down the ramp. When your dog first begins using the ramp at an incline, it always helps to build their confidence with praise (and you guessed it, treats!) every time they use the ramp. Soon, your dog will realize that the ramp is intended to give them safe and easy access to your vehicle so they will use the ramp without needing any encouragement.  For more apprehensive dogs or dogs resistant to car travel, it can be helpful to first use the ramp at a very low incline. This can be anywhere, like the step leading up to your porch or placing the ramp against your couch inside. The great thing about the PetStep ramp is that it can be used pretty much anywhere to help your dog reach higher areas. After allowing your dog to become familiar with how the ramp works at the smaller incline, it will be easier for them to use the ramp on your vehicle. That’s another benefit of the PetStep’s industry-leading dimensions. The 70” length allows for one of the most gentle ramp slopes on the market! 

Let the Adventure Begin! 

The most important thing to remember when training your dog to use a pet ramp is that all dogs learn at different paces. While one dog may need very little training and will immediately walk up and down the ramp with ease, other dogs may need a bit more time to allow them to feel safe and comfortable with the new object. Seeing your once anxious dog confidently using the ramp and expanding their world is enough to make the extra training worth it! 

If your dog is a bit (or a lot) resistant to using the PetStep ramp, we have a few training steps that can help your dog confidently use the ramp in no time! 

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