Dog ramps are a great innovation that take the strain off of your pet's joints and bones. They're commonly used with older dogs who have harder times getting around. However, ramps also keep young and healthy animals from getting sprains while jumping into a vehicle.
One of the best features of dog ramps for trucks, crates, and boats is that they are intuitive for your pet to use. Here's the simple process for introducing your dog to the ramp:
Your first step is to make sure the ramp is securely installed. If it slips or collapses, your pet could be injured and lose trust in the device. Before your dog starts up the ramp, make sure you have a foot placed in front of one of the legs for extra security, especially when a new or very fast dog is using the ramp.
Introduce your dog to the new device by drawing his attention to it. Let him investigate and sniff the ramp. See if he's willing to walk to the top by calling his name and using your normal command for entering the truck bed, except direct him to the ramp with his leash. Some dogs will immediately figure out the system and go for it. If they do, give praise and treats as appropriate.
What if your dog's a little nervous? In that case, you'll have to take it step by step.
● One Step At a Time
Nervous dogs or older dogs with poor vision and sense of balance may hesitate to go up the ramp. Don't force him. That will build negative associations with the ramp. Instead, coax your dog to put one paw on the ramp, then a second paw and so on. Use praise and petting to help them relax.
Use treats to reward your dog for using the ramp, placing the treats at intervals leading to the top of the ramp so they get a little extra incentive to use the ramp.
If you have a very timid or fearful dog, you may need to place the ramp flat on the ground for a time to allow the dog to become accustomed to the ramp. Place it in a safe area and encourage the dog to walk over it with treats and lots of praise. After the dog is no longer reacting to the ramp with fear, try the methods outlined above to encourage your dog to use the ramp.
● Practice Makes Perfect
Yes, you can teach even old, stubborn dogs new tricks! Repetition is key here. Practice with the ramp every day, giving your dog a break if he seems overwhelmed. Soon he'll be striding up the Dogs-Up Ramp like a pro.
For more information check out our YouTube videos where Duane shows using the Dogs-Up Ramp in a variety of set-ups with three different dogs:
Ramps For Every Dog
At Canvasworks, we have a number of sizes of comfortable and durable dog ramps for trucks and other situations. Not sure which one to order for your dog? Contact us at 320-559-0165 and we can help you get the right measurements.