For pet owners, no time is better spent than time spent with your dog. They’re our ever present companions, it’s no coincidence they’ve earned the title, “Man’s Best Friend”. As our best friends most of us enjoy being active with our dogs and take them anywhere they’re allowed to be by our side. This means traveling, which means your dog needs to get in and out of vehicles. As agile as most dogs are for most of their lives this activity can actually cause quite a bit of damage. Repetitive stress is a leading cause of joint damage and early onset arthritis. A slip while jumping up or down can cause serious and very costly injuries to knees and elbows. For senior dogs, getting in and out of a vehicle is even more dangerous and can be impossible if the vehicle is too high or the dog has arthritis.


So what’s the solution to this problem? You could lift your dog in and out of the vehicle yourself. If your dogs are small that is a workable solution, but if they are larger or you suffer from health concerns, lifting a dog into a vehicle can become difficult or dangerous for you as well. A better solution is to use a dog ramp to help your dog in and out of the vehicle.  


In this blog entry, we’ll talk about how our team at Canvasworks in Cokato, MN can help make your dog’s life, as well as yours, easier with our Dogs-Up Ramps. We’ll also review some quick training tips to make using your new ramp as stress free as possible for both you and your dog.


A Leg Up for Busy Dogs


Duane invented the original Dogs-Up Ramp when he was faced with an unexpectedly large dog. He enjoys training for field trials, so he has a dog box in the bed of his truck to store all his gear and transport the dogs. Prior to this dog he’d done things the way most people do and lifted his dogs in and out of the boxes.


Unfortunately for Duane, the new dog, Jake, ended up being quite a bit larger than expected. This made getting him in and out of the dog box on top of the truck hard on Duane and not so enjoyable for Jake. Letting Jake jump in and out of the box wasn’t a solution, Duane was well aware of the risks he’d be taking with Jake’s health. Other ramps were bulky, difficult to use, or the dogs just plain didn’t want to use them. So Duane decided to use his experience working as the co-owner of Canvasworks Inc creating boat cover, awnings, and other custom fabrication products to create the first Dogs-Up Ramp. The rest is history!



A dog using a ramp to get into a truck

This is one the original Dogs-Up Ramps developed by Duane being used by his dog, Ace.


The Dogs-Up difference lies in its construction, the heavy walled, yet lightweight aluminum frame easily stands up to the largest of dogs, yet is still the lightest weight ramp on the market at less than 8.5 pounds. The body of the ramp is made up of marine fabric and carpet, giving the dog a familiar carpet surface to walk up while providing traction. An added advantage of using marine fabrics is their durability and ability to be easily cleaned.


If you’re concerned about your dog’s willingness to use a ramp, you may be surprised to see how quickly he or she adapts. In fact, most dogs learn to use them in just a few short tries. Read on for some quick training tips to help your dog get used to your new ramp.


Training Your Dog to Use a Ramp

Training your dog to use a Dogs-Up Ramp is like anything else you train your dog to do. The key lies in keeping the experience stress free and making sure your dog understands what it is being asked to do. If your dog is already well trained it may surprise you by going up the ramp easily the first time. So the very first thing you should do is give your dog a chance to use the ramp. Set it up securely, following Duane’s advice in our videos here, and give your dog whatever cue you usually use to tell it to get into the vehicle. If he or she goes up easily, great. If they hesitate, act fearful, or are untrained follow the advice below to easily train your dog to use your new Dogs-Up Ramp.


First you will want to let your pup check out the ramp. Lay the ramp on the ground and allow your dog to sniff the ramp. If they’re comfortable walking on the ramp, let them do so. However, if the ramps makes them nervous, don’t force the issue. Instead, you’ll want to encourage your dog to walk on the flat ramp. Walk on the ramp yourself to show your dog that they have nothing to fear. Give them treats for touching the ramp or getting closer to it. You can also try playing with your dog around the ramp and praising them whenever they get closer to it. If your dog is clicker trained this is a great opportunity to put those skills to use. 


Once your dog is comfortable with the ramp on the ground you can set the ramp up so that it is at an angle. Depending on the dog and its level of comfort with the ramp you may need to set it at a lower angle than its intended use. It’s important to use a gradual approach so as not to scare them off of the ramp. Make sure that you are setting the ramp up on something that is sturdy and safe for the dog to stand on.


At this point you will want to make sure your dog is on a leash. This is to control their movement so they don’t run up the ramp too quickly, possibly causing issues with stability. Make sure you place your foot at the base of the ramp, right next to one of the legs, to ensure that the ramp doesn’t move when the dog is going up and down the ramp.


Here are a few more things to remember while training your dog to use your new ramp:

●        Make sure you are using a specific cue to signal your dog to go up the ramp. Using a cue you already use to signal them to get into the vehicle is perfect.

●        Positive reinforcement is key. Don’t ruin the hard work you’ve already done by intimidating your dog now.

●        Keep your dog under control as they go up and down the ramp. Speeding up and down or jumping off the ramp makes it more likely they will get hurt or scared if the ramp moves.

●        Practice makes perfect, but don’t spend too much time in any one session working with the ramp. Short sessions until your dog has it down make it less likely your dog will associate the ramp with stress.


If you’ve taken your time your dog should happily use your new Dogs-Up Ramp for many years to come. Saving their joints and your back in the process!


Order your Dogs-Up Ramp Today!


Whether you’re in need of a ramp to help your working dog climb safely into your truck, you’re helping a therapy dog, or you’re offering your senior pet relief, we can help. We also manufacture bird bags, duck hoods, and holding blinds for your dog training needs. Give us a call to learn more at 320-559-0165 or contact us to find out about additional options for training your working pet.