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How to get in bed.. Ramp training for a Senior Dog

senior dog on the couch
grigri, a senior dog, enjoying life on the couch

When your dog is growing older they will have difficulties to jump on the couch or bed. To keep them safe, it's a good idea to invest in a good dog ramp.

I prefer a ramp instead of doggy stairs, so they can keep using it even if they would get joint and mobility problems when they get older.

First,. yes.., you can teach an old dog new tricks.

So how to start the training ? What do you need besides lots and lots of treats ?

A dog.. preferably your own :) .. a dog ramp, maybe you can use a leash (but that is optional) and treats...

Be patient, start slow and don’t rush your dog.

Encouragement, positive reinforcement and repetition is key.

Before you start, introduce the ramp to the dog

With the ramp set up on your bed or couch, use treats to encourage your senior dog to walk around it and sniff it. It’s important to help your dog get comfortable with the ramp. That way, you’re setting them up for success.

Once your dog is familiar with it, it’s time to try walking up to the bed or couch. Start by leading your dog to the bottom of the ramp. (This is where the leash may come in handy.) Without hesitating, walk beside the ramp and lure your dog up with treats. You can use treats in two ways: by holding the treat far enough away from your dog so he has to move forward to get it, or by placing treats along the ramp so he has to keep walking to get the next treat.

Take it Easy Going Down

A dog’s first instinct is to jump off, but the impact can be hard on your senior dog’s joints. That’s why it’s just as important to train your dog to go down the ramp.

Follow the same steps for teaching your dog to go down. Support them with your hands if necessary and give plenty of treats as your dog walks down the ramp. If at any time you notice your dog is about to jump down from your bed or couch, interrupt them and lead him to the top of the ramp. Your senior dog will learn that the ramp is the safest, most comfortable way to get down.

I would suggest to remove the ramp when your dog is alone till you are comfortable they can safely use it. I am sure they have plenty of other beds to sleep on.


a 'Senior Dog' mom-O-Holic

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