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How to train your dog to mount escalators quickly and safely?

author Lucy Byrne | Care and raising

When moving around the city, whether it’s the city public transport or shopping malls, where dogs are usually allowed today, most dogs will inevitably encounter escalators. Overcoming the escalators, as well as any other barriers that are unnatural for our four-legged canine sidekicks, can oftentimes be an issue. An escalator still constitutes an obstacle for the dog, that he can learn to overcome. However, it’s necessary to gradually get him used to it first. The movement on escalators will then be safe and won’t stress you or him.

If you have a little puppy that you’d like to get used to the city environment and travelling from an early age, you won’t be able to avoid an escalator. But first, consider if the dog is not too small, so that it was not dangerous for him or that it wouldn’t cause him an unnecessary bock for a lifetime. You can always take a little puppy in your arms or put it in a dog bag. The advantage of that is, that he will get familiar with the noise the escalator makes without being confronted with boarding and exiting from the escalator.

As soon as the dog masters the basic commands and walking on a leash, it’s the right time to set out for training. First, you need to select a less noisy and shorter escalator, on which he is not threatened by an injury and which are not too busy. Before you start to practice the riding itself, make sure that the dog’s collar is well fastened. Chasing an animal around a station vestibule is an experience that you should rather avoid, trust me:). Pick such a leash that will allow your dog to freely move by your foot, but at the same time, he won’t be able to run away from you.

Gradually make the dog familiar with escalators. Head towards the escalator, but don’t rush anywhere. The dog doesn’t have to keep directly at your foot, let him choose his own pace. Once the dog sees the stairs and starts to slow down, motivate him with treats. Make one or two steps and then repeat the whole action several times from the beginning. Combine it with several basic commands and reward him. Don’t push the dog to board the escalator and give him enough time to get to know the environment.

Board the escalator only when the dog isn’t afraid to come close. Board it at the same time together with your dog. It may happen that the dog will stop at the last minute. In such case, it’s better to repeat the whole boarding ritual from the beginning. As soon as you succeed in boarding and both you and your dog are on the escalator :), immediately reward him and praise him. Don't be afraid to overdo it a little. The dog needs to learn, that all this is connected with a positive experience and master’s joy.

When the dog already manages to ride the escalator, you can command him to sit. Pay attention not only to the tail, to prevent the hairs from getting in between the stairs, but also to the whole of the paws and claws. When exiting, loosen the dog’s leash a little bit. As soon as the last stairs approach, my dog literally rushes off and he could unnecessarily hurt his neck, if I held him on too short of a leash. Although most dogs can handle exiting from the escalators much more elegantly, it does not hurt to think about it:).

Finally, only a couple of personal tips. Prepare a lot of treats. Rather train in two, ask one of your friends, ideally a dog owner. Prepare more time for it. There are dogs who won’t have any issue with it and you’ll be able to make it to the train to your grandma. But others will need more time to get used to it. If they can handle escalators, they can do almost anything:).

How was your first ride with a dog on an escalator? Can he handle it without greater trouble or do you prefer taking the stairs? Have you got any proven tips that you’d like to share?