Should a GSD puppy be carried up and down stairs - if so until what age?
Hi! Where I live there are 3 flights of concrete steps up to the entrance - each flight has around 12 steps (36 in total).
We are about to buy a gsd puppy and I am worried about his hips and wondering at what age he should be allowed to walk up or down the stairs by himself when we go out for walks etc.
Also are there any potential problems that I should be aware of with regards to carrying him? Total German Shepherd
As far as steps go, an older GSD puppy or adult GSD (not a senior one) should have no problems getting up and down these once it has mastered them a time or two.
That said, a very young puppy might need some help being carried up and down them until it develops enough muscle mass and agility and coordination to clear them. Maybe try building them up to a floor at a time. Rest. Then try a few more stairs. Rest.
Carry young puppies if you need to part of the way but I wouldn't carry it the whole way unless it was very, very young. Once it masters a few stairs, or even one flight of steps well, try adding a few steps on the next trip.
Take your time - it's not a race - unless your puppy has to go - and in that case you'll definitely need to get a head start on potty time so you'll have enough time to get all the way down there before the puppy has "to go".
Either way, you don't want to have to carry a 90 pound GSD up or down anything if you don't have to - much less 3 flights of stairs - so train your dog how to use the stairs right from the get go.
It's not impossible to work past having 3 flights of stairs to contend with, but it will take some planning and a built in amount of leeway time. Just think if you had to go down 3 flights of stairs every time you had to go to the bathroom - it could be a drag but you'd get used to it eventually.
German shepherds are athletic dogs and the steps shouldn't be a big deal for a healthy dog but it might be an issue for a sick or elderly dog - something to keep in mind. And teaching any dog how to use steps is a great idea for every dog because not all know how to do it. So go for it! Stairs shouldn't be an issue.