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Winnie has just started doing this over the last few days. When she wakes up in the morning and comes out of her crate she doesn't want to come downstairs to go out. She sits at the top of the stairs and watches while we get our shoes and coats on to go out. We try all sorts of ways to get her to come down. This morning we tried going out of the front door in an attempt to make her think we have left without her. Then she will come down. She wants to go for a walk as when we put the harness on she is at the front door waiting for it to open and is raring to go. We can get her some of the way down with a toy or a treat to lure her but stops about half way. She doesn't seem scared of anything. What could be going on here? Also she used to dash out of the back door when one of us went out to the garden or garage but now she just sits inside by the open door. If I said to her 'mummy's going to the garage are you coming?' she would dash out in excitement as she knows that's where I keep all her treat boxes and she likes to sniff them. Now she doesn't want to go out and if I leave her behind she will paw at the door. If I go back and open it then she dashes out like she used to but why doesn't she want to come out the first time anymore? I feel like I'm constantly persuading her when I know she wants to go anyway.
 

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Has something happened on the stairs or outside or in the doorway? Possibly as simple as dropping keys or a bag, catching her tail in the door, or stepping on a toe, or a loud noise while she was outside - it can take very little to make a pup of her age wary.

I would try to pin down exactly where her reluctance lies - Bottom of the stairs? Just before the door? Actually going through the door? Just outside the door? Once you know, play lots of silly games, making it fun and exciting and above all safe. If she is worried about going through the door open it wide and stand in the space so there is no chance of it blowing back; if it is something outside go out and check, and then let her know all is well.

Poppy still gets anxious if I have both the front and back doors open at once, as the through draft has caused internal doors to bang shut in the past.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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Winnie is about 7-8 months old? She sounds like a normal teenager poodle. Her behavior is changing as she matures, and she's learning how to train you to get what she wants. From what you've written, she isn't scared or in pain, and when she wants to come downstairs or go outside, she does so without hesitation. Investigate FJM's concerns above, but if all is well, then she's fine. She's just making a different choice than she used to, and you need to train the response that you want.

Re: the stairs, she may have decided that it's fun to sit at the top of the stairs and watch all the humans beneath her scurry around; it sounds like my old male who would sit on our elevated deck and watch the squirrels and birds carry out their lives (we called him "Mr Mayor"). I don't see any harm in this.

Re: the door, that she is no longer rushing out the door sounds safer to me, and perhaps something you want to train. Many people insist that the dog go follow the person through the door, so the person can spot any potential trouble and protect the dog. But you should also train a command where she knows it's time to exit the house with you. Maybe that command will be, 'mummy's going to the garage are you coming?' Or maybe that command will be 'let's go!' It's up to you.

But basically, you're encountering a teenager whose behavior will change from week to week, and now is the time to focus on the behaviors you want and keep your training steady.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Has something happened on the stairs or outside or in the doorway? Possibly as simple as dropping keys or a bag, catching her tail in the door, or stepping on a toe, or a loud noise while she was outside - it can take very little to make a pup of her age wary.

I would try to pin down exactly where her reluctance lies - Bottom of the stairs? Just before the door? Actually going through the door? Just outside the door? Once you know, play lots of silly games, making it fun and exciting and above all safe. If she is worried about going through the door open it wide and stand in the space so there is no chance of it blowing back; if it is something outside go out and check, and then let her know all is well.

Poppy still gets anxious if I have both the front and back doors open at once, as the through draft has caused internal doors to bang shut in the past.
Not that I can recall. With regards to the stairs she is happy to go up and down them during the day, will follow me endlessly and sometimes when she suddenly disappears and I call her, I can see her little head pop through the bannister where she wondered upstairs by herself to explore. If I call her she will come down every time. It literally is first thing in the morning only. She used to bounce downstairs ready to go out for her pee but now its constant persuading. Once she is down then all is well for the rest of the day. I can't imagine why it would only be then as you would think she needs to get out to pee after being in the crate all night. With regards to the back door I hold it wide open and she won't budge. I can walk right around the corner of the house and she wont come whereas before she was running ahead of me. If I shut the door on her and walk away THEN she wants to come out. It is now taking my husband to walk up behind her and say 'out' and this will get her moving without me going backwards and forwards. I genuinely can't think of anything that has happened to cause her reluctance.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Winnie is about 7-8 months old? She sounds like a normal teenager poodle. Her behavior is changing as she matures, and she's learning how to train you to get what she wants. From what you've written, she isn't scared or in pain, and when she wants to come downstairs or go outside, she does so without hesitation. Investigate FJM's concerns above, but if all is well, then she's fine. She's just making a different choice than she used to, and you need to train the response that you want.

Re: the stairs, she may have decided that it's fun to sit at the top of the stairs and watch all the humans beneath her scurry around; it sounds like my old male who would sit on our elevated deck and watch the squirrels and birds carry out their lives (we called him "Mr Mayor"). I don't see any harm in this.

Re: the door, that she is no longer rushing out the door sounds safer to me, and perhaps something you want to train. Many people insist that the dog go follow the person through the door, so the person can spot any potential trouble and protect the dog. But you should also train a command where she knows it's time to exit the house with you. Maybe that command will be, 'mummy's going to the garage are you coming?' Or maybe that command will be 'let's go!' It's up to you.

But basically, you're encountering a teenager whose behavior will change from week to week, and now is the time to focus on the behaviors you want and keep your training steady.
Aha, so could this be the adolescence that I have been waiting for?
 

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Renn would always happily go up our stairs but not down. He just stood there looking down. From his perspective ,I am sure he saw a long narrow steep incline. think poodle head and placement of eyes. For sometime I didn't allow him to come up the stairs as it was an ordeal to get a 68 lbs dog back down. LOL. A few months back up he went and I had a leash on him coming down, for some reason it made him feel more secure, took about two times and now all is good. Perhaps she has just grown some and the stairs are looking a bit different. Try the leash and walking slowly down and she may just feel secure enough again.
 

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It could be that she doesn’t need to go out to pee right away. It’s possible that she would prefer to eat breakfast first, then go out to potty. Especially if she’s happy to go down the stairs to go outside at other times.

She’s old enough to have control of her bladder. If she doesn’t drink in the evening and has a “before bed potty”, her bladder may not be that full so she can easily hold it until after breakfast. That refusing to come downstairs maybe her communicating that she doesn’t need to potty. How long does she take to potty in the morning? Does she look like a dog in a rush to empty a full bladder? Does she dawdle, sniff, shop around for the best spot? Is is a long pee, or a short piddle

My minipoo prefers to eat breakfast and is happy to wait until we finish breakfast. Even when we get her outside she’s very fussy to find the perfect spot to pee which could be a block away. If it’s raining miserably, she’s happy to wait until noon for her first potty. It took us awhile to figure this out.
 

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Try the leash and walking slowly down and she may just feel secure enough again.
I was going to suggest this too.

That refusing to come downstairs maybe her communicating that she doesn’t need to potty.
Definitely possible. It would be cool if you could learn how to train her to use a bell ringer when she has to potty. YouTube has some videos and there are some older threads on how to do that; maybe some members who know will see this thread and share some links.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It could be that she doesn’t need to go out to pee right away. It’s possible that she would prefer to eat breakfast first, then go out to potty. Especially if she’s happy to go down the stairs to go outside at other times.

She’s old enough to have control of her bladder. If she doesn’t drink in the evening and has a “before bed potty”, her bladder may not be that full so she can easily hold it until after breakfast. That refusing to come downstairs maybe her communicating that she doesn’t need to potty. How long does she take to potty in the morning? Does she look like a dog in a rush to empty a full bladder? Does she dawdle, sniff, shop around for the best spot? Is is a long pee, or a short piddle

My minipoo prefers to eat breakfast and is happy to wait until we finish breakfast. Even when we get her outside she’s very fussy to find the perfect spot to pee which could be a block away. If it’s raining miserably, she’s happy to wait until noon for her first potty. It took us awhile to figure this out.
Well when we finally get her outside she does is pee on the grass verge outside in a suitable spot or if we put her in the garden she pees on the lawn. She isn't a great one for breakfast to be honest, she will pick at it until she is ready to finish it off about 20 minutes after the bowl goes down. She is great at letting us know when she needs to pee and this has only started happening in the last few days. It probably is a bit of adolescent behaviour as suggested by Liz.
 

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He may just not be ready to get going in the morning. Zephyr usually doesn't get up when I do. I just go about my business and at some point he will come in and ask for petting. Then I give him his breakfast, which he may or may not eat, and let him outside.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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If something hasn’t scared her, it might be the opposite. Did someone perhaps reward her for waiting at the stairs or the door at some point? I inadvertently taught Peggy to automatically wait at our backdoor, and I, too, was getting rather exasperated by her slamming on the brakes at the threshold. Then I realized what I’d done and that she was actually being a very good girl. Oops. Sorry, Peggy!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If something hasn’t scared her, it might be the opposite. Did someone perhaps reward her for waiting at the stairs or the door at some point? I inadvertently taught Peggy to automatically wait at our backdoor, and I, too, was getting rather exasperated by her slamming on the brakes at the threshold. Then I realized what I’d done and that she was actually being a very good girl. Oops. Sorry, Peggy!
If I did then I'm not aware of it. She definitely is not scared. I am training her not to run out of the front door when it's open. Although she is not allowed to sit by the front door and she has to sit and wait a few metres away. I wonder if she is applying this to the back door? Although I have never done this at the back door and circumstances are totally different as usually its a delivery coming through the front door.
 

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Hi, thought I'd chime in. Not sure how old or what size Winnie is, but we had a dog (Brussels Griffon) a while back exhibit similar behaviors and it was the start of patella problems. We encouraged him to jump and go up and down stairs (terrible mistake) and the luxation eventually resulted in 2 costly surgeries. I would suggest getting her knees and hips checked out by a vet. Just my 2 cents. We greatly regret not catching our dog's symptoms, but as others say, it could easily be behavioral.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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If I did then I'm not aware of it. She definitely is not scared. I am training her not to run out of the front door when it's open. Although she is not allowed to sit by the front door and she has to sit and wait a few metres away. I wonder if she is applying this to the back door? Although I have never done this at the back door and circumstances are totally different as usually its a delivery coming through the front door.
I know that, generally speaking, dogs aren’t great at generalizing. But Peggy can surprise me sometimes in this regard! And I think that very well might be what’s happening with Winnie.

A dog that automatically pauses at stairs and doorways is a good thing, in my opinion. But try working on a consistent release word, followed by a reward.
 
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