A Simple Set of Stairs For Your Dog
How would you like to make a simple and affordable set of stairs for your dog? I have old Siberian Huskies and one problem is their ability to get in and out of the back of the truck. We looked around at different types of stairs, then one day I came up with an idea. This simple set of stairs works with the back of a pickup truck or you can use it to load your dog into the front of your vehicle. I use this design to stand on myself and to walk into the back of the truck. It is lightweight and comes with built in carry handles.
What you need:
- Six plastic crates (eg: milk crates as similar to each other as possible) with as many holes in the sides as possible.
- Two thin pieces of plywood/plastic sheeting.
- Carpet or foam mats.
- Cable ties (preferably heavy duty)
- Measuring tape
- Scissors to cut cable ties, carpet or foam mats.
Place the crates on the ground and stack them one on top of the other, similar to lego blocks. Stack them to just under the tail gate of your vehicle. Putting it higher then the tailgate will make the dog uncomfortable and afraid, especially if you are dealing with old dogs or dogs who have undergone surgery. Keeping in mind old dogs do not see as well as they use to. The idea is to make the stairs as stable and reliable as can be, remember to always take care when loading your dogs.
Now that you have the height and number of crates figured out, its time to tie it all together. I used two layers of crates for the height of my trucks tailgate, with a total of six crates for a two step set of stairs. Two crates wide by one crate tall.
Lay the base layer of crates lay side by side, two wide by two deep, the top step will be two side by side, ontop of the base layer. I can reach just below the tailgate with two layers or steps. This is a very flexible way to build stairs for the dogs, if you have to make the bottom rows wider then do so.
Next tie the crates together with the cable ties, place them wherever you can find a place to tie the crates together. Try to put the ties close to the edges of the crates and in the middle. This is easier to do if the crates are upside down. If the holes on the crates do not line up then use the drill to make holes where you need them. The great thing about this system is you can add width or height even after it is all put together.Cable ties arinexpensive so add as many as you feel is necessary. Now do the same for the top layer, attaching them to each other and to the bottom layer.
Now we can add the carpet or foam mats. Place the mats or carpet on the first step and cut to fit. If necessary drill holes in the carpet using your drill and attach using the cable ties. The same can be done with the foam mats, except you can use a knife to cut a hole in mat. Do the same for the top stairs, the easiest way to attach the top step carpet or foam mat is to just do the edges. Try to make sure the top of the cable ties are tucked under the crate or to the side. This way there there is nothing to catch a toe or throw a dog off balance.
When introducing the stairs to your dog for the first time keep in mind that if the dog is old then he/she will be unsure about the stairs. So here are a few simple rules to help with this transistion:
- Make sure the stairs are on level ground, test them yourself by stepping on them.
- Put the stairs as close to the tailgate as possible without having them under the tailgate.
- Use a collar and leash to guide the dog onto the stairs.
- Stand beside the dog when leading the dog onto the stairs.
- Do not stand on the tailgate and pull the dog onto the stairs.
- Coax the dog onto the stairs and if necessary hold the dogs collar then firmly walk the dog up the stairs.
- Once the dog has used the stairs then praise the dog and give a treat.
- Walk them down the stairs by firmly grasping the collar making sure they don't jump down.
These stairs are very useful when loading dogs into the front of the vehicle. When bringing a dog home who has just undergone surgery, instead of having to lift the dog, he was able to walk up the stairs and flop down on the front seat. I then loaded the stairs into the back of the truck and when we arrived home reversed the process.