Why Does My Dog Hate Slippery Floors?
Being afraid of slippery surfaces is common in pet dogs. Surfaces such hardwood flooring, tiles, or linoleum can send some dogs into quite a panic. Dogs are unable to gain traction on hard floors, which can make them feel unsafe – perhaps rather like us when we walk on an icy surface in unsuitable footwear! It is perhaps no wonder, then, that some dogs hate slippery floors. Read our Holidays4Dogs article to find out more.
A dog’s sense of perception is different from ours, which means they may experience the sensation that the floor is actually moving. Often, the quicker they try to get off the surface, the more it seems to move. The sensation may feel worse if the dog has long claws or, is particularly large, or tall, in stature. This can be very frightening for a dog and, as a result, some may never learn to negotiate slippery floors. As a result, some dogs can develop a phobia. Older dogs, with reduced mobility, may find walking on hard and slippery surfaces uncomfortable.
Puppies go through a fear imprint period at around eight, to ten weeks. Additionally, they also go through a similar stage between approximately six, to fourteen, months. This may mean that they become fearful of new environments – being afraid of slippery floors might be one of them.
Reward based behaviour modification.
To help the dog associate the slippery surface with good things, try feeding your dog on the slippery surface itself. However, start off with the dog bowl on a large mat, on which the dog can stand. Gradually fold the mat over a period of days to make it smaller.
You could also try laying a trail of treats across the floor. The trick is to start with low value foods and increase the tastiness of the treats, as the trail gets longer across the floor – so pieces of biscuit, cheese, liver and perhaps finally a bowl of tuna.
Clicker training is an ideal method to help dogs get used to different floor surfaces by clicking and treating every time the dog is on the surface and then moving up to the dog walking slowly across the surface.
Always encourage your dog to move slowly over slippery surfaces. The more speed, the less traction the dog has and the worse he will feel. Never force the dog to move over a slippery floor by dragging or, pushing. This will only cause the dog to be more fearful.
Most dogs will grow out of their fear of certain surfaces, but there are dogs that just won’t tolerate the unusual sensation of a slippery floor. In this case, it is far better for the dog if you just put rugs down, so he can move around the house without being stressed – particularly if the dog is growing old and has reduced mobility.
At Holidays4Dogs, we compile a comprehensive profile of all our guest dogs. This includes questions on any fears your dog might have – such as slippery surfaces. This means that we can accurately match dogs to the most suitable carer and appropriate environment, ensuring an enjoyable holiday for dogs and complete peace of mind for owners.