Teach Your Dog to Use a Ramp

Learning to use a dog ramp can be an essential skill for many dogs. If your puppy or older dog struggles to get into the car or onto the couch for example, a ramp is a super useful tool to help them reach greater heights. 

However, not all dogs take to using a ramp immediately, some need a little coaching to learn how to use a ramp and gain their confidence. In the video below, Otis is the perfect student as he learns how to confidently use the dog ramp during our training session in Sebastian. By teaching him to use the ramp, we can also be sure that he won’t receive an injury associated with jumping. Plus now his Mom won’t have to lift him into the car! He’s heavy!

The Step-by-Step Guide to Training Your Dog to Use a Dog Ramp

Step 1 – Get the dog used to walking along the ramp. 

Position the ramp on a steady, flat surface in a space where the dog is already feeling confident and use a treat in your hand to guide him across the ramp. Once he makes it from one end to the other, reward him with a treat and praise. Repeat this several times, until they’re confidently and willingly walking the length of the ramp.

If your pup is hesitant, place a line of treats on the ramp and encourage him to get the treats. You may also reward him for putting just one paw on at first, then build up from there. 

Step 2 – Raise the Bar 

Now that your dog is feeling confident using the ramp flat, we can go ahead and raise it, but only by a couple of inches at first. Use a large thick book or a folded towel to lift one end of the ramp. Repeat the walking the length and reward with your dog’s favorite treat and some great words of praise. 

Step 3 – Keep it Up

Once your dog has the hang of the ramp being raised a couple of inches, continue to raise one end, a little at a time and have your pup walk over it. You may have to get creative with what you use to raise it. Each time he conquers a new level, praise and raise. Always make sure the ramp feels sturdy before you lure your dog onto it.

Step 4 – Getting Ready to Go

Now it’s time to raise the ramp so it’s similar in height to the goal height (like the back of the car). Putting one end of the ramp on the couch can mimic the height of most car floors and is a good intermediate step. Practice indoors using your controlled environment so you can make sure your dog is absolutely confident and happy to use the ramp. Skipping this step could result in your dog panicking outdoors and potentially hurting themselves as they try to escape the situation.

Keep your hand on your dog’s harness while they go up and down the ramp once the ramp is raised. This prevents them from suddenly leaping off.  

Step 5 – Let’s go! 

Now you can move outside and practice getting into the car. You’re going to want to practice here too rather than their first try resulting in a car ride which they may find exciting or terrifying. You want your dog to first feel like he’s just repeating the great training from indoors without distractions. 

Once you’ve completed all of the steps, you can try the ramp wherever you need it, knowing that your dog will feel happy and be safe. 

Teach Your Dog to Use a Ramp Treasure Coast Dog Trainer guides you through step by step

What are the Benefits of Using a Dog Ramp? 

There are many benefits to teaching your dog to use a dog ramp, even if they don’t need one right now.  This kind of exercise helps build your dog’s confidence and body awareness. It also presents a physical challenge so it can aid in strengthening and fitness. Plus, if they know how to master a ramp early, they’ll be able to confidently use it should the need arise, like if they ever had an injury or routine surgery and couldn’t jump while they healed. 

Alternatively, if YOU ever have an injury that prevents you from lifting your dog, you’ll be so happy they know how to use a ramp!

When to Use a Dog Ramp

A dog ramp is a super useful tool to have as a dog owner, even if you think you may not need it right away. Some uses for a dog ramp are: 

As a puppy. Puppies can’t usually jump very high and at a young age, you don’t want them to be jumping too much anyway. Their bodies aren’t yet built to spring super high and land on the ground. 

Small Dogs. There’s little chance a small dog would be able to leap into the trunk of a car so a dog ramp can help them get into the car safely and without being lifted. They may not be heavy but if there’s a time when you can’t bend to pick them up, you’re going to want them to know how to use a ramp. 

After injury or surgery. After an injury or surgery, no matter how small, it’s usually recommended that your dog doesn’t jump up or down but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to want to take them out or need to get them to appointments. If they already know how to use a ramp, they’ll find it much easier, especially at an already anxious time for them. 

Older Dogs. Just like humans, mobility becomes harder for dogs as they grow older. They may not be able to jump as high anymore and ideally, you don’t want them jumping down and creating more wear and tear on their joints. By teaching them to use a ramp, they can still go and enjoy car rides or the comfort of the couch. 

Dog Trainer to Train My Dog To Use a Ramp 

If you want your dog to be able to use a ramp but don’t feel that you can train them to do it yourself or don’t have the time, we offer training for using a dog ramp. We will use the steps above to gain their confidence and teach them to use the ramp in any situation. 

We’ll also involve you as the owner, either during the training or in a rundown afterwards so that you can carry on using the methods they’ve learned during training so that they can use the ramp to live life to the max. 

If this is something you’d be interested in, give me a call or book a free dog training consult now. We offer puppy and dog training in Sebastian, Vero Beach, Vero Beach and all around the Treasure Coast.