Training Your Dog to Walk on Slippery Floors

Food as a Motivator

One method is to allow the dog to gradually become accustomed to the slippery surface during meals. To do so, place his food bowl or stuffed food puzzle that's stationary (such as a Kong tethered to a table leg) next to the flooring the dog is afraid of. With each meal, position the food slightly farther out on the slick floor, changing the position only by inches and only as the dog remains comfortable enough to eat. Mealtime feeding on the problematic flooring helps the dog become accustomed to the surface and has the added pleasure of associating food with the situation.

You can also get a dog to deliberately move onto the floor while following something he wants. A trail of treats can be streamed across the floor, or the dog can be gradually moved onto the floor with tossed treats for venturing out and a continued stream of treats for staying out on the floor. Play can also be used to improve a dog's association with the surface and get him used to it. Play a low-key game of tug or a relaxed game of fetch using a soft toy with little bounce to get the dog engaged and move the game slowly out onto the slick floor according to the dog's comfort level.

On Target

Hand-target training can also give the dog a specific target to focus on to get him to follow you across the floor. Start with your hand just far enough out that one paw touches the floor, eventually building to where all paws are on the floor and the dog moves across the surface to follow your hand. Use the hand target to direct and reward the dog for moving with you. Alternatively, if your dog knows how to heel, ask for a heel and move with him back and forth across the floor, with ample rewards to make the experience feel like a fun game.

Keep in mind, some dogs have extreme fear responses to certain stimuli and advanced behavior modification may be needed. If you need help, seek the advice of a veterinary behaviorist or positive reinforcement trainer working in combination with a veterinarian.

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