Going Up? Do Dogs Understand Elevators?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Is an elevator ride stressful for your dog or not? Read on to discover how Frido really reacts to elevators.

We all know that dogs know what a ball is, what’s the purpose of a leash, and that a dog’s bowl is a place where delicious food goes in.

What else do they know? Do they understand that we eat when they stare at us?

Or that basic commands are our methods of training them? Moreover, do they understand everyday objects that we are using regularly… Moreover, do they understand elevators? This got you thinking, right?

It may sound silly, but it is a super legit question because no one has ever given us a final answer, or a well-developed theory on the subject.

We know that elevators are simple machines basically – you enter the box, press the button, and wait for the doors to open.

Basically, you go in and go outside… How do pets see this – do they understand how an elevator works? Let’s discover.

Is your dog one of those who enjoy elevator rides or prefer to uses stairs? First of all, we all know that dog owners frequently use elevators, and when doing so rules are simple:

  • Enter the elevator fast
  • Keep the leash short
  • Don’t watch on your mobile
  • Don’t let your dog walk around on a long leash
  • Enter the elevator at the same time as your dog – this will prevent accidents

Let’s discuss elevator safety further.

Elevator Safety For Your Dog

Did you know that dogs’ leashes get stuck in the elevator doors? People usually don’t think about it, until they see some horrible video or photo of a dog being pull by elevator doors, in a matter of seconds.

Just imagining it is horrible, let alone seeing your dog being pull while you are inside the elevator not being able to do anything. So, think about safety constantly.

No matter how often you use the elevator with your dog on a daily level, you still need to think about safety.

If you know that you will be using an elevator with your dog, make sure that your Fido wears a breakaway collar.

Also, always pay attention to your dog during the elevator ride, to see how being in an elevator affects him.

Last but not least, do not surf the web or do anything on your phone that can distract you.

When you are entering the elevator with your pet (and when you are with your pet in general) you shouldn’t let be distracted by your mobile.

If you see that an elevator ride stresses your dog, don’t force him to go inside one – instead, use stairs, even if you are on the 15th floor.

Deliberately putting your dog in stressful situations can enforce destructive behavior or push him into anxiety – a condition that can be very serious in dogs and not so easy to deal with it.

Dogs who suffer from any type of anxiety need months of consistent work to stop experiencing stress and lose their common anxiety triggers.

With that in mind, it’s always safest to carry your dog in and out of the elevator.

However, if you have a large dog breed that isn’t always possible, and some dogs have special prosthetics and wheels of their own, so you need to adjust the whole situation to them.

Elevator Ride With Your Dog

Here is how to navigate an elevator ride with your pet:

  • Before you enter the elevator with your dog, let other people get off
  • Keep the leash taut
  • Keep your dog close to your side
  • Lead your dog in the elevator while holding a door to prevent the elevator doors from shutting on your dog or the leash
  • Command your dog to sit in a corner of the elevator
  • Praise your dog during elevator procedures
  • When getting off the elevator, touch the door to ensure it doesn’t close
  • Wait until you are far from the elevator before loosening or even lengthening the leash

Always keep a short leash while you are getting on, riding, and getting off an elevator.

Make sure that a leash is suitable for your dog’s size, that’s comfortable, and that the collar is a breakaway.

An elevator ride can be devastating and become extremely dangerous if the leash gets caught in the doors, as the leash could tighten against the dog’s neck.

Now that you know what are the mandatory steps on having your dog in an elevator, let’s see how dogs understand elevators.

Elevators And Dogs

Dogs are unique animals. The truth is that their brain evolved over time, and they have learned so much about humans, but they are still a big mystery for us.

For example, did you know that dog’s vision is significantly different compared to human?

They see colors differently, their vision is different compared to humans, and time inside the dog world isn’t the same as the time in the human world – we are different, but yet thanks to body language and a lot of patience we can understand each other perfectly.

Have you ever did something that made your dog look at your awkwardly? That’s because they don’t understand your action, and they aren’t sure what’s happening.

Like, when driving a car, does the dog understand that his human is making the car move. The same applies to elevator rides – do they know that they are inside the box that moves?

The truth is that no one knows the right answer to this question. However, there are certain things that we can assume – like that they can feel the dropping sensation and just wait for it to be done.

Some claim that dogs don’t care where they at as long as they are with their people.

What About Escalators

You and your dog may be fine with elevator rides, but how comfortable are you with escalators? Escalators are stressful and scary to many people, and dogs can react the same.

If you search for online videos of dogs and escalators, you will see how stressful dogs are around these moving stairs.

Plus, escalators can be dangerous for dogs and humans if they fall and their hair gets caught in between the stairs.

It’s common to see people carrying dogs when on escalators and these are reasons for that.

First of all, sidewalks can be dangerous for dogs – long hair can be caught between stairs, your dog may fall, and so on.

All in, moving sidewalks can be dangerous for dogs. If you have to use the escalator, teach your dog to hop over the ledge and lip on the beginning and end of the escalator.

For maximum safety, use escalators only when it’s not too busy and keep the leash in your hand all the way.

If possible, pick your dog in your arms. The best would be not to have your dog to use escalators at all.

Dogs Can Develop Anxiety Around Stairs

Many dog owners put their dogs into stressful situations, without realizing so.

Some dogs have a natural fear of stairs, especially if they aren’t used to using stairs regularly.

A simple fear can easily escalate into anxiety which is always challenging to treat.

If your dog has fear from stairs, don’t force him and see how you can dress these issues the best way possible.

Be patient and start small, if needed talk with your veterinarian or a dog trainer to learn how to treat this problem the best way possible.

Start with few steps occasionally, and use treats to enhance stairs use. This is especially important when you are getting a puppy, and he is going through his puppy training when everything is new and scary.

The Bottom Line

To understand your dog and his fear, you need to know a bit about the dog’s psychology. Moreover, it’s important to know how they experience the world.

For dogs, the primary way to experience the world is through smell. That is why long walks are so important for them and much more than a simple toilet duty.

If your dog cannot use regular stairs for any reason, make sure that you take him to your veterinarian, because he might be suffering from an underlying medical issue.