Will my dog go up a Dog Ramp?
The honest answer is maybe, maybe not. If your dog goes up steps without hesitation, that may be a good sign but not definitive proof for success. If your dog is hesitant going up or down open steps, you may have a problem with a ramp. As a test, you may want to create a small ramp at the same angle as the ramp of your choice would be and see if your pet will go up the ramp voluntarily. Please make this ramp very stable and not very long to begin with and see what kind of reaction you get with a little encouragement and in the case of labs there are few motivators like food. If access to food is limited to traversing a ramp, their desire to eat may exceed their fear of the ramp. They might even equate the ramp to something good – kibbles.
The best medicine may be preventative. Teach your dog as a puppy to use a ramp gradually increasing the length and use the ramp for the young dog to load and unload from the vehicle. If the use becomes routine you may well save your back by not trying to teach an old dog new tricks. Not only that, but by teaching your pet to use the ramp at a young age you can help prevent your dog from developing any long term hip/leg injures which are usually caused by a dog jumping in and out of vehicles over a matter of many years. Once you start picking them up to load and unload, their expectation is that you will continue to do so. If we don’t expect the elderly to be jumping into and out of vehicles why should we expect an elderly pet to do it?
Please keep in mind that the longer the ramp, the lower the degree of incline, thus the easier it will be for your pet to climb the ramp and the more apt your pet will be to climb the ramp. Please purchase the longest ramp you can store in your vehicle. Available ramps either fold in half or telescope to reduce the storage length required.
Ramps come in varying widths. The general rule of thumb is the larger your dog the wider the ramp. The wider ramp provides additional room for the dog if it is distracted and gets “off line” while loading or unloading. The ramps are made of aluminum or composite materials. Aluminum ramps require a minimum amount of care and will not rust or decompose when exposed to UV rays like composite ramps. Composite ramps are less likely to scratch paint than aluminum ramps. Composite ramps may crack if improperly handled while aluminum will bend.
Ramp surfaces include a grit surface, rubber, and carpet. Grit surfaces provide superior traction, followed by rubber and carpet. Grit and rubber surfaces require minimal cleaning. Carpeted surfaces may require cleaning and may retain moisture.