A dog’s “depth sensation” or depth perception is not as acute as a human’s. Breed and age, and of course health, are all factors that contribute to the accuracy of a dog’s vision.
The brain can calculate depth, or formulate depth perception, by using two images of the same scene obtained from slightly different angles, meaning both the right and left eyes.
The shared space or overlapping region that can be seen by both eyes at the same time is known as the Binocular overlap.
The average dog’s eyes are set about 20% apart. Popular breeds like Labs, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds have a binocular overlap of about 75 degrees. Because human’s eyes are set on the front of the head, binocular overlap is about 120 degrees.
Why am I telling you this? To help you understand that a puppy at the top of a staircase does not perceive the depth of it, the same way we do. And always keep in mind that every new experience with your puppy needs patience, understanding and love to help him learn and grow.
So how do you teach a puppy to go down a staircase?
Simple! Just the opposite of what you’re probably thinking. Place the puppy on one step before the bottom of the staircase and let him jump down. Then try two steps from the bottom. Before you know it that puppy will feel more comfortable with attempting more and more steps.
OK, now for going up. Place the puppy one step from the top and let him jump up. Then two, then three and so on.
If the puppy is large breed and you need an extra pair of hands, have one person at the top of the staircase encouraging the puppy to come up while you are on the step with the puppy making sure he is safe and won’t slide or fall down.
Your puppy’s safety and well-being are always most important.