Being in a cramped space with strangers with no easy way to get out can be a very scary thing for a lot of people. We can get nervous, have anxiety fits, and even get physical because of “fear of elevators” As “people”, we, at least understand what an elevator is and that we will have the opportunity to get off and feel safe again.
Now, let’s turn to our dogs. They understand walks, pools, stairs, houses, rooms, and other fixed objects that contain noises and senses that they can normally understand. For example; if they are in a room and hear a noise from the next room, they can easily investigate. If they feel unsafe in a particular situation, our dogs can use their fight or flight mechanism to return them to their concept of safety.
From an initial, first take; the elevator might seem like a “small room” the first time we take our dog into one. Then, all of a sudden, they feel the sensation of moving and there are all sorts of strange noises coming from all around them.
Because of our need to “keep our dogs safe”, we have our dog on a tight leash off to one side. We think that this will keep them safe and won’t permit them to bite or jump on anyone. We know that we have to do this. Well, we have just taken our dog’s ability to investigate and safety choice of “flight” off their plate.
As you can see, we are building a larger and larger conundrum. We need to use the elevator if we live in a high-rise building. Everything we think we need to do to keep our dog and neighbors safe is really doing the opposite.
We need to figure out a completely different set of training exercises that can fit both our dogs’ needs and the needs of our neighbors. If we don’t do this, high-rise living will be imp[possible. Robin and I have a great dog training article that will solve your problem. Please read “How Do I Teach My Dog to Behave on the Elevator”.