I'm looking for some advice on a basement problem we have. We live in a two-story house with a finished (carpeted) basement. Casey is allowed on the mainfloor and in the basement, but not upstairs. Our basement is the main living area of the house - our only TV, my husbands computer, and all our video games/movies are down there. It's also anywhere from 5-10 degrees Celsius (...so 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit for you Americans) cooler in the basement than the rest of the house, which makes it the most comfortable place to hang out in the summer.

 

We would love it if Casey hung out in the basement with us – but the dog HATES the basement. There are no windows, so it’s kind of like a dark cave. She is 100 times happier on the main floor of the house by the glass deck doors where she can look outside to the backyard. Unfortunately, that means spending time alone, because after supper and walking/playing, we spend most of our evenings in the basement.

 

I’ve tried bringing down Kongs/treats to preoccupy her while she’s down there, but the second she finishes whatever she had (usually 45 minutes to an hour) she gets cranky and wants to leave.

 

This problem is punctuated by the fact that Casey will not go down our basement stairs. In her defence, they are incredibly narrow and steep – she has gone down them a few times, but I would describe it more like structured falling than walking down steps. She basically jumps down with her front paws, putting the entire weight of her body on her shoulders, then continues to do that in a rushed free-fall until she gets to the bottom. It seems incredibly unsafe and not very good for her body, and she does not like doing it, so we carry her down the stairs anytime we bring her down (she can go up just fine on her own). This means that there’s no chance for her to “choose” to come down when/if she wants.

 

Does anyone else have this problem or advice? Should I just leave her? I feel bad because I’d love for her to stay downstairs with us in the evenings after spending her day alone while we’re at work, but she does not want to be down there.

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Are the steps carpeted? That could be the problem. If you don't want to take on the task of carpeting them, you could get some remnants and just put a piece on the top of each step to help with her footing.

As far as her not liking the basement, it could be that it's hard for her to come and go on her own, so she feels a bit trapped down there. Or since dogs like to "guard" their home and family, she can't see or hear anything down there so she wants to be upstairs where she can. Maybe try playing some games with her down there, some fetch and tug so that she kind of forgets she's down there for a while. Plus, if she spends the day alone, she might be wanting more interaction - both of mine do that when I get home - since they've slept all day it's all - walk, play, walk, play when I get home until bedtime.
Yes - the stairs are carpeted.

She gets an hour of my time when I get home at 5:00; we go for a 45 minute walk in an off-leash area where she can roam and sniff and run, then we spend 15-20 minutes at the house playing fetch, tug, running and all that good stuff. Then I cook supper, and she hangs out in the kitchen with me for the hour that takes. From 7-7:30pm, my husband and I eat supper. At 7:30pm, she has her supper, and then we usually go out for another short walk/play time until 8:00pm. 8-10:00pm is my time; between her morning exercise, after work and after supper, she has already had nearly 2 hours of my day to exercise and play, and I get some time to relax and unwind too. I would love it if she would relax with me, and this is where my basement problem arises. It is not relaxing to have a whiny, cranky dog in my basement while I'm trying to watch some TV, read a book or play some Mario. I don't want her to spend the last two hours of her night alone, but I also don't want both of us to be unhappy in the basement.
Corgis can have difficulty with the stairs, true. And were it my place, I might try to put a ramp down the side of the stairs if I could. It would certainly be easier to get up and down. (And as I type, my corgi Moira is pawing at me from her doggie stairs--funny dog.) How old is your corgi?? It might just be hurting her to do the stairs. And if your basement has really hard concrete floors, it may be uncomfortable for her.
Casey is 1 year old. The basement and stairs are finished (carpeted). The stairs are very long and narrow; if I tried to put a ramp down them, it would probably take up most of the stairs and would definitely be a tripping hazard for people trying to walk up/down.
How long have you been trying to get her used to this? Maybe do what you are and for now after 45 min. she comes up and you stay down for awhile...that way she's not training you. Just a thought that after a few times she will want to be by you???? As for the steps ...if this is new it will take time also , some of my dogs don't care for the steps but eventually get used to them. I have a finished basement also but have to block mine off due to young ones thinking it makes a good potty place!
We've been bringing her down with us since we got her at 10 weeks (and she's a year now). She's always disliked it down there, and has never tried to come down the stairs when we're down there. She'll sleep at the very top of the stairs, but will never, ever try to come down. When she is down and you tell her you're going upstairs, she's happy as a clam and will race up them like her life depends on it.

I'm fairly certain that she CAN do the steps, she just doesn't WANT to do the steps. Add to that the fact that my husband doesn't want her going down them because it's just, as I say, a rushed free-fall down them, and she simply doesn't do them. She is either carried down, or she stays on the main floor.

I was under the impression that Corgis shouldn't really be encouraged to do a lot of down steps - but I get the sense that people's Corgi's do steps regularly. Is this correct? My basement stairs are not just a few steps and then you're done - there's a good 10-15 steep steps she needs to pass over before making it to the bottom. Is it OK for her to do that many steps several times a day?
You're right Carla, going downstairs is not so good for a young pup, especially when they get very excited / lazy and decided to jump the last 4 steps instead of walking, causing injury / growth plate problem...etc. Same reason why no agility for a young pup. May be you can take a pic of your stairs? I'm sure we have handyman among us :)
Corgis are clever dogs. Casey may have picked up on the fact that basement time = not-playing-with-Casey time. Perhaps you can try playing with her in the basement, feeding her there or using the space to teach her tricks (with lots of treats and attention, of course). Don't get me wrong, you should have your-not-playing-with-Casey time when you feel like it, but perhaps some memories of food and love will make it a better place for her.

As for the stairs, I recall that when we brought Edison home at 11 weeks, he was quite small and terrified of the stairs; his breeder lives in a ranch-style house and I don't think he'd ever seen so many stairs at once before. We used an entire hot dog (in small pieces) to coax him down them. Maybe an early fall down the stairs has made Casey nervous?

Now that I think about it, treats (in moderation) do solve a lot of corgi problems. :)

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