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.