Are stairs dangerous for large breed dogs? Or dogs in general?

Discussion in 'Health & Nutritional Care' started by belawyer, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. belawyer

    belawyer Member

    I’m reposting this from the bullmastiff specific category, as I noticed there is not much web traffic through that there (considering my post from last week is still at the top of the page and the last reply was several days ago)...

    I found a good breeder, but she won’t sell me a bullmastiff pup because we have an apartment and one flight of stairs to go to doggy area. My plan was finish out the current lease and buy a home next summer(summer 2018). In the meantime, its not some small one bedroom city apartment. We have a two bath two bedroom with large open living room apartment in the suburbs, and lots of parks and walkability both inside the complex and in the vicinity nearby.

    So that being said, what is everyone’s opinion about dogs and stairs and apartments?

    I picked the Bullmastiff because I want a large breed dog that would be content To sleep and have his/her alone time during the day and that I could enjoy for morning and evening walks and weekend time with me and my two boys (5th and 6th grade boys). The three of us are already like a pack of dogs so just adding another is no big deal.

    This particular breeder seemed to be of the opinion that no one in an apartment should own a dog, regardless of breed, and definitely no one with stairs. I am not exagerating. I literally asked her if thier was any dog breed she would recommend and she said none. I did some quick googling and it seemed the stairs were more of an issue for smaller dogs which is counter-intuitive to apartment living where most people would go for a smaller breed.

    As I noted above, we have a pretty good size two bedroom and two bath apartment with large living room and a kitchen that would work great with a baby gate for puppy during the day. I’m in the suburbs and the apartments have lots of park and walkability with stations everywhere with little trash cans and poop bags. We have a soccer field in middle of complex and then other parks outside complex with walking paths.

    So is this Breeder just taking an extreme position? Or do I need to listen to her and just wait till we get a house. Because her website also says the dogs cant even be left unattended in the yard because they may run around and work themselves up and then overheat and die. So basically, the only home she’ll send a pup to is a single story home with fenced backyard and a stay at home mom to tend to the dog all day long.

    That just doesnt seem consistent with what i’ve read about Bullmastiff’s who are supposed to be very “adaptable” and content to sleep and be alone for periods of time and run well off of 30-40min a day of exercise. I totally understand puppies are different and require more attention and play time.
  2. belawyer

    belawyer Member

    Attached is some pictures of my particular stairs for discussion purposes. As you can see it is a fairly gradual incline and each stair is about 12” wide brick.

    My apartment is two bedroom, two bath and at least 1000 square feet maybe more.

    My two boys already raised a pitbull/bullmastiff mix at their mom’s house for 3 years since it was a pully in a two story alartment and town home (three different ones over 3 years actually). Their dog doesnt have any hip issues. So would I really be an irresponsible dog owner or is this breeder just to extreme and missing out on a good family placement?

    Attached Files:

  3. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    not to offend you , but i would never place a puppy of that size in an apartment ...... not that some folks don't make it work , but they are in the minority ...... the stair thing imo is ridiculous ....... i'd tell you when you buy that home and fence in the yard come back for a pup...... i personally would have a hard time placing a pup with someone renting a house , as their landlord would actually be in control of the dogs future .......... not saying this pertains to you , it does not pertain to everyone , too often i see folks getting rid of their dog because they moved , had a baby , changed jobs , got divorced , the kids won't take care of it ............... i've been through all that and never dumped a dog , so i know it's doable , just has to be important to you , a priority , and honestly it's not to most folks , and these folks don't personally know you , and folks will tell you anything you want to hear to get a pup if they want it ........ guy asked me one time how much my pups were , i told him $800-1800 , he asked what was the difference between an $800 puppy and an $1800 puppy , i told him "you" ......... i see folks complain about breeders all the time , i could rant on puppy buyers every bit as much if not more .......
  4. Courtney H

    Courtney H Active Member

    I honestly don't think stairs are a problem what so ever. Axel was my first Corso and we got him when we lived in a small one bedroom apartment and I had stairs in my entryway. He was 8 weeks when we got him. I think it was good for him to learn how to go up and down stairs at a young age. We had a good size front yard and a park across the street we would take him to. We were planning on moving when we first got him and only spent 3 months (not even) in that apartment. We moved to another apartment in town, again upstairs, but much larger. Apartment buildings in my area are usually old houses that are made into multiple dwellings, so not your standard apartment building. We had a big fenced in backyard which was great. We would never leave our dogs outside alone for long periods of time. Dogs will get into things you didn't know were in your yard. They can easily eat something or get hurt, and when you find won't have any idea what happened. I leave Axel outside for a few minutes before I check on him. He will usually go outside and do his business and come right back. So anything longer than a few minutes is worrisome to me. Cora is still being leashed so I obviously don't have to worry about her.

    I'm thinking maybe this breeder has had some bad experiences in the past. Maybe she has had dogs returned to her because the dog couldn't walk up/down stairs (probably a health issue with joints) or maybe a dog died because someone left the dog out in extreme weather conditions. Not all people are stupid, but it's hard to trust after certain things happen. If the dog CAN'T walk up stairs, I'd be concerned about a degenerate disorder.

    I bought a house about two years after we moved to our second apartment. My house only has stairs to go up the porches and I have 1.5 acres of yard (not fenced in). Axel never had an issue living at any of our homes. Now, if I still lived in one of those places now, I'd be looking to move because of Cora's injury. She had a TPLO done in May and stairs would be very bad for her.

    I'm sure you could find another good breeder who wouldn't be as strict. Just know that you are going to be a good dog parent before you get any dog. Dogs need to be comfortable and loved! Maybe even look into getting a rescue dog! I don't think this breeder is horrible for the way she thinks, but it is pretty extreme in my opinion.
    belawyer likes this.
  5. kingmark

    kingmark Active Member

    I took this stairs thing seriously. I carried my male boerboel up steep stairs until he was 50 kg. Then my back started to give up so he stayed downstairs overnight as i live in house on two floors. My female boerboel i carried until she was 30 kg and then also relocate her sleeping so yes i took it seriously :)
  6. Smokeycat

    Smokeycat Well-Known Member

    I think the biggest issue with stairs is safety both for you and the puppy. Many giant breed puppies are clumsy, fast growth doesn't lend it self to good coordination. The stairs themselves aren't the problem, instead how people let the puppy traverse them is. If a puppy is allowed to run/bound down it can cause damage to the front leg joints. Speed can also increase the likelihood of a fall which just like with people can have serious consequences. As a person with a dog that has joint problems I can tell you that you don't want a giant dog that has a difficult time with mobility. It is a large commitment physically, mentally, emotionally and financially and not a commitment many owners are willing to take on. I can understand the breeder's position even if I don't agree with the blanket statement of stairs = no puppy.
    Just remember that as much as you are trying to find a breeder that meets your requirements a good breeder wants owners that meet their requirements. Sometimes what matches one way doesn't match the other way.
    7121548 and Bailey's Mom like this.
  7. belawyer

    belawyer Member

    what does that mean? came across as if you think you are sending a puppy to a crappy home you would still do it but just charge them $1,800 because you don't like them?
  8. belawyer

    belawyer Member

    So the Corso was my first choice. And ironically enough, I just got my apartment's comprehensive restricted breed list and Bullmastiff is on it but Corso is not. I clarified and the apartmetn manager said that although that is a mastiff breed that if I had a veterinarian documentation saying it is a Cane Corso then it would be allowed (I guess because they don't want me to get a bullmastiff and then try to trick them by saying it's a Cone). So now I'm back to my very first choice. I've done a lot of research and I'm still of the opinion a larger lazy mastiff dog would make a fine apartment dog. They should be content with some alone time during the day and sleep and not be all psycho like a Terrier or Terror. And I have plenty of walkability and parks all around my complex. I live in the suburbs. Sounds like you did what I was thinking was started in an apartment and eventually went to a home. I checked my apartmetn floor plan and it's 1200 square feet. I know people with houses smaller than that.
  9. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Super Moderator Staff Member

    As I've said before, best thing that ever happened to me was a Bull Mastiff breeder telling me, I wasn't ready, I wasn't committed, I didn't have the right stuff. AND THEY WERE RIGHT. I had a house...I had a fenced yard...I had four steps to the door and a full staircase with landing going to the upstairs. HE NEVER ASKED ABOUT THE STAIRS. He looked at us and he weighed us and found us suspiciously wanting....He put a price on training us - $1500, and he proved to himself - probably not for the first time - that money talks, and bullshit walks. That dog would have cost us $1200, plus $1500 in human training and a commitment of two nights a week for training for a period of 2 months. Wake Up Call! Not everyone is ready for a dog...they like the idea, but they are not ready in so many different ways. The road blocks he put in my way were for my personal good. I delayed...I demurred and the marriage and the house fell apart. The dog was saved from the likes of me and that stage of my life. The breeder was my saviour. Stairs...that would have come up, if we had managed to jump the other obstacles, BUT, Smokeycat is right...these dogs are clumsy and accident prone when puppies, and accidents can lead to really bad physical outcomes. Stairs can just complicate the issue.

    And here is another you should think about. The Humane Society in town used Google Maps/Satellite to have a look at the potential home for the dog...they can surmise a lot from what they see, including that this isn't an appropriate home for a variety of reasons. My daughter had a three-storey townhouse, without a fenced back yard, in a high density complex, but...Google Maps told them the Bull they were trying to adopt was too big for a high density townhouse development that didn't have the benefit of a fenced back yard.

    Not the first time that a satellite image explained things to a breeder or an adoption group. Have a look at your satellite image...things come into focus.
  10. 7121548

    7121548 Active Member

    I live in a high rise condo building with no yard, and while we have elevators, we use stairs about 75% of the time. I rescued my dog when he was 3 and had to potty train him, which I found to be challenging since we had to run through the hallways and stairwells just to get outside in time. Fortunately, your puppy won't have a bladder as big as an adult neo. ;)
  11. belawyer

    belawyer Member

    So he offered you two nights a week of personal training with you and your puppy for two months for omly $1,200 and that made you not want a dog?? That sounds like a pretty damn good deal except that your new puppy wouldn’t get the socialization from pups in a group class. I was planning to do obedience school group lessons every sunday afternoon.
  12. belawyer

    belawyer Member

    So I spoke with several other breeders today and they all agreed the breeder zi started this post over was over reacting about stairs and should have been skeptical about me being an apartment but after learning about my living situation and lifestyle any of them would sell me a dog. They said not ideal not having a fenced yard but they know people that make it work all the time. One other breeder said this lady was just power tripping on her authority (i guess meaning picky about who she sells to) and even called her a b****. Lol. I think she was just a well intentioned breeder with some discrimantion issues about us city folk that live in these fancy suburbs. Lol. She was basically on some fancy ranch in Arkansa
  13. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Gosh, the name calling breeder certainly isn't very professional. Personally, I wouldn't buy from a breeder that would name call another. There are other ways to say you disagree with someone. If you're unprofessional in one way, I'd tend to think you're unprofessional in other ways too. I have more respect for the first breeder for being so selective about homes for their pups than for this one with their derogatory comments.
    7121548 likes this.
  14. belawyer

    belawyer Member

    That was actually less than $100 a session if it was 8 sessions. close to $90 a session for a one on one training with dog. If he offered some socialization with other dogs at the same time like it was at a location with the rest of his dogs I would have probably strongly considered that deal. I think the once a week group classes are more economical but that would probably have been great training.
  15. belawyer

    belawyer Member

    yeah and he/she had a lot of grammatical errors and such. not a breeder I was necessarily going to do business with but I do think they said bluntly what I was thinking. Apartment living with dog is challenging. I've done it before. And if I was in some super small box I wouldn't even consider it. But I think my floor plan at 1100+ sqft with decent open area in living room is probably better than some people's house floor plans. As far as the views on the stairs, the general consensus was that it was an overreaction. As I mentioned above, this lady was super nice and well intentioned. I just think she grew up and lives and retired on a really beautiful ranch in Arkansas and seems to have some discrimination toward other living arrangements. She wants every single one of her puppies to have the traditional american family with a house, fenced yard and stay at home mom. I'm like lady that's not the way things work now a days and dogs are quite adaptable animals from my observations. The key is giving them good mental stimulation and play time and taking care of them. They can adapt to different environments (well not all breeds...)
  16. Courtney H

    Courtney H Active Member

    1200 square feet is a pretty good size, especially if it's open concept. My HOUSE is 1500 square feet, but it's not open concept so it feels smaller. But they have their big yard and I take them for walks daily. It's really important to exercise a Corso because they tend to be more high strung than other mastiff breeds. A tired dog is a happy dog! Just please be sure to speak with you landlord and even though they are not on the breed restriction list now, that can change. If your landlord switches insurance companies or maybe the insurance company changes it on their policy. Like I said, I only lived in the first apartment for not even 3 months as planned. The other apartment I lived in was owned by my boxing coach/husband's cousin, so he was family and I wasn't worried. When I bought my house, I had to search for an insurance company that would allow Corsos.
    As far as the stairs go... I didn't allow them free access to the stairs. And when they were really little, I carried them. When they were ready for stairs, I had them on a leash or hand on the collar and guided them until they were fully trained on the stairs. So just make sure that your training them before you let them go up/down by themselves.
  17. belawyer

    belawyer Member

    I've already saved the whole email string with the apartment manager. Here is the excerpt that I think would seal the deal legally....

    response from apartment manager, "A cane corso is in the mastiff family. While it is not specifically on the restricted breed list, if your vet determines that it is a mastiff, then it would be considered a restricted breed. We would, however, accept the dog if your vet lists it as a cane corso. The same would apply to any breed not on the list provided they do not show aggression. does that help?"
  18. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    what it means is it's very sad getting dogs back that you placed as puppies , from folks who told you they were capable's easier to place a puppy as opposed to an adult large breed dog that someone has often times messed up .... it's easy to place a puppy if you know your not taking them back no matter what , there's no responsibility involved in that .......... place enough puppies and you'll eventually get it if you actually care about the pups .......... yes , lots of people own a home and have a fenced yard , not all of them are potential good dog owners , if i wasn't sure about them i'd want more money for a pup , if i felt real good about a person i'd want a lot less all the way down to nothing , i've known dog owners i'd pay to take one of my pups ........ not meeting my criteria , no amount of money would get you my pup , i've bred dogs for me , not for money or anyone else , i'm sure i'm hundreds of thousands of dollars in the hole at this point , my perspective is vastly different than yours ................. dogs can live 10-12yrs and cost lots of money and time , anyone can say they can do it , at this point my pups only go to people i know have done it ........ i've had potential puppy buyers tell me how many dogs they've had , like it's a good thing , my thought is , well what happened to all these dogs you've had ? when they tell you , i just shake my head and say no thanks ............ the guy i made the 800-1800 comment to , he wasn't getting my pup for any amount ......... i've bought lots of dogs in my life , my first question was never how much , it was always my last question , because i have the experience to know any reasonable amount is way less than what that pup is going to cost me ........ they're are alway exceptions , when i have to bet , i want as close to a sure thing as possible ......... i care about the pups i've produced beyond when they leave my house ........ as i said i understand your not understanding , you don't and may never have my perspective .......
  19. Courtney H

    Courtney H Active Member

    The breeder I got Cora from specifically told me that if for any reason I am unable to provide a home for her, he wants her back. He didn't want his dogs to ever end up in a shelter. He told me that he knew it wouldn't be an issue with me, but he tells everyone that. I actually have something stating what to do with my dogs if something were to happen to Dan or I. I have it written that if certain people weren't able to provide a home for them, to call the breeder. He's a good guy an genuinely cares for his dogs and their well being.
    7121548 likes this.
  20. scorning

    scorning Active Member

    There have been studies that puppies using stairs can contribute to hip dysplasia.

    Also, while large breed adult dogs can be good apartment dogs, puppies are puppies. My Danes generally didn't become calm until they were 3 years old, before that they had relatively frequent bursts of activity that would have annoyed anyone living below us. I've never had a dog in an apartment, but I would worry about the noise (barking and running) and the difficulty of getting the puppy out in time to potty. Not saying that its impossible, but it would be easier with an adult dog than a puppy.

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