How to Ride an Elevator with Your Dog

Recently we stayed at a La Quinta with Irie and Tiki and enjoyed a third floor room. While we often took the stairs to walk off the many hours we’d spent in the car and on a nursing home visit, we also took the elevator numerous times. Irie and Tiki both did great but I wanted to share with you some tips for ensuring that your dog stays safe and happy on an elevator ride, no matter how brief it is.

Taking the elevator with your dog is a time for full concentration to keep you both safe. We’ve all seen the horrifying news videos of dogs being separated from their person as they enter an elevator, with the dog either trapped inside the elevator or outside its doors–and, when the elevator changes floors, the dog’s leash hangs him.

Like most activities with your dog, you’ll want to approach the elevator ride calmly and alert for potential problems. If you’re especially concerned, consider a break-away collar (like this one on Amazon).

How to Ride an Elevator with Your Dog

  1. Give the elevator ride and your dog your full attention. Put away your phone.
  2. Make sure your dog is calm when approaching the elevator. If he’s anxious, you may need to just sit by the elevator for a few sessions, rewarding and praising calm behavior with a treat. If your dog is super stressed, the stairs may be a better choice.
  3. Standing to the side of the elevator door (so exiting people can disembark from the elevator without going around your dog or making your dog move), put your dog in a sit. Praise your dog.
  4. Press the button and calmly wait for the elevator. Shorten your leash so your dog is no more than two feet from you.
  5. When the elevator doors open, allow people to exit.
  6. When it is your turn to enter the elevator, stand in the elevator doorway and block the elevator door with your body, leading your dog in through the elevator doors. This will prevent the doors from suddenly shutting and separating you and your dog.
  7. Direct your dog into a corner of the elevator and ask for a sit. Praise your dog. Continue to hold the leash short so your dog cannot suddenly bolt out if the door opens between floors.
  8. Exit the elevator at your floor, again blocking the doors with your body so your dog can clear the opening without risk of sudden closure. Do not return the leash to its full length until you are a safe distance from the elevator when there’s no risk of him suddenly turning back to the elevator.


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About Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the award-winning authors of over 30 pet and travel books as well as the founders and publishers of CatTipper and DogTipper.