10-Minute Tech: Dog-Friendly Steps

Entry step into RV with Coroplast backing to black out back side of steps
Side view of three-step Solid Step RV entry step on white background
The SolidStep entry steps (above) on Joe Malat’s RV were disorienting to his dog before he modified them with a black Coroplast backing (top photo).

When my wife and I purchased our travel trailer, we were disappointed when our dog, an energetic Florida black mouth cur, did not share our enthusiasm. She has no problem negotiating steps at our house (or hopping up into our bed!), but she absolutely refused to climb the three steps into our rig. After talking to other dog owners and doing research, I was surprised to learn that some dogs will not climb steps without risers because they can see through the steps and it disorients them.

My solution was to “black out” the back side of the steps using a piece of black Coroplast, a waterproof, lightweight, corrugated plastic sheet material used by sign makers. RVers will know it as the black underpinning found under many RVs. Most sign shops will sell a small piece of the material, and it’s also available on Amazon.

Close-up of RV entry step with Coroplast ziptied onto step
Malat cut a sheet of Coroplast to fit the steps, drilled holes in it and secured it to the steps with black cable ties.

For my RV’s Lippert SolidStep that folds up inside the entry door for travel, I cut the piece with a knife to 23¾ by 27½ inches for an exact fit. I slipped the bottom of the sheet into a lip on the back side of the bottom step, used a sharp-tipped razor knife to cut a small slit at the top of each side of the Coroplast, drilled a hole on each side of the horizontal piece at the top of the step and secured the sheet with a couple of black cable ties. That’s it.

The trick worked like a charm. The first time Melody saw the “new” steps, she followed my wife up them without hesitation.

Joe Malat | Punta Gorda, Florida


Read more tips and tricks for making RV travel easier, safer and more pleasurable, submitted by Trailer Life readers, based on real-life RV experiences.

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  1. We have a Golden Doodle dog. He’s currently 3 years old. We’ve been very lucky to not only have a super dog that loves all members of our family but every one else’s family too. When we first got him we put him in or bed with a diaper pad, just in case he had a problem overnight. Much to our surprise he never did have any problem at all. However, after eight hours in bed between me and Mom he was in a hurry to hit the smell of fresh air. Once he’d delivered his morning droppings he was ready to play. Only a few minutes had passed and we could not find Cubby anywhere. We looked everywhere. Except for upstairs. There he was. Sleeping on top of a pillow that had fallen off the bed during a pillow fight. He had made his way upstairs and onto a pillow he had not discovered earlier. The best thing about it is he had climbed stairs without any of us urging him to climb. That alone put him in the drivers seat for climbing the stairs in and out of the fifth wheel. All we can say is that our Cubby truly is the King of the Road.

  2. If your steps going into your RV have holes (drain holes) on them your dog’s toe nails can get caught and break off. This happened to us and we made sure the steps were covered after that.

  3. One other issue with some steps are the tiny holes. Our energetic Corgy had no problems zipping up our step, but once he zipped out like normal, we then noticed a slight limp and blood on one foot. Looked closely and found no toenail, I found it under the steps. On his zip out he had slipped a toenail in one of the tiny holes and gravity and speed did the rest. He’s fine and a new toenail grew back. I since have covered the steps with heavy rubber matte trimmed to fit


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