Sadie is almost three years old now and has gone up and down countless flights of stairs. But there is one particular set of stairs she’s never traversed on her own – the main stairs up to the second floor apartment where we live. Sadie is fine with the stairs in the office because they’re carpeted. She’s comfortable with the brick steps up to the front door and even with the rugged wooden steps off of our back deck. But shiny, slippery, interior wooden stairs were out of the question. If she was a bigger dog I may have worked on convincing her to try those stairs. But since she’s small enough to carry and I knew we would be getting those stairs carpeted eventually, I decided to err on the safer side and just carry her up and down those slippery steps. But now the time has finally come. We just had carpet installed on ‘the’ stairs. All I need to do is convince Sadie that the stairs are now safe and she will no longer be carried up or down them anymore.
I started the process at the top of the stairs. Big mistake. I spent valuable time trying to convince Sadie to step off the landing, but she just wouldn’t go. Eventually I took her off the landing and placed her on the top step to get her moving downward, but she just stood on that top step and refused to move. After more negotiations, which Sadie won, I gave up and carried her down the stairs. We went outside for a potty break. When we came back in, Sadie stepped up to the bottom step, then looked back at me. All I said was “Go ahead” and she shot up those stairs like a bolt of lightening. I couldn’t have been more proud of her.
But going down the stairs was still a problem. Sadie did not want to step off the landing. I tried luring her down the stairs with food, but Sadie has never been very food motivated. I tried throwing a squeaky ball down the stairs, hoping she would chase after it, but she just stared sadly at me until I went and got it for her. Just when I was running out of ideas, the doorbell rang. Sadie raced down those steps without a second thought, wanting to know who was at that door. All it took was that one distraction for Sadie to finally stop thinking about how scary the steps were and start thinking about what’s exciting at the bottom of them. From then on, Sadie happily goes up and down the stairs with ease. I can’t believe I went so long having to carry her, because life is so much sweeter when I can have free hands on the stairs.
This post is part of the Thoughtless Thursday blog hop hosted by Ruckus the Eskie, Love Is Being Owned By a Husky, and M.K. Clinton.
This post is also part of the Thursday Barks and Bytes blog hop hosted by 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like A Dog.