When we first got Toby he was afraid of the stairs. He was little and going up took such an effort. Going down was just plain scary. There was so much potential for a fall and pain. He's grown so much in the six weeks that we've had him and the stairs no longer hold any fear for him - all of the stairs except for the internal spiral staircase that goes down to Sam's bedroom.
There's just something about these stairs that terrify Toby. We've tried to convince him that he can manage them just as well as the other stairs in the house. But he will not budge. So I've made it a little project to get him confident with them.
We started just going up. I put him on the fourth top step and walk up. He cried and carried on but then he reluctantly followed. Over a couple of weeks I've taken him down further until he's fairly happy to walk up the whole flight.
But going down is a whole different story. I've tried calling him down. Getting Bubbles to demonstrate that going down can be safe. And I've tried placing dog food on each of the steps - Toby is such a greedy dog that I thought that was bound to work. It was a big fail - the only one who got any food was Bubbles.
The other day I had to throw away some left-overs to the chickens. (It was chicken soup and they LOVE it - especially the chunks of chicken. And I get a sick sense of satisfaction that I'm causing them to be cannibalistic) Toby just had to see what I was up to close up. He broke into the chicken pen and started scoffing the soup from the container. And I had light-bulb moment. If I took the container and placed it on the third top step, my greedy puppy just wouldn't be able to resist.
He followed me back upstairs very enthusiastically. Watched me walk down the three stairs and put the container down. I called him down but he refused to come anywhere near the edge. He barked at me. He pranced up and down the hall. He went and got Bubbles and together they barked at me but there was no way he was going down those stairs.
I decided to leave it there and see if greed got the better of him and I went into the kitchen to bake. And totally forgot about it until I heard the bang, bang, bang of something falling down the stairs. Toby came racing in to get me - telling me in excited yips that something had happened.
Luke got to the stairs first and told me that the container was still on the third top step. So what had fallen down? Seems that Toby isn't the only greedy dog in the house. Bubbles was the thing that we'd heard banging down the stairs. No, she wasn't hurt - apart from her pride. And Toby's opinion that the stairs are dangerous have been totally justified. We've got buckleys of ever getting him down them now.
My failsafe "get a sick dog to eat" tactic is roast chook - if he didn't fall for that, yes, I think you've got Buckleys...but he is just too darn cute and looks like he makes a great hot water bottle!ReplyDelete
Ah, poor Bubbles. Hope that Toby learns to conquer this fear soon. In the meantime, good job coming up with new strategies. :)ReplyDelete
LOL - too funny! I guess you'll have to look into installing a dog lift in your home!ReplyDelete
I am laughing out loud about the chickens! You kill me.ReplyDelete
You are pretty creative with your dog training methods--I'm sure it will pay off sooner or later. In the meantime, it can provide lots of good laughs and stories.
And I was so sure that the story would be about Bubbles showing Toby how easy it is to go down those stairs and Toby following and proudly getting his chicken. Oh, well.ReplyDelete
Not the ending I expected. Toby is barking "I told you so" to you right now!ReplyDelete
That is so funny! He proved his point for sure. I kept chickens when I was at school and they loved meat and eggs.ReplyDelete
Ohhh so cute! UNfortunately, little Miles is not afraid of anything. (Except not having us within his sight at all times, that is.) He lunges off furniture, barrels up and down the stairs, even scaled the 4 foot baby gate that we had installed to keep him in a particular area!ReplyDelete
Poor Bubbles, but I'm laughing too. And feeding chicken soup to chickens - you are evil. ;o)ReplyDelete
Love this - Very ironic.ReplyDelete
Thanks for stopping by - Feeling the vibs.
Oh poor Bubbles. And Toby...poor Toby, never getting to learn how to go downstairs would really be pretty sad. One day he'll get it I bet. Hopefully not at Bubbles expense anymore! :)ReplyDelete
Laughing at the chickens and the soup. Awesome!!
You made me laugh ... excellent methods!ReplyDelete
That's unfortunate! All his fears were justified. Just the kind of conditioning you don't want for your dog!ReplyDelete
I didn't read the comments, but in my dog whisperer nazi style dog training I'd put a leash on toby and have tension on the leash, pulling him towards the stairs, the second he go (on his own) for the stairs, release the tension. He'll be fine.ReplyDelete
Cannibalistic chickens? Now I've heard it all! Gale Bubbles is ok. Apparently Toby is very wise to avoid those stairs.ReplyDelete
The stairs are dangerous and Toby knows it very well.ReplyDelete
And he also knows that he can get food and sweeties in other parts of HIS house too.
Okay, I can't resist the Toby posts, and I have decided he will by my "adopted" dog since I can't get one. Thanks for once again brightening my day!ReplyDelete