Conquering the Stairs.

** First, a fostermom moment: Baxter has officially learned sit! He didn’t know it when he first got here (or at least pretended not to) and now he does it perfectly! Every time he sits on command – especially for other people – my heart just bursts! I know it’s a really small thing but I am just so proud of my little bugger! Now on to our regularly scheduled programming…**

Like many other dogs who got the short end of the socialization stick in their early years, Comeback Kid Baxter can be understandably a little weary of new situations. One new situation that he didn’t exactly embrace with open paws? Stairs.

Now if you think about it from a dog’s point of view, stairs can certainly be quite scary. They are little zig zagging floors that lead to the depths of WHO KNOWS WHERE. Baxter will follow me all over the house, only to stop dead in his tracks when I head down the stairs. This has been a little inconvenient, as I live in the basement and any time I want to go to my room Bax won’t follow. I resorted to the solution for all things Baxter: food!

Baxter is extremely food motivated, which makes training him not only easy, but also really fun. Check out how this exercise went (and yes this was real first attempt!):

The bait: kibble. On every single step.

There ya go, Bax. Not too hard.

Half way there. Will he turn around!?

I'd bet money that he won't be able to resist that big victory pile at the bottom...

Success!!! Good boy Bax.

Then of course he turned right around and trotted back up the stairs. See ya! I figured I should be happy with that and was ready to call it a day. Until I heard…

The pitter patter of little paws slinking back down the stairs. Baxter’s good old love for food brought him back to investigate if there were any missing pieces. He walked up and down and up and down – so many times that he completely forgot why he was ever afraid!

Now Bax trots up and down the stairs fearlessly with ease, and he and I can hang out in my room worry free (which clearly CK Bax embraced quickly).