Thursday, July 22, 2010

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One Step at a Time

Admittedly, our little HRH Berkeley bears only a slight resemblance to the Warrior Queen Boudicca in the painting above by John Opie. I think it is mostly in the fierce eyes and wicked mouth.

None of those were in attendance in her next photo where she chose to ignore the stairs with disdain. "Really? You want me to walk up and down the stairs? How could you?"

It was a weird phenomenom. She ran up and down the two steps on the deck outside with no problem, but seemed to be afraid of the set of four and the really long set of stairs in the house. With Bingo, I think we took the stairs too fast, so I wanted to work with her slowly on them,especially as she showed signs of trepidation.

The last few nights I would walk her over to the steps and in a casual voice say, "How about these steps?" She gave me some funny looks and wouldn't come near them for a couple of nights. But the tail did wag. The last two nights, she came near the steps and I was able to interest her in them enough that she put her paws up on the first step. Then she looked down, realized where she was and freaked out and jumped off the steps.

"Today," I thought. "Today she will make it up some steps."

I planned my attack. I went to get a toy as a reward and then positioned HRH. At first she did the disdainful sleeping thing. Then it was like Boudicca came down and possessed her. She lit up and barked at me. (I was holding the toy and asking her to come get it and it was out of reach at the top of the stairs. So unfair!)

"Britons Unite! We will conquer these stairs, show this crazy woman and then get that toy to shut her up and make her stop annoying me."

With that, she proceeded to methodically climb the stairs. She didn't do it in a rush, like Bingo. She did it with thoughts of falling backwards, so she went slowly and carefully. Very methodically. Almost easily, one might say.

At the top she turned around and sat and I gave her the toy. I detected a small smirk but that could have been the toy hitching up her jowls, right? She didn't play me. Not me. She's a puppy.

She's not Boudicca. Not really...

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