Monday night in puppy class, Steve asked Bob about Dionne’s continuing fear of climbing stairs with open treads.  I first reported on this back in January. Now a full seven months later, Dionne still acts terrified when Steve tries to get her to ascend the service staircase at our friend Albie’s condo complex. The other day, we noticed that there are open treads on the children’s climbing structure at the schoolyard near our house, so we tried to get her to ascend them. But even they struck fear in her heart. She dug in her heels and wouldn’t budge.

Apprised of our continuing problems, Bob suggested taking along some treat of above-average succulence to the climbing structure. “Don’t ask her to go up more than just one or two stairs at first,” he counseled.

So today she and I walked back to the playground. In my treat pouch I had… a piece of ham (slurp!) As we approached the structure, I dangled it enticingly, and sure enough, Dionne climbed up not just one step, but two.

Then she froze. I remembered Bob’s instructions. I gave her some ham, and we descended to continue on our walk.

On the way back, we made another stop at the climbing structure. Again, she mounted one step without  much hesitation.

She got more ham from me, and we continued on our way. Maybe Bob’s right, and the trick is to go very, VERY slowly.  (And carry uber-delicious treats.)

She got up to that second step.  Not very scary, right?  (But she still looks worried.)

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