Grate terror

For some months, we’ve known that Beverly was afraid of staircases with open treads. Several of our past puppies have developed the same phobia, so it came as no surprise to see it again. Eventually each of her predecessors overcame it, so we’re optimistic that Beverly will do so too.

But now, out of nowhere, something else has begun to terrify her: street grates. We first learned about this reaction a few weeks ago when she was staying with a puppy-sitter who observed it and reported it to us. I knew it wasn’t uncommon; CCI’s monthly puppy report form even lists “avoids grates” as a possible issue involving surfaces that one’s puppy might be struggling with. Steve and I have never had to check that particular box in the past, but now we’re seeing what grate fear looks like.

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This is the sort of object that suddenly makes Beverly’s blood run cold.
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She seems to think she could fall into it.
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She generally veers away..
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…or steers a course around it.
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“Are you crazy, Dad?! Get off that thing!!!”

We’ve been trying to work through it, mainly by being calm and cheerful to demonstrate that grates are not malevolent monsters waiting to gobble up unwitting puppies. Sometimes we try to lure her on them with extraordinary treats (liverwurst! smelly sausage!)

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This morning, Steve and I actually got her to walk on this grate, located in the alley near our house (though I failed to photograph her success, being involved in the coaxing, as I was.) We’re hopeful  that, with patient instruction, she’ll get past this (literal) bump in the road.

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