Stair master

Alice is impressing me so so much! Today we did two training sessions. In the morning, for the first time ever, she climbed up onto the second step of our doggy stairs! I was so proud of her!

The method we’ve been using is just that I sprinkle treats all over the stairs and let her have at it. When she goes up or down a stair I praise her, but otherwise I’m not forcing or coercing her at all. I’m letting her handle it at her own pace.

Alice at the top of the doggy stairs.

This evening, for the first 2 minutes of training, I took her into one of our other rooms that she has only been in a couple of times before. We worked on the three commands she knows pretty well: her name, sit, and come. She was a little weirded out to be alone in that room and a little distracted by it all, but in like no time she was ready to work. She wasn’t completely comfortable, and didn’t like me touching her stomach when she came (I do that to prepare her for people picking her up when she comes instead of teaching the collar grab like you’d do with a larger dog). So I just omitted the stomach touch for now in this room.

Then we went out to the main room and I was going to let her just have free time on the floor with Hestia. She was in the mood to train, though, and walked right over to the steps (which we hadn’t put away) and hopped up on the first step all by herself!

So of course I had to reward her! Then she jumped up onto the second step all by herself!!! I praised her a ton and gave her even more treats! Meanwhile, Hestia was doing a great stay for treats next to the stairs 🙂 I decided to roll with it and put some treats on the steps to go up and down them another 2-3 times.

Alice lies on the top step of the dog stairs, while Hestia sits next to them on the floor.

I figured we were done training, so I went to the kitchen to wash my hands. While I was in there, she hopped up onto the second step! So of course I came running over and gave her treats and praise! When she got off the steps, I went to sit on the couch. She hopped up onto the second step all by herself again!!!

This time I whipped out my phone and took some pictures. I wanted to get some video, but Brad isn’t doing well and didn’t have the energy to take it, and I wanted to be more able to interact in case she started to fall off the steps or something. So pictures it is.

In the pictures, Alice is a tiny (2.5 lbs as of last night!) sable and white Japanese Chin puppy. She is on a set of olive-colored plastic doggy stairs with tan carpet squares on them. In a couple of the pictures she’s on top of the stairs, and the last three she’s coming down them. In one of the photos, Hestia sits next to the steps—she is a larger black and white Japanese Chin.

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