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Stair Trainer For Dogs

Its raining, and I have a lot of homework. Rugby had to make a compromise with me since we were not making any training field trips. Running up and down the stairs was sure to use that excess energy up, and fast. So, after his afternoon potty break, we did recalls in the stairwell of our building. He usually only uses the stairs that lead outside, so he was hesitant to venture further away in either direction (up or down), especially when he couldn’t see me.

Once we had exhausted the recall exercise, we moved back inside and found another shoe box. Don’t ask me why we have so many shoe boxes… I honestly don’t know. I used the ‘shoe’ part and practiced having Rugby bring his toys over and drop them in the box. He made two mistakes pretty consistently. He would either 1) climb inside the box, as if I had asked him to ‘place’ or 2) drop the toy right beside the box and not inside of it. I changed how I was asking to help him better understand what it was that I wanted. Then, he put three toys in the box successfully, two times in a row.

Since Rugby had placed inside the ‘shoe’ part of the box voluntarily, I got another idea. I could use the top of the shoe box, upside down, as a place board to practice straight fronts with. It is a little too big, so Rugby can still sit crooked inside of it, but it was much easier to fix him in the smaller space than it is otherwise. He thought it was fun. It was also hard to get him out of the shoe-box-top once he was in there! When we tried a couple off-angle fronts, he tried sitting beside the top instead of in it, but he got it with a little help.

Last thing we did was scent work. But it was still raining. So we did those in the stair well, same as we did the recalls. I did the easier set up first, and put the pile at the bottom of 1/2 a flight of stairs, as pictured. He was pretty distracted when he could hear one of our neighbors coming home, but no other problems there.

Once he did that set up correctly, I moved them over so that they were slightly less visible, and the pile was not directly in front of him. That was harder because when he got the correct article, the reassurance of me smiling at him was not as readily available (he had to start coming back before he got any feedback).

I made the set up a little more difficult, and put the pile at the top of a 1/2 flight of stairs. This was not quite as hard as being around the corner, but by this time, we had discovered the major disadvantage to working in the stairwell – it’s hot in there! We quit after a successful set, and called it a day. Now Rugby is taking a nap before dinner time.

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