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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Upstairs, Downstairs

An important part of any guide dog's training is learning how to negotiate stairs properly. When we come to stairs leading down, Dakota is supposed to indicate the step by sitting with his front paws on the edge. He's already starting to get this idea.

Next, we go down the stairs in a more or less smooth, steady manner. I say "more or less" because, as those of you who've had a puppy know, "smooth," "steady," and "puppy" aren't really words that go together! All those paws and steps kind of just get tangled up somehow. Never mind, we manage to make it down, and now it's time to go up again!

Dakota will eventually learn to indicate a step up by standing with his front paws resting on the first step. Right now, I'm just trying to get him to slow down a bit. His first inclination at "up" stairs is to attack them all at once and get it over with, bolting up two or three at a time! It's great to have an eager learner though, and I can already see a lot of improvement.

Here we are working stairs together.

"I don't know...those steps look awful steep!"

"Oh -- is that liver you've got there? Why didn't you just say so?"

"This is actually MUCH harder than it looks -- believe me!"

"That was a good day's work well done, don't ya think?"

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