15 Weeks- Down into the Dugeon

Oct 21, 2004 | Stitch's Story

Finally I’m finished my paperwork. Ron’s watching TV in the living room, I haven’t vacuumed the fibre off the rug in the dining room yet, it snowed so it’s too cold to go out to the screen room. We’ll have to go down to the basement to work. Uh oh, a whole new situation to be scared of!

OTOH, I’m really happy – she doesn’t take one look at the stairs and go away. She lies down, looks at me, and whines to tell me she needs me to explain them to her. As I did with the upstairs stairs, I sit partway down blocking her view of all but the first two. Shape her to come up to the cliff, then try luring her down to the first step. Nyuh uh. The kibble is the same colour as the rug. So I put her dish up, and she starts to lean down, put one foot over the edge. When she’s got the first step, I move down one and keep going. These are good stairs for teaching puppies – they’re totally enclosed, and they have two 90 degree right angle turns with wider parts. Pretty soon she’s all the way down. I expect her to be scared of the basement, too, but no, she starts exploring immediately.

I sit down and start from scratch, waiting for Eye Contact. This isn’t easy, she’s busy exploring with her eyes. She thinks Sit in position would be a good idea but takes a minute to get around to the Stare part. We get 5 seconds almost immediately. There’s a shop vac sitting 8′ away from my chair, so I shape her to target it. Sure, that’s a quickie. Then I shape her to go around it. She thinks that’s fun, she has to go under the hose and jump over the hose and at one point she asks if I’d like her to retrieve the wire.

We go out into another part of the basement, this is also no big deal. We find a soggy old soccer ball and I shape her to target it. Soon she’s bopping it all over the room with her nose.

Scuba’s lying on a discarded blanket and I’m out of kibble, so I move my hand over the blanket and ask her to Go To Mat. She does. I get goose bumps and then I give her a big cuddle.

Then she runs right up the stairs. Up is easier than down.