Big Brother “Willie” Leads the Way

Sometime during all the holiday hustle our 5 month old puppy “Taj” decided to no longer climb the stairs. It would now require my husband hoisting him up the first flight to the landing and then Taj would continue on his own hovering against the wall for safety. The lower flight of stairs for which he refuses to climb have open railings – hence the problem? Not so easy to answer since he would still climb the few stairs on the outside of the house but yes hovering against the wall and not coming up the middle.
We tried covering the open railings – no success. We then began a long two week multiple daily training sessions to get him back on track – no success. These daily training attempts included every treat know to man and beast including a fresh baked turkey – Taj’s favorite. He would eventually climb two maybe three steps after days of work. His little legs would shake and he’d whine like he was in pain not able to reach the turkey prize at the top. Yet this little guy can run like a rocket through our backyard, up hills with full force and back down – no physical handicaps!
It was taxing all our puppy patience. Our son Sean worked diligently with Taj and so did Tom. I spent many days planted on the steps singing happy tunes of encouragement and plentiful puppy praises. I thought about calling the dog whisperer who would think we were crazy and put Taj on a leash and yank him up the steps.
Okay, I broke down and did just that – no more Julie Andrews singing “Mary Poppins” songs. We bought a new harness, buckled Taj in, attached his leash, and began to drag him up the steps – no success!!
Somewhere during all my frustration, our older dog Willie growing impatient himself of little brothers unfounded fears, yanked the leash out of my hand and pulled Taj up the stairs. Little brother didn’t dare argue with that kind of dogged determination. He reluctantly proceeded up the steps with Willie pulling and me pushing from behind. After two more big brother training sessions, Taj decided to go willingly with Willie in the lead. The next night after letting them both inside from their evening potty break, I couldn’t find Taj – yep there he was at the top of the stairs ready for bed. Willie and I still standing at the bottom looked at each other: “Was he just duping us all along?” For any of you animal behaviorists, I think this may be one for the books!
Love your pets ~nan~



Moved to Clark County in 1981. Spent our first year of marriage in Alaska and childhood and college years in Ohio. Happily married for over thirty years raised four dogs, two cats, and one is good!

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