Small Steps and Stairs

Zeke hit a fear period this week, I’d been expecting it to happen. It was more noticeable than the occasional brakes he puts on when out walking. If you don’t know what this is, Blue Cross website has an explanation of the puppy adolescent phase where you can read more.

We were out on our morning walk about to pass by the main road, and I noticed Zeke’s tail was hanging straight down. Not quite between his legs, but not far off. Saying nothing I turned us to walk towards a quieter place. I said nothing because I don’t want to emphasise whatever it was that was bothering him. The fact that we’d been there two days before and he’d trotted along quite happily, was irrelevant.

I’m really glad we’ve also already been working on going up and down stairs safely. As Zeke sleeps in his crate in my room, I’ve been carrying him up and down the stairs. But in the last couple of weeks I’ve been putting him on the stairs before we reach the top/bottom steps, so he can walk the last couple of steps on his own. Initially throwing treats on the step ahead to encourage him. I’ve been doing this so he would be confident about walking up and down stairs. He does take it really slowly coming down though, which I encourage by walking by the side of him (initially with one hand in front). He’s probably mimicking me as I’d been walking really slowly when carrying him, worried I would drop him as he was getting so heavy! I think it’s safer for both of us for him to walk himself in this controlled way.

This means though, as with external doors, I have to be sure to close the hall door. I don’t want him charging up and down the stairs unsupervised! There’s obviously the risk of serious injury if he fell, with the potential for him to cause damage his growing bones

Protecting his long bones means alternative ways of exercising his mind to tire him out, just as I did with Jake as he struggled with arthritis. Zeke already loves a good game of search, I hope a sign of fun to come when we can start scent classes.

Until next time

Jen

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