Ten days ago we carried Cooper up and down the stairs at the Kohl Center until he decided that he would follow some interesting people down the stairs as we were leaving. Even after that he would not descend the stairway to our basement. He would stand at the top when Lisa and Monte did laundry. He would cry as I tried to coax him down using Monte an an example
Last night as I was preparing dinner, Lisa and Monte were downstairs working and I heard Cooper plea to help him. Then, I heard footsteps on the stairs. I thought Monte must be coming back upstairs. No, it was Cooper who decided that fear be damned he had to check out what was going on downstairs and conquered the stairs. He has quickly learned that we keep his extra food in the laundry room and he receives a small reward for each trip.
Now every time the basement door opens, he hightails it downstairs. This should continue as long as we keep reinforcing the behavior. His new found prowess was put to the test this evening at Madison Fire House #4. They had a four story open, grated, steel stairway. that the group of puppies practiced on. Cooper only made it to the fourth step before turning around. All in all, not bad - we need to keep the experiences positive.
In addition to the very scary stairs, the puppies were exposed to the lights and sirens as the firetruck left on a call. Each dog made friends with the kind fireman as she donned her full equipment - some were more accepting than others. Cooper didn't mind as long there was a chance for affection or food. He was searching for the origin of the voice as she attempted to get him to SIT, with her mask on.