When it was time for Sammy to go out to do his business, I had to open the door and lead with him following me. He would never go ahead of me. I wondered if it was because he had been kicked in his earlier life.
The thought made me so sad. It was one of the reasons I was perplexed about how I was going to get him to go down the stairs on his own. He was used to sticking to my side and not going anywhere without me, especially in front of me down two flights of stairs. But we had to figure out a way. I simply could not keep going up and down those stairs with a dodgy hip, and there was no way he would follow The Ogre.
I was encouraged by the success of his obedience to the “Come” and “Stay” commands. He also knew that “You go!” meant to keep on with his bathroom protocol, even when he wanted to come back to me.
We began by going halfway down the stairs. I sat on the landing with Sammy beside me, looking up at me and wondering, I’m sure, what new thing I was going to foist on him.
I placed him one step down, and pushed gently on his little butt so he would be forced to take another step down.
Uh uh. Nope. That was not going to happen. He dug his paws in. I pushed a little harder. His front claws were digging into the wood of the step, but he would not budge. His little butt was high in the air and he was balancing on his two front paws, but he would not take another step.
Finally, the forces of gravity took over, and rather than hurtle back end over tea-kettle, he went down the next step to keep his balance.
The look he threw back over his shoulder at me was pure disgust. I kept encouraging him, “You go! Go on! You go!”
He kept going till he got to the bottom where the grass was, did his pee, and bolted back up to me. Oh, how I praised and petted him!
We repeated the drill the next time, and it went a little easier. He knew what I wanted, and though I’m sure he was still grumbling inwardly, made it down to the grass and did his thing.
After a day or two, I could stand on the landing and wait for him to make his little pilgrimage. Then we took it to the top landing and down he would go.
I was so proud of him!
As the weather got cooler, I was even able to just open the door to the deck, have him go out and go down by himself all the way.
Of course, the bottom of the stairs was now no place for any self-respecting human to walk. The Ogre’s unhappy job was to do the clean-up, but my, oh my, could that little guy leave a lot of poop!
We nick-named him Sir Poops a lot. I even wrote him his own poem, which will be my next post.