Last week when we moved into our apartment in Indiana, our one-year-old beagle, Brewster, initially had some trouble with the stairs. He had no problem going down, but since the steps are open with no “back” to them, we guessed either he was afraid of falling through, or the openness confused his vision. At any rate, he did not want to walk up the steps.
Although we carried him the first day, I knew he would have to learn how to go up on his own. Using some of his favorite treats placed just past his nose, I slowly lured him one cautious step at a time. If I moved too quickly, he pulled on his leash and tried to go back down. At one point during this very tedious process, I told Brewster, “Sorry, bud. Down is not an option.”
There are times as leaders when it would be easier to back down, out, or away from a challenge. But doing so does not eliminate the problem, it only delays it. Sometimes you just have to face your fears one step at a time. Down is not an option.
Epilogue: After just three training trips where I increased the intervals before he got a treat, Brewster learned to fearlessly navigate the stairs on his own. What challenge do you need to face head-on instead of trying to go back down?