Catchy title, huh? Let me tell you the story and then you will understand it.
Ruffin and I have played a game for several years. Every time I went down to the basement to the laundry room or to get food from the freezer, Ruff would lay down at the top of the stairs and wait for me. I called him the Toll Collector because I would always sit down and smother him with hugs and kisses before he would let me pass on the way up.
Then Bessie began to do the same. At first I thought she was imitating Ruff and I called her the Junior Toll Collector in-training. Then I realized she was afraid of the stairs because she was too little. Then she got bigger and braver and she began to follow me down the stairs. And that’s when the trouble started.
We two-legged humans have no problem climbing up or down stairs. We just place one foot in front of the other. Dog are very different because having four legs and four feet they must develop a cadence or stride to their four-legged pace. And therein lies the problem with a puppy growing as fast as a weed.
Several weeks ago when Bess began to follow me to the basement she went down the stairs very carefully pausing on each step but on going back upstairs she was sort of clumsy and often tripped. I would coach her by climbing the stairs next to her and reminding her to be slow and careful. Then I finally realized the problem. The weed had legs. Her legs were growing so fast that her gait became different every time she was on the stairs. The length of her stride being longer with each growing spurt made her become off balance on the stairs.
This problem has become rather difficult for me, as well. Bessie still follows me downstairs but she has become a little fearful going up the stairs after so many accidental trips. Now sometimes I have to lift her feet and help her climb each step. On other occasions when she is excited or in a playful mood, she takes the stairs with three or fours bounds. Leaping three steps at a time and not giving herself time to think about her fear.