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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Shyla has learned to walk smoothly across a ladder!

You might remember that I trained Shyla to walk across the rungs of a ladder in January of 2017. I outlined how I trained her to do it in a post back then.

Like so many things that I've taught her, it mainly involved "shaping" where I gradually molded her behavior toward walking on the ladder using a clicker and treats. I taught her how to "high five" in a similar way.

After about 6 weeks of working on it, Shyla could take a step at a time with pauses in between them. She'd fall off the ladder about once per ladder crossing. Here's a video of her walking on the ladder after those first 6 weeks. I posted it for the first time back in January 2017.

We've worked on it regularly since then, and Shyla has found a degree of grace while walking continuously across the ladder! Here's the video!

I've also taught R to walk across the ladder but it's very hard for him. Since his elbow surgery, he somehow lost track of where his hind paws are. This is a great exercise for him because it's retraining his brain to keep track of his hind paws. He takes one step, stops, takes another step, stops, etc. It's awesome that he can do it at all - it's taken him more than a year to get to that point!

For Shyla, the next thing that we're going to do is tilt the ladder upward so she's literally "climbing" the ladder!


  1. I really love this, hurray for Shyla, and you too for again teaching her something that has built her confidence -- And she makes look easy!

  2. Bravo! That's pretty darn impressive!!!

  3. they are both amazing.. i don't think i could walk across that ladder without falling. shaping is really a great way to teach.. hurray for both of them

  4. Oooh, watching eagerly. We know some dogs who climb companionway ladders on their boats. We have not tried it with Honey. But maybe your success with Shyla will get us working on it.

    1. Great idea! I've never seen video of a dog climbing a vertical ladder but I have seen them climb ones that are at an angle. I'm not sure whether a companionway ladder is vertical or not?

  5. Wow, Shyla, is there anything you can't do?!

  6. Shyla!!!!WTG girlfriend. I'm a cat (shocking I know, mol) and I'm not even sure I could do that.
    Mom is pretty sure she'd stumble 'cause she can barely walk and talk at the same time.
    Bravo bravo kitty high fives!!
    Hugs madi and mom

  7. Wow, so impressive. I know I wouldn't do as well as Shyla!

  8. Hari OM
    OMD Shyla - you're a ladder ace!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx
    (who's been a bit absent, but is back in the Hutch now!)

  9. Wow - you have come a long way from the first video, Shyla! You are amazing!

  10. That is so awesome! It's great for her balance and self-confidence, not to mention the bond between you two! I applaud you both!!!

  11. Wow, Shyla, you are always coming up with a new skill that you have perfected. Each rung, so dainty. well done, And KB, I guess a lot of training between the first video and this one. We had a cat who would climb a ladder and get onto the roof!!!

  12. That's great, Shyla. We are having some major chimney reconstruction going on here - do you think you might be able to climb the ladder to help the workers:)

  13. Shyla you are amazing and your mom is a great teacher

  14. Shyla you are awesome!
    Hazel & Mabel

  15. Oh Shyla, you ROCK GURL! You and your Moms do so many fun thingies togethers!
    Ruby ♥

  16. Oh, my goodness! She is so graceful! And how awesome that R is working on it. You'll be ready for some serious mountain climbing! ;)

  17. That is pretty cool We only learned to walk through the ladder for back end control, never thought of trying to stay on the ladder. Nice work.

  18. That is very impressive! Our Lab mix Maggie used to climb the ladder back into our boat. It was only a couple of steps though. I wonder if Luke would do this...he's so sensitive about his paws, but maybe it could help with that.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  19. Oh Shyla how impressive are you, all that hard work has paid off. Good girl.


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