Friday, June 24, 2016

Heavy Metal

On our recent camping trip, while touring several caves, Isaac and I encountered something I never expected - metal grates.

Remember several months ago, when Isaac and I were hiking on a bike trail and came to a bridge over a creek that was a metal grate? Isaac refused to walk over it. Refused. We had to turn back.

Now, I figured how often in life to you have to walk over metal grates? But I decided to work on it with him anyway. I mostly just wanted him to be able to walk on any surface.  I wanted him to learn that there are many different surfaces on which to walk and different is not scary or dangerous.

I had to find another metal grate closer to home, and found a small bridge that was similar, and we practiced walking over it with lots of pepperoni as an incentive/reward. Then we walked on every metal surface I could find, with lots of high value rewards.

Fast forward to the first cave. We were maybe 15 minutes into the hour-long tour and we came to some steps. They were made from metal grates!

Now, Isaac and I had practiced walking on metal grates, but we'd never done any steps made of metal grates. Isaac hesitated, and I was afraid I was going to have to tell the tour guide I could not continue because my dog refused to go down those steps. I hadn't even thought to bring any treats with me.

Isaac hesitated, looked uncertain, then went down the steps with me.

Man oh man was I happy I'd spent so much time walking on metal with him!

And in the next cave? There was a bridge that was a metal grate that was much longer than the one we'd practiced on, that stretched over some sort of almost-bottomless pit. And Isaac walked across that like it was nothing. No hesitation. Didn't even have to think about it.

The final cave was the Lost River Cave, with the boat.  The boat dock was a metal grate.  Isaac walked across it and got into a boat, the first time he'd ever been in a boat, with no problem.

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