As sure as eggs is eggs, you can rely on a labrador's greed. I know of no other creature which will do as much for food as a labrador. A banker might come a close second in the greed stakes, but he's not usually after food. By nature a lab is very accommodating, but promise him food and he'll do anything.
A ramp? What's that for?
You want me to go up a ramp?
Benno is getting very old, his arthritic hind legs and back frequently trouble him and, jumping up into the car he sometimes misses his step and his back legs and belly hit the lip of the boot. It takes a mad and probably painful scramble to get upright. He is too large and heavy for us to lift him in.
Let's try putting a few bits of his favourite nibbles on the ramp.
Hey, that's cheating!
So is this!
Next we put the nibbles right at the top of the ramp and stood either side of it, blocking the way up from the sides and forcing him to start walking on the ramp.
After many attempts, it finally worked. Benno got the message that if he wanted food, he'd have to climb up the ramp for it.
It was hard work for all three of us. Benno was huffing and puffing and we needed a break and a cuddle and lots of reassurance that he was our best boy, our lovely boy, our very good boy, our very clever boy. He took it all in his stride; a labrador can lap up any amount of cuddling and petting. All the same, he was keeping a close eye on the box of treats in his master's hand.
There was another lesson yet to come: how to get down again. He would have been able to jump but he jars his joints jumping and negotiating the ramp would be less painful. As he had learned to get up, he'd learn to come down.
This looks interesting!
There! Made it!
It looks easy, but, believe me, it wasn't. This was the third attempt. Twice before we gave up and we were ready to get rid of the ramp altogether. But needs must. If he wants to come with us, he has to get into the boot. Unless we have a dog sitter, I hate leaving him behind for more than two hours.
The next attempt will be for real, I'll tell you how we get on. With all these treats, he might grow too fat for the ramp!