I bought my dog a set of steps today.
I had to get my hair cut -- I look terrible, but my hair I can fix -- and I got it into my head for some reason that I wanted to wear a black skirt for the memorial service, but didn't have a black skirt, and I was running out of some household supplies I needed. So anyway I made an expedition to the nearest fair-to-middlin' sized city, where I could get everything done in the same general area.
There's a large pet supply store in this shopping complex. I went in looking for my dog's fancy-schmancy delicate-digestion dog food but came out with a set of plush-covered steps designed for small or older pets, to help them up onto sofas and beds. My dog is 14, and while he can still get up and down if he's really motivated, I know it hurts him. And since he's going to be home alone more now, I wanted to help him get to his dog bed, which sits on the living room sofa.
So I got home, put the steps together, and showed them to the dog. He didn't care. I stood him on the first step, then manually walked him up the steps. (I should explain that my dog is a Maltese and weighs nine pounds wet.) "Good boy!" Then I walked him back down. "Good boy!" I felt like Annie Sullivan spelling "water" into Helen Keller's hand.
Except my dog doesn't get it. Or doesn't want to get it. Whenever he wanted to get up or down, I made him walk up or down the steps; this didn't go over too well, and in fact he began pointedly avoiding walking anywhere near the steps. At one point I put one of his beloved puppy crackers on the top step and coaxed him to climb up and take it. After thinking about it for maybe five minutes he tentatively set foot onto the first step, then got a paw on the second step as he retrieved his cracker. "Good boy!" I praised him. He turned and gave me a look that suggested, "You must be kidding if you think this means I'm actually going to use this thing." Then he started grumbling: Harrumph. Gwahhh-wah-wah-wah. Harrumph. (I don't think you need to be fluent in canine to pick up the general gist of that sentiment.)
It took my dog a whole year to decide to use his dog bed, so I expect that I have an ongoing project on my hands.