Do it; don't think about it.
This morning I was bringing breakfast upstairs; I was planning on bringing it up and then going to get Tilley next. Low and behold she followed me quickly upstairs; this gave me pause. Wow; no hesitation, no coaxing, no cheering her on to take that first step. Tilley just came up the stairs but how when I typically have to give a three minute speech about going up the stairs did she just run up the stairs no problem? She wasn't thinking; she was simply following the food.
How many times has someone asked you for direction and you stand there dumbfounded? I know I do it a lot; I can get to where they are asking no problem but when I have to think about how I get there it seems so much more difficult. Just do it; this is the famous slogan of the huge NIKE conglomerate but it is very fitting for this subject. Ah; the brain, a wonderfully intense and mystical thing it is. Often a dog gets caught up in a "thinking about it" scenario; much like we humans do. It can be difficult but if you can get them out of the "thinking" zone and get them into the doing zone you can help them alot.
Many dogs with fear issues need to be assisted past the "thinking" part. Great food is often the trick; but it has to be good enough food that they stop thinking about what they are afraid of. Tilley did that this morning and it was a process; she followed me out of the kitchen and up the stairs without thinking about it. Had I stopped at the bottom of the stairs; more than likely she would have entered into the thinking zone. Momentum is needed when you want to skip past the thinking zone; you must keep going while you can and don't stop.
This also works well with dogs who have issues walking past other dogs. Many trainers will recommend having your dog sit; not a good idea at all. This tells your dog a couple of things; 1. That there is an issue, 2. Gives them time to "think" about it, and 3. That you believe this to be an issue. So instead; bringing out the big guns with regards to food treats overrides the thinking part and keeping moving gets rid of even the slightest consideration of there being an issue.
So; just do it. Questions?