Dover has always been awkward on our stairs - he still bobs down them like a wind-up Easter chick and it is always a relief to one and all when he reaches the ground floor.
The other morning he made off (with great glee) with a piece of Tom's clothes; he was three steps down on his way to his lair when I said: "Dover! Take it to Tom!" This is a request he knows and follows religiously. He stopped in mid-track, knowing there would be a dog biskit ahead if he delivered up his goods as asked. He tried to back up the stairs, but he couldn't get his hind feet up the step and his front feet didn't know what to do it this process. Next he tried to make a u-turn, but his body is too big and the stairway is too narrow to accomplish this maneuver safely. He stood stock till for a few seconds to assess the situation, then he continued down the nine remaining stairs to the ground floor, turned around, dashed back up the stairs, delivered the goods, got his treat, and basked in the congratulations and hands-on appreciation that followed.
Dover's reasoning process was wonderfully transparent - so I say to all those border collie people out there who don't mind having a dog that is smarter than they are: Golden retrievers - more than a pretty face!
Photo from 2008: Dover takes his first look down the stairs he just climbed so easily, while his hero Jonah secretly hopes the little cockroach falls out of his life.