I've had lots of dogs in my life, but this is a new problem for me. I have a GSD pup named Nova that will be 13 weeks old on Saturday. I've had her since 7wks old. On the front of our house, we have three small steps that take you from the door to the actual yard. She goes up them just fine and has for weeks.
However, she will only go DOWN the stairs if it is my husband that takes her out. She follows him just fine. But when I try to do the exact same thing, she backs all the way to the end of the lead and screams like being slaughtered. Even for food or treats, she will not get any closer than several feet away.
I know she isn't afraid of the steps, since she's doing them with my husband. But I'm her main caregiver and almost sole provider/trainer. Why will she not do this for me? She is growing quickly and soon I will be unwilling to carry her down the steps when I know she's capable.
It makes no sense!! Please help before I go crazy!!
Just my typical knee jerk reactions to many issues of this nature...and strictly my opinion.
Human leadership is recognized by dogs in many different ways....equals confidence by both parties. Human trepidation is sensed by a dog in as many ways if not more.....destroys confidence in both parties.
Perhaps, your new pup Nova has already sensed that she can confidently follow your husband through the gates of Hades regardless of who feeds or trains her. Your confidence is transmitted at the end of the leash you are holding. I would be curious to have you rewind the tape and see if you can recall a moment when those "innocent" three small steps posed a problem while you were at the helm. Requiring a dog's behavior based on one's true expectations is so vastly differently than hoping for a dog to behave properly.
Just a thought.