As I sat in a backyard, watching little munchkins (human ones) explore their environment I was reminded how much the laws governing behaviour are universal.

Karen Pryor wrote one of the best books on behavior, titled “Don’t Shoot the Dog”. It wasn’t written about how to train a dog but how to change the behavior of animals or people using the principles of training with reinforcement.
Briefly, a reinforcer is anything that tends to increase the probability a behavior will occur again. This can be done either by adding something the individual wants (positive reinforcement) or removing something the individual wants to avoid (negative reinforcement).

One of the things I like to stress with clients is the mental flip from focusing on correcting misbehavior to setting up the dog for success via prevention, active teaching and utilizing positive reinforcement for behaviour they want to see more of.
Recently, it was interesting for me to watch little ones, new to walking, navigate steps on a deck. The height was much too high for their chubby little legs to step off safely at this point.
I heard lots of “no” as the munchkins approached the step down to the grass but not much direction on what they should be doing instead. This is something I try to discourage with clients too, as it may stop a behavior in the moment but it does nothing else.
The munchkins had not yet learned to sit, turn onto their tummy and go down backwards.
Each time someone took a wee hand and assisted them in taking a giant step down I couldn’t help but think the more you help them down that way, the more they learn that’s how to do it.
In my dog training frame of mind I kept thinking “set them up for success from the beginning”.
Do lots of repetitions along with positive reinforcement for each effort, until they begin offering the turn around behavior on their own.
There was a brand new slide and they were a bit reluctant to go down, but all it took was one successful slide down and lots of hand clapping with shouts of “hurray” to see that behaviour repeat.
Reinforcement at this point is quite simple and it worked beautifully to increase the “go down the slide” behavior.
I could tell the hand clapping and whoot whoot’s were positive reinforcement by the giant smiles along the desire to do it again!
The same reinforcement could likely have been used for each backwards on your belly approach to the step.
A few rounds of “hurray” along with a rousing hand clap – positive reinforcement at its best ☺