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Phyllis & The Solas Gang
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I need to pick the brains of all the Agility people out there. About a month ago, Finn fell off the see saw at training, he scared and hurt himself.The following week,I coaxed him back on, but he wouldn't stay. He is also balking at the big A-frame. Any of the other ramps he does fine.
My question is how would other people handle getting him back on the see saw.

I brought home a plank to lay flat on the ground, and another plank that sits close to the ground, but has a piece of pipe in the middle so it rocks back and forth.Every time we go out to play which is several times a day I bring treats, and work on getting him to just stand on the planks.He is really tentative about getting his back feet on, and anytime he does I treat him. I keep in fun and there is no pressure. If he does it great, if he doesn't we go do jumps then come back to it.

I would love suggestions!
 

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Love my Golden Boys!!
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I look forward to seeing the responses to this.....I'm having the same issue with both Austin and Lincoln and the teeter.
 

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Barley & Mira's Mom
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How long ago did he fall off? If it was recent I would take some time off away from the teeter and then come back to it. Try to not put any pressure on it.

Have you ever done shaping? Shaping the behavior may be able to help, since it give the dog a little more control and a lot less pressure.
 
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where the tails wag
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How did you teach the teeter? Usually I would go back to the foundational teaching steps and rebuild - using a lot of rewards. Teeters can be scary for goldens.

You might also want to work on rear-end awareness separately (examples, ladder work or walking up stairs very slowly, one step at a time) and setting up a tippy board (usually several feet across with a ball or log underneath) tossing treats.

My 2 current youngsters were taught with the following steps broken down before putting then together and if any portion breaks or if they get scared, I go back to the different steps.

noise (bang it)

Height (support 1 end of teeter with chair, have dog run up plank and feed from underneath the plank to drop the head - I used liverwurst. Then lift the dog off the teeter.

Movement - tippy board

Approach

Dismount

BTW: I also let my dogs bail without consequence if they are unsure or approach too fast. At one training camp many years ago, they deliberately taught us to have our dogs bail since there could well be times when a dog needs to safely bail from a contact obstacle - bad approach, a gust of wind, etc.
 
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Also there is a "history" of goldens and teeters. Keep it simple and happy. Regain confidence other places. If you have a park nearby with a jungle gym, when no one is on it, have your dog walk across the sway bridge of the jungle gym to acclimate to something moving beneath him. If you can lower the teeter (some can, some can't) lower it to regain confidence. However the 'don't put pressure' on it advice is the BEST!!!!

When my dogs develop an issue, I readdress it immediately (kind of the when you fall of the horse get right back on mentality) then let it go. Then I might do the obstacle once in practice, party with lots of treats when it is done, and move on to something else. I let my dog get to thinking, "I have FUN on that can we do it again?" before I 'practice' it again. The teeter is the only obstacle that moves underneath your dog so it is extremely scary, and for that reason one of the toughest obstacles.

Also if your dog doesn't have a bow at the tip point, teach that on the flat. Lowering your dogs center of gravity at the tip, will help them balance better and reduce risk for any more future falls. Don't ever worry about speed on the teeter. Speed will come with confidence. So your teeter is slower.... big deal! Belle qualified for Finals at AKC Agility Nationals because she was CONSISTENT not fast. She never had a fast teeter or weaves. No she never won a class with fast dogs. She still Q'd.
 

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where the tails wag
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Oops - I should have mentioned I want my dogs to bang/slam that board down, not bow at the pivot point - I should have asked which method you are training for.
 

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just curious, do you guys think that litters that are offered stuff in their play area that moves under their feet are less likely have initial issues with the teeter, or do you think it is determined at birth?

Obviously you can teach confidence to a dog that does not have a natural confidence for the teeter. And some dogs are just born not minding it and it wouldn't matter what experiences they had as a pup. So how much influence do you think those weeks with the litter can shape their confidence of stuff moving under them?

While Flip's litter didn't have actual agility equipment, they did have a little rocking chair in their pen that they would stand on and rock around on. And Flip came home not caring what was moving under his feet. So I always wondered if that rocking chair made a difference or if that was just Flip.

BTW, while Flip is pretty fearless, the thing in agility that scares me is the dog walk.
 

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where the tails wag
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Honestly, I think it does not matter - my Casey was absolutely fearless on the teeter UNTIL he reached maturity. His center of gravity or something changed and he started doing that bowing thing at the pivot point around 20 months. By that time, since he never seemed to have an issue, I did not have the foundation to go back to so he bows to this day.

I think having the ability to rock throughout their early lives would make a huge difference, but as puppies only I am not so sure.


just curious, do you guys think that litters that are offered stuff in their play area that moves under their feet are less likely have initial issues with the teeter, or do you think it is determined at birth?

Obviously you can teach confidence to a dog that does not have a natural confidence for the teeter. And some dogs are just born not minding it and it wouldn't matter what experiences they had as a pup. So how much influence do you think those weeks with the litter can shape their confidence of stuff moving under them?

While Flip's litter didn't have actual agility equipment, they did have a little rocking chair in their pen that they would stand on and rock around on. And Flip came home not caring what was moving under his feet. So I always wondered if that rocking chair made a difference or if that was just Flip.

BTW, while Flip is pretty fearless, the thing in agility that scares me is the dog walk.
 

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BTW, while Flip is pretty fearless, the thing in agility that scares me is the dog walk.
The dog walk the first time Belle was on a full height scared the snot out of me too. Here was my BIG lab TOWERING over me. I am just over 5' so a 4' dog walk had her IN THE AIR!!!!

Falls off dog walks are scary but I have yet to see a dog really back off as a result. Gabby fell off, at 3' and landed on her face. She got smart the next time lowered her center, and ran across. Same with Quinn. Belle stepped off the dog walk just after the up contact her first contact class back post FCE. She was backed off but only because her back legs moved in a wider stance, and she was uncertain it was underneath her. Once she got the idea to pull her back end together, she was back in action without any thoughts.

I don't know about pups being better because they were introduced, but I can see a good argument for that. Gabby is pretty fearless. When she backed off the first time a teeter went "BANG" I was ok with it. She needed something to cause her to think.

Sharon, why wouldn't you want your dog to lower their front end and ride the teeter down? It is better on their front end. No it does not have to slow them down, it is just a weight shift. Gabby is still immature so she slows for it, but I have seen many a dog run into the bow and hit the contact zone and go on. I wish I had the picture of my friend Kim's lab Ranger riding down the teeter. She is one of the fastest labs in the country. She was #2 last year, beats world team borders on time, this year she had a litter of pups so didn't trial that much.
 

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where the tails wag
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My Rowdy and Casey stopped at the pivot point to lower their center (bow) and wait for the board to tip. They would then walk/run down. Casey was as fast or faster than any border collie (he frequently beat them) and that pausing at the pivot point just bothered me. I wanted future dogs of mine to charge the teeter like a BC does !!

Towhee pauses a split second to lift her right leg & paw and smacks that board down (it is the cutest thing) while Faelan just runs beyond the pivot point and his weight shifts backwards as he continues down to the end.

It is just a preference I guess :)
 

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They get it
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Kate
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I'm not an agility person... but thought I'd say I'm all amazement when I watch the agility dogs next door at class zooming over the obstacles and BANGING that teeter with no concern for life or limb. :)

Our two old guys played in agility for a short while between obedience and retirement... and I remember we introduced them to LOW obstacles + we generally had two people working the teeter - one to ease it down for the dog while the trainer walked next to the dog and offered support. Probably wasn't perfect, but we had two middle aged dogs who had issues with height (Danny would especially tremble a lot back then with our old vet who'd put him up on the exam table) who soon didn't need any of that support to get up and over on the teeter, dog walk, and a-frame. What I remember is it did take a lot of time to build up that trust.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Something I would try, if confronted with this.
I would not have the dog do the teeter at this time. I would set the teeter up so the board is virtually level, out a chair under the one end to lower the other. Have the dog just put two paws on the end with out the chair and let him push it down. As soon as it touches say "BANG!" and treat with a high value treat/toy/game. The more enthusiastic he bangs it the more you praise/play. Do this numerous times over a couple of days. Then do some abbreviated courses and end with the "BANG" as the last obstacle. I would do this for a week, don't even attempt to put him on it during that time.
Then you can see if he will go back on it. NO PRESSURE. keep it fun.

Good luck!!:wave:
 

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Barley & Mira's Mom
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Both my dogs were taught to pivot/weight shift... Barley is and will always be scared to the teeter. He does it and at a decent speed though, so I never bother much with it. I don't stop either of them at a trial and I don't think we loose any time there. I don't know what I will do with my next dog, although I am leaning toward teaching the pivot. We almost exclusively trial outdoors and not always in nice weather. I have just seen too many dogs go flying off the end of the teeter or have very unsafe 2o2os...

I think early exposure to a variety of things can do nothing but help, it certainly is not going to hurt. There are studies in other areas that early learning can influence behavior later in life, so why not this.

PS, here is a shot of part of the puppy yard from Mira's litter
 
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where the tails wag
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I usually trial outdoors, but do not show in the wet; Casey crashed a triple once and Rowdy was already 7 when we started. Towhee & Faelan will both slide in the wet as well...so if its raining or wet, we stay home (imagine a chicken noise here LOL baaak baaak baaak with flapping wing and that's me )

Both my dogs were taught to pivot/weight shift... Barley is and will always be scared to the teeter. He does it and at a decent speed though, so I never both much with it. I don't stop either of them at a trial and I don't think we loose any time there. I don't know what I will do with my next dog, although I am leaning toward teaching the pivot. We almost exclusively trial outdoors and not always in nice weather. I have just seen too many dogs go flying off the end of the teeter or have very unsafe 2o2os...

I think early exposure to a variety of things can do nothing but help, it certainly is not going to hurt. There are studies in other areas that early learning can influence behavior later in life, so why not this.

PS, here is a shot of part of the puppy yard from Mira's litter
 

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Phyllis & The Solas Gang
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Discussion Starter #16
I just got back on here today, and am thankful for all the advice.I guess I'm lucky that I didn't really have a training technique for the teeter, Finn just did it, maybe that was my mistake or the tainers. He also only did it a couple of times before falling off.

The fall happened during training, and we tried to get him to stand on the teeter again, which he did reluctantly.However it took a lot of coaxing. So for a couple of weeks we just ignored the teeter, but watched the other dogs do it.
During that time, we worked on the tippy board which he is fine with, I also put a plank on the ground for him to stand on, but I think now I'm going to put it on a cinder block to raise it a bit.I also have small rocker board which he will put his front feet on and move from one side to the other, but not put his back feet up.

I always keep it fun and lite.I'm home all day so we go out and work for short intervals to work. I do laps around the property, and work on fine tuning my rally work, and when I'm done walking we work the jumps, and the planks.

Maybe I need to start with just his entry on the board, then work from there.I have all the time in the world,and I never pressure him. We work to get things right, but if I can't get him to do something instead of getting frustrated,I have him do something else, so we always end on a successful note.

Thanks Everyone
 

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Barley & Mira's Mom
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I usually trial outdoors, but do not show in the wet; Casey crashed a triple once and Rowdy was already 7 when we started. Towhee & Faelan will both slide in the wet as well...so if its raining or wet, we stay home (imagine a chicken noise here LOL baaak baaak baaak with flapping wing and that's me )
You are funny! My dogs seem to have pretty good traction, even in wet weather, so I will still usually show. We are also lucky enough to have rubber contacts in our area.

We have had slides before (on turns etc) but never really in wet weather. It is usually a result of bad handling on my part :eek: so I am more careful in wet weather not to pull any last minute moves!
 
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I usually trial outdoors, but do not show in the wet; Casey crashed a triple once and Rowdy was already 7 when we started. Towhee & Faelan will both slide in the wet as well...so if its raining or wet, we stay home (imagine a chicken noise here LOL baaak baaak baaak with flapping wing and that's me )
Try trialing in the rain and being the ONLY person to slide across the finish and under the gating! They made fun of me for years for that one, never trialed outdoors after that.

Something we did for a dog that has a teeter issue was make her push the teeter down with her paw and treating her if she would bang it and put both feet on. She isn't ever going to compete but has made progress in 8 weeks of only 1 hr sessions. The last week she did the teeter let it go about half way down before bailing, but the owner wasn't working her at home (shame considering the dog had a lot of potential) so I was happy with that. Jessie is already showing signs of teeter issues so I will be watching this to see what other ideas crop up.

Has anyone had any experience/success with using those balance discs and the like? I saw an article in Clean Run about using them for dogs to get them strength training and accustomed to objects moving under their feet, Jessie is still a little young for me to risk using them but I might use them in the future. Solas, your dog might be able to try that though since he is older, I'm sure the article is online somewhere or someone could lend you that issue.
 
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