I used* to be able to brag that there wasn't a piece of Agility Equipment Macula didn't instantly take to. Not anymore. Last night Macula was confronted with the *evil teeter-totter.
What's wierd is that, even with the trainer holding the far end of the teeter up (she would lower it slowly so the dogs wouldn't freak too much) Macula would go as foar as the fulcrum and then jump off I think she only felt about an inch of movement (if that) before she jumped.

What's worse, after the teeter she didn't want to do the dog walk anymore, which she's always sailed over. She still likes the A-frame though.

I'm wondering if part of it was that the course is being run outside, and it was beginning to get a little dark when we started the teeter.

I'm not sure what I can do to help her figure out the teeter-totter. We may miss class next week and after that there is one more week, I don't know if I should simply let it slide or push her a bit.
Marie
1 2
What's worse, after the teeter she didn't want to do the dog walk anymore, which she's always sailed over.

Marie
I am sorry to hear this. This is actually fairly common.

Robin N and Sarah S both had good suggestions
for this. I don't recall the thread to look it up
and re-post it.
At home you can use a tippy board with a slight wobble which may help.
Hopefully the experts will come with their good advice.

I am just a dabbler.
Gwen
I used to be able to brag that there wasn't a piece of Agility Equipment Macula didn't instantly take to. ... she didn't want to do the dog walk anymore, which she's always sailed over. She still likes the A-frame though.

Okay, your trainer has made a mistake. She has taught the dogwalk before the teeter. When I started, that's the way everybody did it. But most top trainers do not do this any more, and the reason is explained quite well in your email. Dog gets confident on dogwalk. Then the dog is confronted by a plank of equal width and of equal angle from the ground. Difference is, this plank wants to drop out from under said dog. Since the dog has been on the DW, it has already set the expectation that said plank should be solid and stay in one place. So not only is Macula apprehensive of the teeter, she now doesn't trust the DW either who knows, maybe it'll suddenly become a teeter!
Water under bridge and all that you can't go back at this point and teach the teeter first, because you've already taught the DW first. At this point I would go ahead and pull Macula off the dogwalk while I taught the teeter.Since Macula has been scared by the teeter, I'd click it. Hoping you've done some clicking (if not let me know and I can give you a very short charger course), see if you can work with Macula with the teeter by yourself either before or after class. Click for ANY interaction with the teeter. That includes glancing at it, taking a single step towards it, etc. Be patient, do NOT use your voice, do NOT tug on the leash to drag her toward the teeter, do NOT force her to look at it.

At some point she'll get bored and give some indication that she knows it's there. As soon as Macula understands that the first incremental step gets her a click, then up the ante a bit, and stop clicking her for glancing/the first step, and wait until she offers something else two steps, a solid look, a sniff, etc. Then click her only for touching the board a nose touch first, then wait for a foot touch. Then wait for her to put 2 feet on, then 4 feet on, then a step while on.

Let her do this at HER pace, not yours! Let her find the pivot point on her own and figure out how to manipulate it. Never correct her for jumping off, just don't click her.
This should be done in a number of sessions, each session very short. Quit before she's ready. Click and treat at a high rate, being sure your treat comes as soon as possible after the click. You might count out, say, 10-15 small treats and when they're gone, you're done with that session. It could take 5, 10, or more sessions to even get her on the teeter with 4 feet. Or she could do it in just a couple of sessions. The key is rewarding her at the moment she progresses forward, and giving her complete control of how she manipulates the obstacle.

sorry, this got a bit long. Just a final note. If I had a new dog, I wouldn't necessarily do it this way. I might, but alternately I might teach my puppy to run straight up the teeter plank to me with a treat while they are still small and the plank is significantly wider than their feet. Then feed while slowly dropping the plank which is what it sounds like your instructor is trying. But I would do that first before the dog ever even sees the DW. Doing teeter first, I've never had a student with a dog who wasn't confident on the DW immediately.
I used to be able to brag that there wasn't a piece of Agility Equipment Macula didn't instantly take to. ... there is one more week, I don't knowif I should simply let it slide or push her a bit. Marie

How high was the teeter totter in the first place? It should have been very low to the ground. Try using the table, no legs (8" high) and setting the teeter as low as you can, resting the end on the table. Then, using high value treats along the teeter, lead her to the end. Keep doing that until she will run along the teeter unaided. It shouldn't be moving at all at this point, just get her used to running along the board to the end. The next step should be raising it just slightly, having the instructor hold it and have her run to the end, gobble lots of good treats and stay there while the instructor lowers it the tiny bit to the table.
If you can't fit that type of training into weekly classes (and you should be able to, but that depends on the type of instructor you have) then you need to set something up at home that will get her used to movement. A large square of thin wood can be used for this - you start with a tiny bit of height, like a golf ball taped underneath, and get her used to the slight movement of the board, with lots of click/treat. You can move up to a tennis ball etc. once she is no longer fearful of the movement.

Christy
I used to be able to brag that there wasn't a piece of Agility Equipment Macula didn't instantly take to. ... the fulcrum and then jump off I think she only felt about an inch of movement (if that) before she jumped.
Your trainer should have provided your class with ground work to do long before getting on the teeter like that. The dogs need to become comfortable with walking on a moving tilting surface. The easiest thing to do is to start with a board - 1/2 inch thick plywood, about 3 feet on a side. Exact dimensions are unimportant. Next you need various lengths and diameters of pipe. 1/2 inch diameter pipe up to about 2 inches in diameter, and cut just a bit shorter than the width of the board.

Now with the smallest diameter pipe put it under the board roughly in the center and practice walking over it. It should barely move, just a small tip. Get comfortable walking slowly and fast across it. Then increase the size of the pipe to 3/4 inch, repeat. Then increase to 1 inch, repeat. Then 1 1/2 inch, repeat. ..
Hopefully the teeter itself is adjustable. If not .. the instructor ought to be using a number of methods to introducing the dog to the teeter. argh .. that's a problem with a growing sport and not enough competent instructors.
One way is to put the down end (the heavier end) on the edge of the table with the table set so that the up end is only a little bit off the ground. Dog jumps up on the table and walks down the ramp and it will drop only a little bit.
Another way of using the table is to put a folded towel or something on a table set high enough that there is only a little drop down to the table, dog walks UP the teeter and it drops slightly and dog unloads on the table.
Holding the teeter on its way down isn't awful IF the ground work has been done. But without it Macula is simply exercising good sense in bailing off an unstable surface.
What's worse, after the teeter she didn't want to do the dog walk anymore, which she's always sailed over. She still likes the A-frame though.

It is very common for dogs to have that problem. Since the teeter and dog walk are the same width and similar approach angles it is more than disconcerting to the dog when the previously solid ramp begins to move! So they don't trust the dog walk anymore.
I'm wondering if part of it was that the course is being run outside, and it was beginning to get a little dark when we started the teeter.

Maybe - but more likely that she hasn't been given adequate preparation.
I'm not sure what I can do to help her figure out the teeter-totter. We may miss class next week and after that there is one more week, I don't know if I should simply let it slide or push her a bit.

Keep her off the teeter until you get the ground work in.

Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com /
http://dogplay.com/Shop /
What's worse, after the teeter she didn't want to do the dog walk anymore, which she's always sailed over. She still likes the A-frame though.

Okay, your trainer has made a mistake. She has taught the dogwalk before the teeter.

I don't believe this to be the mistake that happened with Macula. The easy answer is to blame the sequence of first training the dogwalk and then the teeter. Personally, I doubt that a proper foundation was laid for either piece of equipment.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
Okay, your trainer has made a mistake. She has taught the dogwalk before the teeter.

I don't believe this to be the mistake that happened with Macula. The easy answer is to blame the sequence of first training the dogwalk and then the teeter. Personally, I doubt that a proper foundation was laid for either piece of equipment.

Well I've seen a lot of dogs taught DW before teeter who have this exact problem. But your point is very well made. Not knowing this instructor, you could well be right and the dogs aren't really being given a proper foundation in any contact equipment.
It's so tempting especially when we have bold, drivey dogs to just throw them at things and expect them to handle it. But short cuts at the front end are always costly at the back end.
My first agility instructor threw dogs on full height equipment, taught the DW before the teeter, baited equipment and encouraged dogs to go slow, didn't emphasize or teach any particular contact behavior. Because of that, Viva's whole foundation on contact equipment is very shaky. She's a high drive dog, so she does everything, but her contacts suck, and secretly she's afraid of the dogwalk to this day. I didn't even know it until about a year ago when we got a new DW at the building. After competing for 3 years without a single hesitation or refusal, she suddenly totally froze up. I had to back chain her and start all over. As for contacts, my only recourse is to use lots of yummy bait and drill them before a show she'll never be totally reliable on them.
Robin Nuttall said in rec.pets.dogs.behavior: I don't believe this to ... a proper foundation was laid for either piece of equipment.

How so?
I'm not disagreeing it is a six week intro course, geared more towards fun than competition: but the trainer has been doing agility for a number of years, including working with the Eukanuba Super Dogs. She's basically teaching one or two new pieces of equipment has been taught each week, with a lot of time mixing the new in with the "already-been-done" equipment to give all of us (human and dog) the chance to run things in various sequences.
Well I've seen a lot of dogs taught DW before teeter who have this exact problem. But your point is ... instructor, you could well be right and the dogs aren't really being given a proper foundation in any contact equipment.

She has taught contacts, and given us ways of teaching it at home. If our dog blows off a contact during a run, she has us stop immediately and have the dog do it correctly.
Macula has the tendency, particularly at the beginning of class (when her energy reserves are really* high) to blow contacts (last night I got there early and took Macula into the ring to practice. As soon as her leash was off she *tore full speed at the A-frame not at full height but still about
7 feet and leapt to the top in one bound ), so in practice thetrainer has suggested I slow her right down before a contact to force her to do it properly instead of simply with enthusiasm.
Marie
Macula has the tendency, particularly at the beginning of class (when her energy reserves are really high) to blow contacts ... I slow her right down before a contact to force her to do it properly instead of simply with enthusiasm.

I disagree with this advice. I have been told, and my personal experience backs it up, that this is the surest way to get a dog that tends to leap off the contact equipment at the contact point. It becomes a place to change behavior. You will get more reliable performance if you ask for consistent speed and behavior from the top to the bottom. Ignore the existence of the contact zone and pay attention to the point the a-frame hits the ground. If you get that you won't have to worry about any part higher up.
One way of teaching this is to only raise the a frame height as long as the correct performance is maintained. If leap over the contact begins lower the aframe and reinforce the behavior you want. It could be run to the bottom then lie down, it could be stop two feet on two feet off, it could be stop all four feet on, toes at the bottom, it could be rock back and crawl down.

Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com /
http://dogplay.com/Shop /
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