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I have been taking agility lessons with Skye for almost a year. She still will not do the teeter. In fact, last week we worked with a new teacher and she had us work on a mini-teeter first thing. Skye is TERRIFIED of it. Even when she hears it bang when other dogs go over it (and she's not even close to it). For the rest of the class, all she wanted to do was bolt for the door. I'm wondering if she is starting to hate agility. She's always done pretty well for a beginner (much better than me) and seemed to always have fun. She had been doing fine (except for the teeter) and making good progress --this setback is disappointing.


Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!



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Word of Wisdom: Dazzle did the same thing and she recovered! Check out her page in my siggy and look at her videos if you don't believe it. :D


Actually, I think Dazzle may have been a tad worse. She would cower, shake, and bolt for the dog if the teeter was even in her sight. Same with my little Peanut girl. I have had my share of dogs that hate teeters. :rolleyes:


These are some "games" I played with her to get her over her fear - but keep in mind that these really need to be done alone with no other dogs around.


If she is like Dazzle where she doesn't like the sight of it either, then you need to just have it there all the time that you can. But not have it ever move or make noise. Play in the room, feed lots of treats, be silly, etc until she is desensitized to the sight of it.


The Tippy board.

Although she may not be scared of the tippy-ness (is that a word? :D) still a good game to play if you haven't already - even if you have go back to it. All you need it a large piece of wood (about 3' x 3' works well) and put it on top of something (like a pencil to start with). You click (if you do clicker stuff) and reward every time the dog gets on the board and tips it around. You can work up to bigger stuff (like basket balls) but then you need some way to keep them under the board. This game really helped Dazzle's sound issue as well as the movement issue.


The low, silent, disguise

Usually best if played on grass. Put a teeter as low as it will go ( almost so it hardly tips if possible). Then (on grass) also put a few layers of thick puffy towels or pillows under each end of this super low teeter. The idea is to get the dog to have FUN doing the teeter. LOTS of praise, cookies, and toys! Encouraging speed and confidence over this little disguised teeter totter. Make it super fun! If she is happy doing it, get other dogs to go over it to and let her watch. It still helps Dazzle to watch the other dogs do it if she gets spooked because she known the teeter isn't coming to get her! I gave it a command so she knows in advance that it will bang and can be ready and watching the other dogs do it.


The "Tip It" game!

This was the most fun, and I still use it today if she doesn't like a teeter. I used the clicker to shape the behavior but you can do whatever you want.

First you need a command (I picked "tip it"). Then you start by getting the dog to put her two front paws (only the front ones) on the base of the teeter, the side that is already down. Only once she truly knows the meaning of the command can you go on to the next step. She should be happily placing her front paws on the base of the teeter and keeping them there until you release. Then you go back to the really really low teeter (preferably on grass) and get her to do the same behavior but on the UP end of the teeter. If you can, try to get her to keep her paws there. LOTS of praise and cookies! Raise the teeter little by little and get her confident with grabbing the up end and pulling it down to make it bang. For Dazzle, I guess this made her feel that she was in control of the noise. This helped the most.


The Bang Game

One of the last things you can do is then get her used to hearing OTHER dogs do the teeter and make it bang. What I did for Dazzle was take half her daily amount of food and spill it all over the ground next to the teeter. I would then bring her in and while she ate I would stand there and make the teeter bang, quite at first. I did this twice a day (I have access to a teeter) until I was up to the full noise level and she didn't care. Then next step was you making it bang, and then giving her a treat. Bang, treat. Bang, treat. Etc. Then the LAST step was to have other willing handlers to have their dogs do the teeter (and make it bang) and give a treat each time.


I know a lot of these might be hard to do if you have a class just once a week with the other dogs, but maybe talk to your instructor about skipping a few weeks and going outside to a park or something with just him/her (the instructor) you, your dog, and the teeter so you can play these games. You might also consider renting equipment. Some places (usually places that sell equipment or hold agility trials) let you do this really cheap. Oh, and I would suggest doing these games in this sort of order if you can. I know it is a lot of work, but I can tell you from experience - I now have very happy, confident, super-loving-teeter dogs!

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