Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Page and the teeter

I've been so busy, it's been hard to find the time to blog. But rest assured we have been training. Not as much as we could be or probably should be, but we're getting some things done!

Because I'm confined to my small training building during the winter, I thought this would be a good time to work contact foundation. I thought it would take me until late March when I could get the equipment back out and have her working low contacts. However, Page continues to amazing me with how very smart she is and how quickly she learns, and we're moving much faster than I imagined.

I described in my Dec. 31 post about Page's agility foundation that I was working from several sources for contact work. Page breezed through the board work and is very confident even on angled boards to 24 inch tables. It also only took about 2 weeks to get all they way through the proofing of her 2 on 2 off contact with a chin touch.

I then started on the bang game with the teeter. Because I'm limited with space, I decided to transition the 2o2o to the teeter first. I know most folks would think this was the hardest place to transition it, but Page didn't know the difference!

Page got so confident banging down the board, and she had all that angled board work done, she thought nothing of turning around and walking right back up the board. I quickly realized I needed to get it off the chair it was on and put a table under the other end. Again, nothing really fazed her and she started jumping on the teeter and banging the up end, then spinning around and walking across the board to the table. Within a few sessions, I had this:

I had planned to use the two table method of teaching the teeter to Page. But when I went back to the Clean Run teeter articles by Jen Pinder, I realized I had accidentally skipped right past working both tables and jumped to the end of the training. Ooops! I guess I can chalk this one up to being flexible and working at the dog's level!

Although the Pinder article says once the dogs are going from a 16 inch table to the ground they are ready for a full teeter at 18 inches, I gave Page one more step. I had her go from an 8 inch table over the teeter. I'm glad I thought to take this extra step. Because Page hadn't done the two tables, she wasn't used to the teeter banging or moving twice as she went up and over the base. With the base at 18 inches and the table at 16 inches, she didn't feel this second movement with the 16 inch table. She did feel it with the 8 inch table, and it was good for her to work through it.

On Saturday I was at Pawsitive and I wanted to expose her to their teeter. Unfortunately I couldn't adjust the height, so it was at 24 inches. What I did was put a 16 inch teeter on the down side and had her "land" on an 8 inch teeter. I calculated that although she would be higher in the air by 6 inches, she probably wouldn't actually be falling any farther than she had been at home on the 18 inch teeter.

My plan was successful and she didn't miss a beat on the higher teeter. I removed the 8 inch table from the landing side and she did the full height teeter from a 16 inch table. She was now falling from a full height teeter and she didn't even show she noticed the difference. I decided not to push it any more that day, but I was very happy.

Back at home today, we started where I left off last time with the 18 inch teeter and she was starting from an 8 inch table. After a few very confident repetitions, I removed the 8 inch table. Page had no problem doing the full teeter with her 2o2o contact. I even got her running through a tunnel first and then going over the teeter.

That is Page's first complete teeter! I'm so very, very proud of her! She just loves playing on the teeter, probably because she gets a lot of treats on it. After I took this clip, I raised the teeter three chain links, so it was probably 21 inches, and worked her some more. She didn't even notice the change in height.

I'll work her the next couple of days and will likely have her on a full height teeter here tomorrow or Thursday. On Saturday I'll take it on the road to Pawsitive. That's a good place to have her first "away from home" teeter, because we both own Mark's Agility Equipment so it's the same brand of teeter. I don't anticipating we'll have any problems.

It's almost anticlimactic that Page is handling the teeter so well. And now that she's done the hardest contact obstacle first, the dogwalk and A frame should be a piece of cake!

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