On Saturday we went to a training place where Devon does not like the teeter. This is my "bellwether" teeter; if Devon will do it confidently, she's really doing well. I took Devon out to the floor to do the teeter in isolation, and she was up and over it completely confident. I have to say I was shocked. Just two weeks before she had flat refused this teeter, and that morning she was doing some tough sequencing on it.
While I was thrilled at the new attitude with the teeter, I have to say I started to wonder what the sudden difference was. As much confidence as the retrain gave her, I always thought there would have to be some very large motivator to give Devon that final push to once again do the teeter. And then I started going back in my mind about our training time frame and the pieces fell into place.
About 2 weeks earlier, Devon had just started to give me a full height teeter. She wasn't totally confident in every location. Devon had done the teeter at the kennel club when the building was quiet and she was the only dog. However the first time I asked for a teeter in class 10 days earlier, she refused it. The rest of my week got very busy after than, and it also got very hot. I really didn't have a lot of time or energy to train, so I only trained Page the rest of the week. Completely by accident, I had put Devon up and not trained her after her teeter failure. Then we headed off to the hunt test, and Devon had to spend the weekend sitting in the van with all the attention focused on Page.
Apparently, I unintentionally found that motivator: jealousy. After 6 days of watching her sister get mommy time in agility and field, Devon had enough. Memorial Day she ran to the backyard and went up and over my teeter confidently. Since then in the last 10 days she has been on three different teeters in multiple sequences, she's only bailed off the teeter once.
Devon is no fool. She realizes Page is doing agility and now doing field and getting ducks. As much as she likes her little sister, she doesn't want Page to outshine her with me. Devon still doesn't like the teeter, but she's doing it confidently. She even did it with her Aunt Susan handling her (which I think is the first time anyone else has ever handled Devon). Susan said that's a sign that she's really ready to be confident on it.
So I guess I found my motivator! And since Devon is giving me the performance I want, she's received equal training time with her sister. I've been working various entries and exits off the teeter to build confidence, and Devon is doing very well. I hope this confidence continues so we can earn that AX title and start working on double Qs to go with those first 8 MACH points!