Extremely high fear of Teeter/Seesaw. Need help

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I don't walk, I- prance!
Barked: Thu Feb 16, '12 9:55am PST 
Hi Guys,

Few months ago, Rufio had a very ugly fly off a teeter, since then he has been petrified!

Over the course of the past couple months I have tried various ways to help him overcome his fear, but he is not budging. Here are ways I have tried to help him overcome, and 3 months later, still not working, zero progress confused

-lowered the teeter to being almost on the ground with few inches of teeter off the ground. Rufio has NO problem with this. But as soon as I raise it to a higher then about 8 inches Rufio refuses to go beyond the teeter tipping point.

-I have tried lurring him with treats, not letting him step off till he gets to the tipping point- no budging. He will not go beyond the tipping point..only way he will get past it is if I physically force him to do it. And yes I have stood there waiting for him to go beyond the point for a very long time, he will not move.

-I have tried picking him up and putting him a little past or at the tipping point so he has no choice but to get to the end, he will very hesitantly do it but only because the gravity forces him to teeter.

Basically I have tried each of these over a course of few weeks and he will just not go past the tipping point (middle of teeter) at all. He is very stubborn, he won't even do it for any food (I have tried to bribe him with everything from his beloved chicken to even sardines that he goes bananas for).

I'm extremely frustrated because it just seems like we are doing zero progress frown
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Thu Feb 16, '12 4:01pm PST 
Poor Rufio! I don't blame him for being scared after that! I always have thought it unfair to have the little bitty dogs on the teeter--it just seems like such a weight disadvantage!

I would just forget about getting ON the teeter at all and click and reward him for getting as close to it as he will or looking at it.

Maybe go back to a balance board, or other low wobbly things to build his confidence back up . . .

Have you been showing or training very long?

You could always switch over to showing NADAC which doesn't even do teeters because they don't think they're worth the risks . . . .

Barked: Thu Feb 16, '12 4:45pm PST 
So what happened when he came off 'the bad time'? Some idea may give some better ideas as to how to get him through his scare.

I'd probably keep the teeter low for a bit longer (like you've been doing) rather than push the issue. Getting him up to 8 inches after a bad experience isn't bad at all and getting him through it could take a while.

One idea I've seen used: If you have access to two teters I would try lining up two (one low and one standard and even a ground plank just for some variety) just going over the low one (and the ground plank) a few times as fast as possible and then turn and run him up the higher one. Essentially get him so into what he's doing that you can get him past the tipping point before he realizes what he just did.

If he makes it to the tipping point see if you can hold the teeter so it goes down slowly as not to freak him out and/or make sure you're there so he can't bail out and hurt himself.

If he freaks and won't go further, no big deal, back to other equipment and let it go for the day and try again a few days later. If he still won't go a local agility club may give him a better idea.

Edited by author Thu Feb 16, '12 4:48pm PST



I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Thu Feb 16, '12 5:54pm PST 
Max broke a rear dew claw on one and became terrified of them so I know a little of what you are going through. Since we do USDAA and NADAC it was easy to avoid classes that included the teeter and just went on competing in those classes while we worked through the problem. I had just tossed out my old practice board as he was so solid on the teeter, doh. Back to the lumber store and made up a nifty new 8' teeter with a PVC frame that was adjustable from zero to infinity and even sand finished it.

Keep working on the low board at his comfort level moving up an inch at a time the way you have been. He will start getting comfortable. Max started going for it on his own as that nail healed and he had a bazillion reps at low heights.

There are other ways to teach the teeter than just running it, staying on the balance point and running down. You could try loads of the wobble board, having him push down the teeter from the wrong end to teach owning the teeter and I don't remember other things. Just do fun games with the thing daily and don't let him do a full teeter unless he volunteers it. Max started zooming for it after a really long time, maybe even as long as a year.

In the end it mostly was time. Doing those bazillion reps with no owies gave him the confidence to go back to the teeter. He was off agility for summer 2011 and did a horrible flyoff mistaking the teeter for the dogwalk and went right back on this past year. Guess he landed right.
Shayne CGC,- RL2

Shayne- Disc Doggin in- the 'Burgh!
Barked: Thu Feb 16, '12 7:50pm PST 
Teeter up to the lowest level where he won't cross it... then find something to put under the "up" end so that if he walks across the teeter it WILL NOT move. Get him used to walking up and down the teeter as a RAMP. When he's totally comfortable, start lowering the height of whatever was holding the "up" end up. Start literally with lowering it so it teeters like an inch. Get him confident with walking across the teeter at 1" then make it 2" etc. Slowly (really, slowly) get him CONFIDENT at each level before making it more difficult. Not just him WILLING to do it but him LIKING it and comfortable doing it... just keep slowly making it teeter more and more. It may take quite a bit of time of the teeter as a ramp before he's confident and comfortable enough to make it tip a TINY bit.

ALONG with that work with him getting comfortable with the EQUIPMENT, I would go back to wobble boards and tippy boards to get him comfortable with the movement of the teeter.

It's also good to know that several of the venues are likely going to get rid of the teeter a an obstacle ... i can't remember which but keep an ear out.

Barked: Sun Mar 11, '12 11:58am PST 
Rocco had a nasty experience with the teeter too, but my brilliant trainer corrected the problem very quickly. Here's what she did:

She had me sit at the end of the teeter, and place about a bzillion treats on the very edge of the board. (For big dogs, you may need three people for this exercise.) I held the teeter in the UP position so it would not come down. A helper took Rocco and had him at the beginning of the teeter. He could see me, and the treats, at the end of the board.

The helper than led Rocco up the teeter. When he got to the end of the teeter and was eating the treats, we slooooowly set the teeter down.

We did this on 10 or 12 dogs, and while some did try to jump off, they all eventually did the exercise well.
In Memory of Callie

Just call me Her- Magesty
Barked: Mon Mar 12, '12 8:18pm PST 
The teeter is the hardest thing for them to overcome if they have been scared. Callie never did get it back and it took me months to get her to even work on the field with someone else using the teeter. I ended up staying at level 1 in CPE with her because she was afraid to do the teeter. I feel your pain.