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Simon's Terrified of the Teeter Now?!

Posted by , 09 October 2008 · 609 views

Up until this week Simon has done awesome. I haven't done a lot of teeter work with him, but he was running over a full height teeter and holding his stay when it banged down. Because of his progress and focus I started a couple of weeks ago working more on the teeter. Simon was playing the bang it game with the teeter dropping about 16 inches down to the ground and was doing fine with it. He doesn't like it going up though, and once he leaves the teeter he gets a little fearful and hustled away from it during his exit as the teeter comes up. He doesn't mind the drop but he hates the teeter coming up behind him. My teeter at home is a little heavy so it comes up quicker than competition teeters (which could be the problem). Anyway over the last couple of weeks I had Simon running over the teeter at just over half height with no problems. I thought it would work if he exited and had to do something else it would help, so he would go off the teeter, and get a couple of jumps to do afterwards, and the teeter would bang down as he was clearing the first jump or on his way to the next one. This seemed to be working and was fun for him.

Tuesday he was excited to go to class and I was bringing him in to class through the door, and just as we got in the building Jef (my instructor)
ran his dog Voucher over the teeter right in front of us (5 feet away). There was a huge bang, and it scared the crap out of him. He also may be a bit afraid of Voucher and other BCs now as he was nipped by one a few weeks ago at a trial. So the combination of a BC and the teeter right in his face and the power that Voucher has over it, was terrifying to poor Simon. At the time I didn't realize how completely freaked out Simon was, so I took him over to the far end of the building (maybe 50 feet from the teeter) and tried to do some work with him that he loved. Going from his crate through the weave poles and back to his crate. I lost him, he heard the teeter and ran off to get away. I got him back, tried again, and he did sad slow weaves and then slunk off and I lost him again. I picked him up and took him out of the builiding; realizing only then, how upset he was. Normally he is totally enthused and energized to be there and he was hating it. I took him out to the car and then moved the crates well away from the Teeter (50 ft) and I left him in the car for maybe 15 minutes. I brought him back into the building and he was very very aware of the teeter as we came in the door and he was really wanting to get away from it, and I took him to his crate, and he really didn't want to get in, although he finally did. I treated and played in the crate with him a few times and he warmed up a bit, but he was definitely off. It was Very sad.

When I ran Al, Simon usually is barking and barking and barking to the point where I want to kill him. He was so subdued that he only did a little moaning and a couple of yelps when we ran. I was rewarding him a lot for being in the crate throughout the class, and he came around a bit. For the hour and a half class Simon was in and out of his crate, getting lots of attention, but he was subdued. No sparkle. After class I decided to try and work through it, and set up a small sequence at the weave poles again, and wanted to have a good experience for him to leave the building on. He was ready to go and I released him from the crate and he was about 75% of usual, and then through the poles and over a jump and into the crate, but without his usual drive. Tried it again and it was better and then, Bang in the distance, and Kathy Sheeran (the owner of the arena) and her BC Bug hit the teeter. Game over, Simon freaked and I lost him. I had to leave on another sad note. Simon couldn't wait to leave a place that he was previously so excited to be in.

I'm bummed that this happened. My instructor says reward heavily at the teeter, feed on the teeter. I've started to feed near the ascending end of the teeter. Simon is in his bowl of food on the ground with the teeter about a foot away. I move the teeter up and down slowly as he eats with his face toward the teeter. He's very cautious and has looked at me several times as to why am I moving the damned teeter. I'm trying to eat here. He's also shyed away a few times, but nothing like what he did in the arena.

I don't know how you do it, Ken...my girls can do the basics..but I can't even get Zoey to "sit", ugh. To think of it..since her leg sugery (FHO) she really doesn't sit too often anymore.
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