FAQ on almost everything
TRAINING A SEE-SAW
- How do you teach a see-saw?
The biggest mistakes Iíve seen in people, using this method were:
- Not always holding a see-saw for long enough period of time Ė if you sometimes hold it and sometimes not, a dog learns itís a scary, unpredictable obstacle. If you want a dog to feel comfortable, it has to be very clear: a see-saw will never, ever move until you get to the end. You only stop holding it when your dog runs fast enough till the end that a see-saw doesnít have time to move before he gets there anyway. With dogs with no previous experience with a see-saw, it doesnít take very long, but when retraining, it can take very, very long before you can stop holding it since you need to make a dog believe that the tip point is not where it used to be anymore: now, a see-saw only tips when youíre right at the end.
- Not doing the homework of first making a dog comfortable on moving things first. You canít expect your dog to really feel comfortable on a see-saw if he has never learned that itís him that controls the movement, that movement is fun and that the noise is not scary. Here are some suggestions on how you can teach a dog that:
1. get a plank: you donít even need such a long plank as for running contacts - every, even very short plank will do, you can simply put out one shelf from your closet. Roll a towel and put it in the middle and then shape a dog to make a plank move by pushing it down with front feet. Jumping up and riding it down is even better. You can play this with very young puppies already. As they grow, you can use bigger and bigger objects under your plank and eventually, use a low see-saw or, if you donít have one, just hold a normal see-saw close enough to the ground for a dog to reach it and push it down
2. bang a teeter on different grounds, click as it makes a noise and reward to teach a dog that noise is good
3. get a skate-board and teach a dog to push it with front feet and eventually jump on it while itís moving. Itís a nice trick anyway and dogs just love it, I teach that trick already in my puppy classes
4. use any unstable, rocky objects to teach a dog that interacting with them is fun
And, of course:
NEVER MAKE A DOG DO SOMETHING HE IS NOT COMFORTABLE WITH! Anything he does, it should be his choice and your only job is to encourage choices that you like. Donít use a leash, a collar or a lure to make a dog do something he is afraid to do. If you do so, youíre only betraying his trust - and youíre certainly NOT teaching him that working with you is fun - what should always be your major goal!
- Thanks, this is very clear, and simple (I believe that's a theme for your methods!!!) Do you wait until you are done with dogwalk training, or teach it in parallel?
- I was just interested in what weave pole method you use. Everyone talks so much about your awesome running contacts but I've noticed that your weave poles are flawless too. Some of those WC weave entries were crazy! How did you train it?
- At what age do you start training weave-poles?
As with everything, I start early in order to do it slowly. My dogs can find any entry and do the whole set regardless of my position way before they do any real weaving. I find independence and good entries way more important as actually making a dog weave, so I do all the work already with an open channel.
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