Agility Equipment Focus: The Seesaw Pt 1
What are the important elements to keep in mind when training the seesaw?
- The Tip
In order to train all different aspects that we need to build an awesome seesaw, there are some games to play. Mix those games up, don’t rush into more difficult games if your dog doesn’t have the confidence or the value and the speed you are looking for.
Counter condition the seesaw noise. Don’t take it for granted that your dog is going to love the noise that a seesaw makes when it bangs on the ground. Start conditioning your dog to the noise by being at a distance when someone is banging the seesaw, reward your dog with food or his favourite toy in order to get him used to noise. Gradually decrease the distance you are away from seesaw, keeping the game fun and positive. The aim is for your dog to be happy and confident being close the seesaw when it bangs.
Body awareness on the seesaw is a big part. Build up confidence and balance using lots of items that wobble and move. Start off with something that only moves slightly, then gradually progress to lots of different items such as wobble boards, wobble cushions, donut/yoga balls etc.
Place a contact plank between two agility tables; start using lower tables and progress gradually to higher tables, to get the dog used to height. Build value for the plank by rewarding 4 feet on the plank and walk the dog across the plank to build confidence. Ask the dog to turn around and change direction, ask different behaviours like sit/down/stand but keep the arousal level low in order to give the dog time and confidence without speed.
When the dog is confident with the game in number 3, start playing restrained recalls on the plank between two tables. Again start with low height tables to begin with and then build the height. Have someone restrain your dog and call your dog across and reward them with food or their toy when they reach you. Back chain this exercise starting from end of the plank, then the middle until your play restrained recalls from one table to the other!
That’s it for this week! Join me next week for more seesaw games!
About the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.