Wednesday, September 8, 2010

See Saw Training - "Around The Clock" Exercises

It's Wednesday.  Raining.  Hot.  Humid.  Nothing I can do outside. Great day to blog.

Sheryl and I went to the field Monday morning from 8:30-10:30 a.m. I spent some time formalizing my see saw training techniques, with Sheryl acting as my student, as follows:

The see saw presents many challenges:

Correct entries: Entry must be from the yellow zone of the down end.  Not much of a problem for small Ds, but large Ds can and do hop on nearer to the middle of the board, missing the contact zone altogether -- an automatic disqualification.  While side entries are not illegal, I don't allow my dogs to do them.  I train with wings on either side of the entry position, and they have to enter between the wings, i.e., from the bottom.  See short video here.

Correct exits: Exit must be from the far end, and the board must hit the ground before D looses contact.  No fly-offs allowed.  Little D's especially must be trained to run out to the far tip of the board so their weight will bring the board down quickly.  Little D's often run 2/3 or 3/4 out, stop or even back up a few steps, and wait what seems like an eternity for the board to hit the ground before running out to the end, or hopping off from where they are.  All big NO NOs. Large D's often exit by taking a giant leap over the contact zone, missing it altogether, another big NO NO.  D's HAVE TO STAY ON UNTIL THE BOARD HITS THE GROUND, AND GET AT LEAST 1 FOOT INTO THE YELLOW CONTACT ZONE.

Overcoming these issues from any handling angle is essential to "excellent" performance.  The diagram shows how I train this.

INSTRUCTIONS: Position D to your left at 8.  Send to see saw, saying "see saw". As D crosses board, move to 7, say "TOUCH" or ''GET IT".  Once they've eaten the treat, call D to you with your release word: "Off", "Here", "okay", treat, position D to your left side again, send, move to 6, etc. Later, send from 4, move against D's direction to 5, 6, etc.  Do the same from 10-2.

Commands: "SeeSaw, Get It, Off"
Treats: for small D's, encourage them to run to end of board by putting a sticky treat on board about 2" from the end. Put this on a piece of tape so you don't scent the board. Remove tape at end of practice. For large D's put treat on target on ground, a foot or 2 from where board hits ground if you want to encourage the 2 on-2 off behavior, or on the board if you want a 4 on behavior.


#1  D must be running over the see-saw, off leash, with H running alongside 5-6' away.

#2  D must have a reasonable 2 on-2 off, or 4 on behavior at the far end. (H must decide which behavior they want D to always perform, and train for that consistently).

#3  A "get it" or "touch" command, allowing D to eat the treat from the target plate.

#3  A release command, such as OFF, HERE or OKAY. Until given, D must stay on the see saw.

#4  Plenty of treats, a target (T) for large Ds, sticky treats for small Ds and some duck or masking tape.

#5 A clicker, if you do clicker training, which allows you to click at the end, and reward after releasing D from the end.

Make it fun. No need to do all positions at once, nor always treat. Maybe 8, 7, 6, then a different game on some other equipment. Later 6, 5, 4. Vary your positions throughout D's training, work both sides, and keep it up until no matter where you send from or run to, D succeeds.

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