|Dog springs off see-saw long before it hits the ground,|
an automatic disqualification.
This weekend in Mobile, I witnessed several see-saw fly-offs, and tonight teaching my first Intermediate Beginners class, I witnessed 3 fly-offs in a row as all 3 of my students (Jen, Jerry and Judy) sent their 20" dogs running full throttle thru a curved tunnel then over a full-height see-saw! It was their dogs' first fast run to the see-saw, and they didn't reach the end when their dogs did. The fly-offs surprised the heck out of all of us!
Witnessing all this has confirmed for me, more than ever, that the 4-feet-on-the-down-contact behavior on the see-saw is a must. In fact, according to Susan Garrett, there should also be a nose touch as well.
|Lucky Lucy and Michele, Mobile, March 2011|
The only way I know to prevent this error is that dogs must NEVER be allowed, from the first day of agility training, to leave the see-saw until released from it. It has to be totally ingrained into them that the only behavior they can do is run to the end, ride it down, stop, and wait for a release. They should learn to stay at the end for 5 minutes if necessary, until released. Training this is not hard, but requires absolute consistency throughout the life of the dog, and however great their training, you can count on the performance being a bit less reliable in the ring. I've already blogged about training the see-saw in these posts:
See Saw Training Around-The-Clock
Now I'm more determined than ever to train and teach the contacts right.
Upwards and onward!