Jungle Gym Teeter – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Jungle Gym Teeter

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  • kindredconscience@gmail.com says:

    Would love some feedback! Open to anything!

    For some context: Mabyn is 5.3lbs, almost 3 years old. Up until last month, we had a running teeter (I listened to the podcast about these!), as she has always been successful waiting for it to hit the ground. Then one trial she had a pretty major fly off. She did not decel at all (it was a straight line closing) and ran right off the end before it could even tip a little. Since then, she has been much more sensitive to pressure, and the teeter in general. The next incident came when we were at an outdoor class and as she was riding it down, the instructor said “wow” and she jumped off. They were very close to us, and it definitely startled her.

    So we are going back to foundations, and incorporating proofing/stressors into each step of the process. She is very sensitive to pressure of people (we have had a few eat something bad, go the vet for induced vomiting situations, that have impacted her view of strangers, but she has been getting better at recovering from these traumas) and big/moving objects/some sounds. In the past, I have always thrown a toy out in front of the teeter so she runs off to get it. But I am hoping that by doing this game, she is actually being rewarded for the tip/bang/impact vs running off.

    That said, agility is truly what she loves doing. My little joke is that she is a border collie in the body of a chihuahua! She loves working and has come a long way from the puppy that couldn’t walk on a leash. She still hates having her collar on- another pressure for her- but her tail wags when I get it out because she knows we are going to the fun place!

    • kindredconscience@gmail.com says:

      Forgot to add.

      Things we do at home:
      -wobble board on soft/hard surfaces
      -tippy board (4′ plank with 4″pac tube as pivot) on hard/soft surfaces, and tipping onto plastic treat puzzle toys for extra noise/motion
      -exercise peanut (supported)- working on balance, turns, sit/down/stand/etc

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      She looks really great and confident here! I’m guessing the crate and tunnel mover are there to “crowd” her, right? I love this.

      Are you on facebook? Another VIPer got a martial arts dummy and dressed it up to put all over their yard during training. It made a bit difference for her dog and I thought it was brilliant!!!


      Here’s something similar to what she used: https://amzn.to/4cijJ6q

      • kindredconscience@gmail.com says:

        Thanks so much for the feedback! I love the dummy idea!!

        Yes, I am trying to add pressures through all the stages of raising the teeter this time around. Yesterday, I added some cones. To me, her first rep was a success as she recognized something that caused some questions, but very quickly worked through it! One of her trainers gave us the idea to make an elastic target using a piece of rubber contact skin material to keep focus off of me, but still rewarding the impact. It has been working really well!

        Mabyn did struggle with the stress of a tipped over cone, that revealed itself (right where she is) as the teeter was tipping, but a few tries and she got it! Sadly, no video of that, but it will be part of our sessions today.

        Also trying to make sure I keep reinforcement up in the transition periods, and when I need to set something up, I ask her for a down and wait. I was really happy with her focus throughout the session.


  • Sandy says:

    Sprint – Teeter training – working on end behavior.
    I would like for her to run to the end and ride it down. I don’t want to train 2 on 2 off because of her size. But I would like for her to run to the end. Do I just gradually increase the height at this point? I included the entire session, mistakes and all.
    Thanks for suggestions!


    • Jennifer Crank says:

      This is a great start to your teeter training! This will definitely help her build confidence with the teeter and you can slowly go up in height. With regard to end position, I would address that separately for now. With a dog her size, a 4 on teeter performance makes the most sense. My recommendation would be to teach a front foot target with a sit. Get yourself a target that is about 12” by 4” and maybe a tiny bit raised. A couple of pieces of yoga mat together should work. Shape her to put her front feet on it and sit. AFTER she understands that, you can look at transferring that to the board. I can absolutely help with that too! We trained Sprints half sister this way and I am thrilled with the results.

  • Marty R says:

    Today is the first day I have not been by Ember’s side while she goes across the teeter. I think I’m ready to name the obstacle and begin to ask for longer pauses at the end with a release on cue. What do you think? I have the T&T right at the end to make sure I get the 4 on end-point behaviour. AS FYI I am planning on a RDW and have been using a mat on the ground, but thinking about moving to a plank with the mat now.


    • Jennifer Crank says:

      You have a few options on where to go from her. I do not see any hesitation or fear from Ember while doing the teeter. She seems happy and confident so yes, adding a verbal to the obstacles seems to be a logical next step. I do, however, question the understanding of the end position if the TNT isn’t there. Is she stopping because of understanding of criteria, or is she stopping because the TNT is there? If you were in a live lesson, I would ask you to show me some reps with TNT gone before we move on. If the performance is the same, then progress the teeter up in height slowly. If the end criteria breaks down when the TNT is gone, then I would fix that before you move the teeter up in height.

      As for the RDW, if you’ve done all the ground work and things are going well, feel free to progress. You can always submit video for one of us to take a look at if you’d like.

      • Marty R says:

        You are right that I am using the TNT to get the stopped behavior. I just moved my mat to elevated planks for my RDW training and now I am a little paralyzed about moving the TNT further from the teeter! I’ve done a pretty good job on getting the mat at speed on the planks. So much so that tonight I had one of those “I can’t believe how quickly she moves across the planks!” So I’m afraid if I move the TNT further away she will just consider it another plank and I will get a fly off.

        I’m thinking I should pause teeter training and stay with dog walk to full height then come back to the teeter. I feel like I trapped myself training both at the same time. Do you have an opinion?

        I’ll video a few RDW examples and post them here or under dog walk training.

        • Jennifer Crank says:

          In my experience, your predication of what might happen is very likely 😉 Most dogs that learn a RDW will often associate plank with TNT as “RUN!!” For that reason, I don’t typically teach my teeter with a TNT. I use it later down the road in my training to gain independence, but my TNT is initially used for the running contacts. As you can see in these videos, I just reward from my hand. You could also use some thrown toys if she prefers that.

          I think the big issue to identify here is the weakness in the 2o2o understanding. I think you can work on that while also doing RDW training, but I certainly don’t think it would be a huge problem to pause the teeter training while doing the RDW. I usually do both at the same time by using different markers and reward types.

          Hope that helps you not feel so paralyzed in your training right now!

  • catbryant says:

    I have trouble maintaining end criteria on the teeter. I taught a down thinking it would be better on my dog physically for absorbing the bounce at the end – she turned it into a 2o2o and I went with that. I notice you have a sit. I would think the same potential issue of not going to the end (or going beyond the end) of the teeter would arise with a sit or a down or a 4on? I am curious as to why a sit specifically and not a down. or is it arbitrary?

    • Jennifer Crank says:

      When I initially trained this teeter I picked a sit because 1) I felt it would be quicker for her to get into that position vs a down and 2) I thought it would be easier for me to maintain (butt on the ground for the sit vs elbow on the ground for a down). Someone along her career I put a 2o2o on her DW – she previously had a RDW – and in doing that her teeter became a 2o2o as well. I didn’t ask her to do that but the reps and reinforcement of that behavior transitioned over. I complete understand the theory of why a 4-on-the-board behavior is faster/better but I find that with my own dogs and with students dogs that the 2o2o is more clear for most of them. Even Bee, show still has a RDW, was converted from a sit at the end to a 2o2o.

      I have a 12 week old puppy and I’m not 100% what I will do with him. It might depend on his size. My small sheltie, Taylor, has a WONDERFUL sit at the end of the teeter but I trained it different than I show here. I taught her to sit on a mousepad and then put the mousepad at the end of the board. It worked like a dream but it don’t think this can be down with RDW dogs. I am working with Fudge (11 months) on a sit at the end as well but training it different with Bee, Hi5, or Taylor. We will see how it goes 😉

      Feel free to submit video so we can take a look. If the teeter is something that is currently presenting problems, let’s work on it!!! You can post video here in the comments or send over privately via email.

      • judyvedder@gmail.com says:

        Hi Jennifer, I have a puppy and I would love an update on your training. Can we get more details about the 12-week-old puppy you referred to and how his/her teeter training is progressing? Can we get more details about Bee, Hi5, and Taylor’s performance at the end of the Teeter?

        • Jennifer Crank says:

          Hey there! Yes, a teeter update is a good thing 🙂 Especially since I have different dogs doing different things for various reasons.

          To be honest, the 4-on teeter performance is much hard to maintain criteria, in my experience. While the initial training of sitting/downing at the end is pretty easy, if is hard to maintain what defines “the end” of the board. Hi5 started to sit earlier and earlier instead of driving all the way to the end. The 2o2o is much easier to define but still isn’t ideal for many small dogs. I give my recommendation of performance based on the dogs size.

          Fudge (frenchie) – does 4 on with a sit
          Taylor (8″ sheltie) – does 4 on with sit
          Bee and Hi5 – trained with 4 on with sit and retrained to 2o2o; we are all much happier 🙂
          Flirt (who I believe is the puppy I was referring to) learned a 2o2o as she grew big enough I wasn’t worried about the board coming back up to hit her in the butt.

  • cordell.barbara@gmail.com says:

    Hi Jenn. We are back to square one with the teeter. He was doing fine and then for some reason he now refuses. My dog is still reluctant to just get on the board. He walks alongside with his 2 front paws on. Towards the end of our session today he was offering that more frequently so my question is should spend more time with him getting all four paws on and off without hesitation before moving to working in the fulcrum area? Thanks!

    • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

      Maybe send some video. He may think that’s the new game. I would try different handler positions to encourage him to get all 4 feet on. You could also do some work on a single board on the ground next to the teeter, and then immediately go work on the teeter to see if he makes the connection.

      • cordell.barbara@gmail.com says:

        OK will do and thank you Sarah.

      • cordell.barbara@gmail.com says:

        Here is Blue doing the crab walk. He did finally get on the teeter and towards the end of our session he was getting on a little quicker so just wondering if I should work more towards him just getting on/off/on before moving towards trying to get him to turn around on it etc as Jenn does in her video.(?) Thanks!

        • Sarah Fernandezlopez says:

          So, many dog very naturally “front” their handler. So I think I’m this case your position facing the dog is making it harder. I would try walking next to the plank so your shoulders are facing the length of the plank, not the width.

          • cordell.barbara@gmail.com says:

            Of course that’s an important observation. I’ll give that a try. Thank you Sarah!

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