Once upon a teeter
The one and only time Lilly did the competition-sized teeter I nearly cried with joy. It was a fluke that’s yet to be repeated. So, months of endless frustration followed those brief moments of happiness. Here’s how it happened …
We popped by Biscuit Eaters, the training field we use in Boulder, for a quick drop-in practice. Alone on the course, Lilly played with abandon. (Remember, she’s fine alone but slow or totally shut down if other people and dogs are around. It’s like training Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.)
So, we ran a few short sequences, then played. Work, play. Work, play.
We rounded a turn, and I called “weave.” My body must have told her something different because she blew off the weave poles and ran half-way up the big teeter, which she typically gives wide berth – ever since another dog banged it in January 2005. (I’ve been screwed ever since. We hadn’t introduced it yet, and it scared her to death.)
She realized her mistake and ran back down toward me. She seemed really jazzed, though, so I thought what the heck. We circled back to pick up the weaves. She carried such speed out of the final pole that I called “Lilly, Teeter.”
And, she flew. No hesitation. No worry. No pause at the middle. Just sprint, tip, bang. Lilly even held her two-on, two-off contact.
I started praising like mad, dropped to my knees, and opened her jackpot bowl. I let her eat everything in it.
She seemed thrilled with herself for about three heartbeats. Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump. Then, she freaked, realizing what she’d done (I guess).
She tucked tail and slunk off to hide near her toy bag along the fence. Moment over.
I cajoled her into playing some more and tried again later, but no luck. Refusal.
So, I jacked the adjustable teeter up to near-full height and tried that instead. Run, tip, bang. Perfect. Over and over. So, the day wasn’t a total loss. Then again, she’s been doing the adjustable one for more than a year.
I know a lot of other handlers wish their dogs thought more, made better decisions on course. I have the opposite problem. My sweetie girl thinks too much, worries too much.
But, for that one moment, she forgot everything and ran.