19 May 2009

Cowboy monkey dog pony crack that teeter totter whip and hop and whiplash and pop.

You noticed that's Hobbes's face on Whiplash's dog, right? Now THAT's what I call a spirit animal.

This is Whiplash, the cowboy monkey. He loves him his whip. You guys all know him, right? He's not the only rodeo monkey out there, but he's the toughest. A capuchin monkey who rides the rodeo circuit in the midwest, and his string of border collies do a little sheepherding demo and Whiplash hangs on and picks up dirt clumps while his border collie races around. His monkey trainer says he loves it.

And, you guys all know Steve, the Agility Nerd, right? He has border collies, but I am pretty sure he does not have monkeys.

His nerdy project last week was researching teeter totter whip and hop. In his meticulous and well researched way, with videos and diagrams and links. Teeter ass slam fans, fearful teeter dogs, go there now to learn all about the whip. That I was calling the ass slam. And I probably still will. I didn't even know we had a real agility word for it.


You will learn. It was really interesting. And, in one of his videos, it shows his border collie getting the whip in a trial on the EXACT same type of teeter that Gustavo got his ass slam that started us on this whole journey back to teeter square one.

And then, because I guess it's Teeter Week everywhere, Monica of Clean Run just put up all this new teeter info on Clean Run. Vici, the video queen, even sent her video clip of Gustavo's fateful ass slam, I mean whip, moment, but it's not in there. But other dogs, they get the whip and likely have similar results to Gustavo's.

So in all this teeter research, I also found there's other dog and monkey teams. The Ghost Riders do a whole drill team thing, in red white and blue suits. 4 border collies with 4 monkeys. And likely, there are people out there who just duct tape their monkeys on to dogs and let 'em rip. A hobby that probably involves big trucks and Budweiser and putting your cowboy hat over your heart and blessing George Bush out loud.

Oh wait. We were talking about teeter totters and whip and hop? Somehow, in my mind, I just can't get over Whiplash. And his dogs. The cowboy monkey dog ponies. In a real world of teeter retraining, and the future of the whip for Gustavo, my mind is just sort of stuck right now on Whiplash. Who is CLEARLY Gustavo's new spirit animal. In teensy, tiny little monkey chaps.

Teeter totters? That's how life is. You got your solid, quiet, aluminum ones with steady bases, your hollow core fiberglassers, and your plank on tubing. The reality is, every so often in life, you're gonna cross a whipper or a hopper and you just got to be ready to deal with it. Maybe the consequences suck, but you keep calm, carry on, and start again. What else you gonna do? Just deal with it, move on. I think that's the lesson Whiplash teaches us. If he wasn't busy eating bugs and picking up dirt clods from a speeding border collie saddle. Or maybe he doesn't. But hell. It's a monkey riding a border collie. Life goes on.


Paul Anderson said...

I have a suggestion that has worked well with the dogs at our training center. We teach the dogs to wait at the tip point until the teeter has hit the ground, then run down it like the dog walk. This minimizes whip, noise etc.
We train this by feeding copious amounts of treats as the teeter moves down. The dogs run up the teeter, wait for treat, run down. I am sure this isn't the fastest method but it minimizes shoulder injuries, teeter jump offs and dogs that won't do the teeter. Sorry for being so long winded
Paul A

team small dog said...

Hi Paul-
I'm not sure I follow-so you are getting them to find the fulcrum, wait wherever that is, tip it slowly with forward motion, then run down? As opposed to running up to the end to tip it fast?

This seems not only super challenging, but teaching a very slow teeter? Challening in that every teeter is going to have a different tip point that the dogs have to find, some dogs in one stride.

And there would still be a certain degree of noise and whip anyways that the dog feels wherever they are before the contact zone.

Maybe this is just for dogs that have already had teeter issues and you are just emphasizing the feeding on the teeter and you later teach them to run to the end?

I do teach the teeter by letting the dogs run up to the yellow, and feed copius treats while I tip it down at different rates of speed and drop as part of teeter training, but I don't think I would want the dog to stop and have to look for their own tip point earlier than the end-this seems so variable and maybe even resulting in a less confident teeter if they have to find the tip on all different teeters?

Paul said...

Its not as time consuming as you might think. The dog is comfortable with the teeter, therefore he charges up it, senses the movement as he goes,(then movement is quite fast) slows momentarily,(very momentarily) and then blasts on. Yes there is noise but the whip is minimized because the dog is in the center, the most stable part of the teeter. This teeter performnace is taught right from the start and our dogs do not have teeter issues.Granted every dog is different but once they are comfortable with the procedure they seek out the teeter to perform as it is "the amazing treat dispensing machine"
With some of the more experienced dogs you can hardly tell when the stop. Yes they have to learn the feeling about it doesn't take them long.

Christine said...

That is the tilt

Elayne said...

Hmmm, maybe you have a DVD for dealing with my fear of monkeys? That picture of a creepy monkey in chaps riding a dog is going to give me nightmares for weeks. The one good thing about having a fear of monkeys is that it's not typically a problem when you live in Colorado and I avoid all travel to countries where there is any chance of getting monkeys in my hair.

I also teach my dogs to wait at the tip point, even Strummer who's super fast, and I don't think I have slow teeters. No, it's not as fast or sexy as the run to the end and slam it down method but it's still plenty fast and I think it's safer and easier on my big dogs. This might be a little harder for your small dogs though because they're lighter and it will be harder/take longer for them to tip the board at the tip point.

team small dog said...

I can see where with a heavier dog, they wouldn't have to experiment so much with every teeter to where it's about to tilt. With my dogs (Gustavo weighs 11lbs on a heavy day), if they don't drive out to almost the end really fast, they might be hanging out all there an awful long time if they didn't find the tilt spot right away?

I will have to keep my eyes open for big dogs hitting it this way. I hadn't really ever thought of it-I've always learned for them to drive to the end, then either 2o2o or stay on the board (which is what my dogs do). I think when I've seen smaller dogs do it, the teeters tend to be slower-Ruby used to tip and wait, I can't remember if I taught her this or she just did it, and I retrained her teeter at some point to drive to the end because it was way too variable about when it would tip.

It does make sense that the whip would be minimized with the dog holding the center.

Anonymous said...

We have a Jack Russell who is not a fan of the teeter. He likes to find the tip point and then run off the end. No whip, but can be slow. One time he found the tip point, started to tip the teeter, decided he needed to sneeze, backed up to put the teeter back down, sneezed, then proceeded to tip the teeter all the way and run off the end.

My son's first Jack we didn't teach a stop of the teeter, so she experienced the whip and would jump off as soon as it hit the ground. Nub, another Jack runs to the end and rides it down, but has a four on stay, no whip. Nub weighs about 13 lbs.

team small dog said...

So all my dogs are supposed to ride down in a down or crouch like this and wait til they're released (this photo is actually a fraction of a second before the all teeter ending ass slam:)


We practice bouncing there, I leave them there when we practice and bring it up and re-bounce it, they think this is fun.

But when I look at the video of this run my friend took, I know I didn't realize the extent of the whip, and that it was still bouncing, and what would happen. Totally thinking about the next obstacle and those weaves coming up, teeter totter was kind of our no brainer obstacle until now.

So I released him, and it was during the whip, and ass, slammed. So I broke Gustavo's teeter.

Elayne said...

Yeah, Lola is 52 lbs and the boys are in the low 40's so that's a big difference from Gustavo's 11 lbs., simple physics. I can videotape some of my teeters for you but I'm not sure how helpful it'll be. Maybe you can find a happy medium, ie teach him to run part of the way past the tip point. Try to find a sweet spot where you can minimize whip yet still require a reasonable amount of force to tip the board.

Or there's always NADAC. ;-)