01 May 2009

Twighlight of the Teeter Re-Training Method-Step One.

So let the record stand here, I was never remiss in teeter totter training. We toiled and travailed and trained that teeter, methodically, thoroughly. We toured teeters together, through thick and thin, throughout the state. Teaching that the totter is always fast, the clatter sometimes loud, but that a teeter needs to totter and it's always totally tight.

Even with this life history of teeters, never tumultuous, always triumphant, Gustavo took on a terrible teeter last Saturday and totally tripped out. Should I mention he's also scared of sheetrock screws, blowing tarps, kites, hammering, garbage cans, and oak trees? So not a huge surprise, although a total bummer.

When I realized that this tottering teeter terror might not be a fly by nite tick tock, I told his team, Gustavo can't come to Team Day in May. He's having a bad teeter month and needs to stay home drinking warm liquids and watching the Price is Right. They responded, maybe not in these exact words, but basically, "Oh hell. Your shrimpy dog's little fear du jour nada compared to the trillion ways OUR dogs might screw up and what the hell. We promise that we won't come and kill you in the night with bats if he can't do the teeter during team and totally ruins the whole thing for us and makes our lives shitty for at least 20 minutes after our team comes in dead last."

It takes a village. If that village includes his first knitting team with 2 somewhat erratic but lightening fast border collies, Gustavo's new life coach Kevin, to whom he speaks Spanish to in dreams, a kindly animal doctor who lent us her beautiful hot pink teeter with shiny black trim, and a test pilot to personally test every single teeter Gustavo is going to meet in the next month as he rebuilds his teeter relationship to one of cult status frenzy like 11 year old girls on a foxy vampire named Edward. Twilight of the Teeters, and Gustavo gonna go get him some teeth.

Fun Fact! His personal test pilot who had a long bout with teeter-itis in her youth. Otterpop. I can't even believe Otterpop is 5 years old now. Spent a year maybe, of off and on teeter freakazoid, where I started doing CPE trials for the sheer joy of hiding a frisbee outside the ring, near the teeter, so when she did a smashing, confident teeter, she could run out and a frisbee magically appeared and time froze and flamingos started doing fancy dances and cheese balls fell out of the sky. Dogs take some creative convincing. Horses learn at a young age that stopping at jumps, not an option, and a once or twice meeting with our friends Mr. Whip and Mrs. Spurs usually does the trick for a lifetime, for good horses. Naughty horses, not welcome. Dogs, need flamingos, frisbees, cheese balls, sardines, steak, whatever poison builds that cult status of the horrid item to beyond insane.

So new pink driveway teeter, has a table on one side, a soft pillow of drop cloths and tarps on the other. So when it drops, it's not very far, and falls like a soft, downy feather.

Otterpop, flies down it, no hands, eyes wide shut.

Gustavo? Hasn't even been invited on yet. He just has the luxury of scarfing down wads of ham and cheese for being happy to hear the quiet, clinky, bang sound it makes. A beloved game of all my agility students where everyone comes and gathers round the teeter that I bang with my foot while their dogs scarf down wads of treats for loving that bang. Sort of like sitting around a campfire singing quiet soothing folksongs if the quiet soothing folksongs went "BAM!" and then there was wads of food being stuffed down open singing mouths. And then everyone choked.

Over time, we have built quite a cult following of slammy noises from those dogs. With nary any choking, Square One of learning the teeter in my book, not that anyone really wants to read my book. But while Gustavo has this phobia of new teeters (he actually is happy and fast as a happy fast clam on his normal practice teeter) today we are back at Step One.

The next steps? The tiny, ham filled baby steps of snails. Perhaps outlined here if I can find my camera batteries. Also, if you have a teeter, guess who is inviting themselves over to come and visit you in person this month? Team Small Dog Teeter Tour, here we come!

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