I have been dabbling with the theory that Rio is just weird when it comes to her seesaw issues, and thankfully I have good friends to observe and clarify those theories with me.
Her biggest issue is that the seesaw moves behind her when she gets off. She doesn’t like things happening behind her, it has always been a worry for her. This also ties into why her wait has been suffering; she doesn’t like dogs in the queue behind her. Her best waits have been when we queue with Diva, presumably because she knows it’s Diva behind her and not some unpredictable unknown dog.
Because I’ve been rewarding at the end of the seesaw, she’s become really aware and suspicious of the tip-back. Which means her reward is de-valued. De-valued reward is less motivating, and we enter the spiral of Nope.
This week, I had someone else rewarding her at the end of the seesaw, and holding the seesaw in place to ensure it didn’t tip-back. I then called her forward to reward her 20-30ft away. Thankfully it worked! By the end of the session, she was actively seeking the seesaw and we had no avoidance. Her confidence isn’t there yet and we won’t be doing seesaws elsewhere for a while, but I finally feel like we have a plan I’m happy with.
Daisy’s seesaw is going to be the next challenge. She could go either way; it could be terrifying or it could be awesome rocket launching. We’ll see; I still have to teach her to weave. One day, I promise.