Some days I really feel I should apologise to Rio. She has spent three years telling me to let go of my expectations and to just focus on being awesome, and I’m just not getting the message. Whatever, she tells me. Get hung up on these small details, your criteria and your goals. I’ll be over here doing my amazing fun stuff.
In all seriousness, over Christmas, I decided to change my approach to Rio’s seesaw training again. One of the best tips I got from the first ever Rocket Relay seminar was that if a plan isn’t working, change the plan. So I changed the plan.
The new plan is called Simplified (and lower your expectations). Forget the classic seesaw criteria. I just want a seesaw behaviour. Any kind. Any speed. Throw out everything except Rio tipping the seesaw. She tips it, she gets a reward. Actually, she gets a party, called snuggles with me whilst she mauls my hand for a sausage, but I’ll take that.
Our last training plan has not gone to waste, because Rio’s confidence coming off the seesaw has dramatically improved, and she’s not bothered by the tip-back. That’s a massive improvement.
The Simplified Plan worked! We essentially shaped the whole thing, from basic paw touch, to jumping on the pivot, to moving the board. Always with the focus on Rio controlling the action, and controlling the pace of training. At the end, we had a basic seesaw behaviour. Ri walks up the plank, tips the board, gets cuddles and treats, and exits. It’s not fast, it’s not pretty, it’s got a long way to go.
Lots of blogs about seesaws in the near future. Grade 4 by the end of the year means Rio needs to do a seesaw. Can’t not do a seesaw in Grade 4.