I had Elsa at her second puppy class yesterday. We spent most of the time going over some agility equipment and things that might be new to her. I'm not sure if agility is the way she is going to go but it was definitely great to have her try all these out. Anything new is good when they are this age (13 weeks). So she ran through the tunnel which I was really stoked about because up until several months ago we had our own tunnel that had finally died and I'd had to throw it out. I have several shots of my other dogs using it; they all loved to run through.
She went through the tire which was like nothing for Miss Adventurous. She experienced some new shaped ball things and walking behind a stroller. The best thing by far was the wobble board; something that all of you in agility would be familiar with. As I am not an agility person; at least not yet I'm not this was new to me. A board with a ball underneath it that a dog stands on to acclimate them to the feeling of wobbling. Mostly used for teeter totter training; it gives the dog experience standing on moving objects.
The wobble board
I wasn't sure how Elsa would feel about this; I know that my boy Luke would have had a cardiac arrest. But if he had been introduced to this as a very young puppy it would have given him some wonderful experience. I have seen many dogs when put onto a table, crate top or anything else that might wobble turn the whole experience into a shaking horror story. Often when something is unstable under a dogs feet they will instantly try to correct the situation which immediately set in motion a very bad experience of more shaking as the dog tries to solidify their stance. This wobble ball experience will help to take away that panic reaction.
As Elsa approached the board and then placed her front feet on it she acknowledged the tip and was rewarded. She went on and off the board several times with half of her body and it was only the one time that she was on with all fours that she had a tiny bit of concern. I'm sure that the experience would be much like someone on a surfboard for the very first time but not knowing you were going to step on one on top of that. She did really well and I will be asking my hubby to make me one of these. Perhaps I'll even get Luke up on it; well maybe he'll at least try one toe.
I was convinced after seeing the board and pondering about it for a while that all very young puppies should experience this. It would be wonderful to have them get acquainted with the wobble sensation. It would do them all a great surface in their future lives no matter where they go or what they do. If a breeder had one of these boards they would have to give each puppy individual exposure as you would not want anyone having their toes squashed under the board while others climbed on top. But one on one is very important even as very young puppies. You would have to be careful not to overexpose or frighten working up to a full wobble as each puppy progressed.
It is a great tool for confidence building; something that Miss Elsa is not lacking in any way shape or form.