Dog agility courses became popular after an exhibition at the 1978 Crufts Dog Show, according to "The Baltimore Dog Magazine". In retrospect, it seems implausible that dog shows only require participants to walk and trot around a ring. In the partnership of man and dog, dogs have always earned their keep, so it seems natural that we include activities in any dog contest. One obstacle on the agility course is the teeter-totter.
Construct the plank of the teeter totter from anything that isn't slippery even if it's wet. The 12-foot long plank must be 12 inches wide, give or take an inch. Paint 42 inches at either end in a light color; paint the center section and the base a dark color. The color change helps your dog find the zones to hit and helps the judges call faults for missing the start or end zones.
Make the fulcrum wide enough that the dog can see it. Build the base at least 14 inches wide and don't elevate the plank off the base by more than 4 inches. When assembled, the height from the ground to the top surface of the board must be between 22 and 16 inches. The base resembles a simple sawhorse that the board sets upon.
The drop speed of the teeter totter influences the overall speed of the run because the dog must touch the end zone after it touches the ground. Test the teeter-totter by placing a 3 lb. weight 12 inches from the higher end of the board. Within three seconds the end must hit the ground. Duct tape weights to the end of the board to decrease the travel time, if needed.
Rating the Dog's Run
Successfully negotiating the teeter-totter requires several behaviors from your dog. Your dog must run up the teeter-totter, not jump from the ground; to prevent jumping, your dog must touch the bottom section of the teeter totter with part of its paw. Your dog must cause the teeter-totter to tip, and the dog must wait for the end to touch the ground, touch the down zone, and only then leave the teeter-totter.
- jumping dog image by Earl Robbins from Fotolia.com