Course Design Teeter/Seesaw Safety

12 Apr 2024Steve Schwarz

Beware course flows where the handler moves toward the up end of the teeter. This is not a new concern by any means. Judges and trainers who design courses need to think carefully about placing a teeter where a handler’s path could bring them moving toward the up end. During a run a handler misjudging their location can run into the up end and be seriously injured. It has happened numerous times.

A Handler Running Toward the Up End of the Teeter
A Handler Running Toward the Up End of the Teeter

Handlers are training distance and layers for the larger/faster courses we are seeing in some venues. With dogs and handlers running full out all it takes is a slight misjudgment of their location… Course designers/reviewers need to be aware that handlers may not be on the same line they might have been on even a couple years ago.

To be clear, it doesn’t require a layer for a teeter to be dangerous; just a handling path where the handler is taken toward the up side of the teeter.

There are lots of ways to avoid this in a course; don’t loop the handler back on that same line or put the teeter on the outside of the ring instead of between an obstacle and the edge of the ring is the easiest rule.

I’ve attached a photo from a course at a recent trial where the course flow required the handler run toward the up end of the teeter.

Thanks to Stefanie for prompting me to write about this and sharing the photo.

Be safe!

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