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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My new dog (a 2.5 year old Czech male) I am training for cadaver work is one of the most "clumsy" dogs I have ever owned. I don't know that I specifically did anything with my other dogs I raised from puppyhood but they are pretty graceful on a brush pile, pallet pile, etc. where he is simply a bulldozer. Structurally all is good.

Grim, bless his heart, seems to have NO concept of where his feet or body are. I have hidden aids in some strange places and he will power through anything to get to them, but I am scared he will hurt himself as there is complete abandon. He reminds me of a lab in this regard.

An example is I hid an aid under the low end of my deck (about 6 inches) he caught scent at the high end (about 18 inches) -- my other dog would circle the deck to figure out a better way to get to the source, but once he hit scent at the high end, he crawled on his belly under the deck all the way -- maybe that is a good thing / maybe he should be a bit more cautious. Not sure.

I am trying to come up with some excercises that will REALLY help him with awareness of where his body is and to be a little bit more careful.

We are not doing *disaster work*, e.g., USAR, but the reality is we could be first K9 cadaver responders to locally collapsed residential structures (tornados) etc.

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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"clumsy"

Nancy, I spent a lot of time at different park playgrounds around here when Thunder was a pup. (No bags of candy with me :lol: )
I think that was a big help in my dog's developement.
Was your dog a kennel dog before you got him? At 2 1/2 rys old, I would think he would be through his awkward stages.
Ladders seem to be the biggest obstical in letting a dog find his rear feet.
He thinks nothing of climbing a ladder to go down the sliding boards now.
If you have acces to a number of old tires, they could be put on the ground and the dog walked over them. Also, elbow height jumps where the dog can actuall step over them. That also teaches him where his back legs are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, he was primarily a kennel dog - it is like he is living life at 100mph and so happy that he throws himself into everything. I did do the playground stuff with my other dogs as pups and they are a bit more knowledgeable about where the back feet are.

I took him to the play ground but he powers up the steps and ladders but has no reservation about jumping to the ground when he gets to the top so I have to be careful there. I have not got the idea of walking headfirst down a ladder into his head.

Someone else suggested to me to use a ladder on the ground and the low jumps to walk over. I will give that a try.
 

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Lay a ladder on the ground and have him walk through it, this helps him know that the fuzzy thing following him is actually HIS butt and he can ACTUALLY control those back legs. So much of the time, dogs just let it follow them around, but they do need to be taught how to carefully place their feet.
What I have SAR dogs that I train do is actually walk on the rungs of the ladder when it's on the floor, then I slowly invert the ladder until they can climb the ladder. Of course, any rock pile, pile of pallets (wood things sod comes on), or other natural obstacle is very good to build his awareness.
Another thing I teach (for agility) is the teeter and the dogwalk. These are both obstacles where it is imperative for the dog to know where his back feet are. All of these help build balance and confidence too! :D
Just a thought....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cyra was a natural on the Pallet pile - right now I could envision pallets flying everywhere with Grim.

I have to make a dogwalk anyway for an obedience test she is going to be taking for IPWDA water certification sometime in the near future. (We are testing for NASAR in a few weeks)

Thanks for the suggestions.
 

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If you use an Ecollar then the early stages of place training would be good for this. Once a dog is collar literate (he knows what the stim means [this doesn't occur with those who only use the stim as a correction]) you can place him on the platform and when he steps off it, press the button and guide him back on. As soon as his foot crosses the vertical line of the platform (you'll need to use something that's slightly raise so it's clear when he's on it and when he's off it) you press the button.

After he's got that down you can move to empty, inverted cans of tuna. Place him in a standing position with one foot on each can. When he moves a foot, press the button and guide his foot back onto the can.

This is too much work if you don't already use an Ecollar; but if it's already part of your training, it's probably something that you've already worked on.

The ladder suggestion is good and I'd add this to it. After the dog is walking across the ladder on the ground reliably; raise it slightly off the ground a few inches by placing something under it at the ends. Keep raising it until it's against his chest as he walks it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Actually I have just been having a discussion with one of my team mates about the ecollar.

I have used your crittering technique and done some other ecollar work with my other dog using your techniques (we have talked some on the phone in the past and my teammate has been to one of your seminars)

Temperamentally, he is soft when it comes to obedience work and very sensitive to handler corrections (but ignores about anything not coming directly from me when he is in drive). I was concerned about using the ecollar with a soft dog, but my teammate was thinking that is an ideal situation with low stim so I am exploring using it with him......We are going to be together for a week at a seminar in TN and may be working with him during down time.
 

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Nancy Jocoy said:
Temperamentally, he is soft when it comes to obedience work and very sensitive to handler corrections . . . I was concerned about using the ecollar with a soft dog, but my teammate was thinking that is an ideal situation with low stim so I am exploring using it with him.
I'm with your teammate on this one. I think that the Ecollar is the absolute best tool for a soft dog. Most softness comes from a desire to be submissive to the handler. Few dogs are soft about work that they are driven to do. Since the Ecollar, used as I advocate, has the dog being responsible for his actions, he doesn't have problems when the handler corrects him. If you correct a soft dog with a leash and conventional training collar he knows where the correction came from and he goes into submission to the handler. When you correct a dog that's been trained (or is being trained) with an Ecollar he thinks that the correction came from his behavior not from the handler. Submission doesn't even enter the picture. But if you're using high level stim chances are that you'll frighten a soft dog, even without the submission issues.
 

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http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=1295&ParentCat=344

This is a really good video for proprioception(body awareness) and strengthening exercises for the dog. It does go over ladder work on the ground.

http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=1067&ParentCat=344

Another video, Strengthening the Performance Dog. Also good for body awareness.

I have used exercises from both for my showline male who did not realize that he owned a rear end. Most exercises are fairly easy to train but have a lot of benefit for the dog.
 

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I attended a seminar once that used a different version of those balls mentioned in the link above. Instead they were just air filled disks that taught the dog balance, from a stand, sit, down, sit up right, etc. Some of the agility equipment works pretty well for what you are after as well.

Me, I'm kinda "Red Green" when it comes to what I use. Believe it or not, I think one of the best conditioning workouts in terms of core strength, balance, and foot work is spending time in a john boat or on the nose of a jet boat. This summer just to see how well she'd stick, I tried to drop my DDB bitch off the nose of it by dumping the jet boat in reverse after coming off step. I was surprised to see she stuck like the emblem on the front of a Mack truck.

I'm not really suggesting that people do this with their dogs but I offer it up because you don't really need to get tricky with fancy devices or routines to work on some pretty simple stuff like body awareness. A stack of cinder blocks two wide and several high at varying heights will help with body awareness and core strength. So will an extension ladder laid flat on the ground. It brings the rungs up by about 10-12" just tall enough to be safe and accomplish what you are after. Teaching them to walk backwards is easy and will also achieve better foot placement awareness. An empty barrel works really well too if the dog knows a stationary position somewhat. I could go on, but I think you get the point. Have fun!:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Old thread - still wide open and crazy as he has been three years ago - so far I am the only one who has been injured by his abandon. And I still hold my breath when he hits a pile of lumber as boards and pallets go flying -
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
No, he had some foundation work before I got him but we just do scentwork. Hard enough to find time to do that, let alone sport - but he is good on the tug and outs on command, I assume from his work.
 
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