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Old 01-08-2009, 01:59 PM
Gempress Gempress is offline
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Default Can this be trained out?

I've never had a dog like this before, and need advice. Voodoo is a natural wrecking ball. He's adept at upsetting furniture and that kind of thing, without even trying.

For example, last night I called him. He came joyfully galloping from the living room, misjudged the turn and crashed into the ottoman (sending it skidding across the floor), then overcorrected his course and blundered into the trash can. He's like a giant brindle hockey puck. I'm so afraid that one of these days, it may be an expensive item---like our big-screen TV---that he bowls into.

I don't think Voodoo does these things intentionally, so I don't feel like I can "correct" him for it. Is it possible to teach a dog to be more aware of his surroundings or something? How would you go about doing that? Since he's only a little over two years old, is it possible that Voodoo will get a little more graceful with maturity? Or are some dogs just like this throughout their entire lives?
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:20 PM
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Kayla Kayla is offline
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Heya Gemp,

One thing that certainly wouldn't hurt voodoo and may help him become a little bit more "spartially aware" and in control of his body is to do some rear end awareness and core strength work.

A simple exercise to begin building rear end awareness (because as funny as it sounds alot of dogs have no idea there is anything behind them) is to set up a cavelletti course and have him walk it whenever you have a minute or two to spare during your day. To set one up think of building a ladder laid out flat on the ground. If we laid a normal human ladder flat on the ground each step would be an even height off the ground. In a cavelletti course we want them all to be uneven, 2 by 4's along with bricks, or other things that range from 1'' to 5'' off the ground.

The reason for this is that voodoo will have to watch where he places all four of his paws in order to go through the course. I don't recomend luring a dog with food through the course as many dog's will become so focused on the food they will just bumbble their way through the course unaware of what there feet are doing. Instead I really recomend teaching a follow a target behaviour which is really easy to do. I use the clicker but you don't have to, it might just take a little bit longer.

If you go for a clicker approach simply click when voodoo touches the target and begin varying the presentation of the target stick (a simple dowel perch works well and is about 99 cents at a hardware store), sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right then as he goes to touch it move it back a few inches so voodoo will have to follow it to touch it. Build from there.

A second exercise you can do is have voodoo follow a target up and down the stairs.

Core strength exercises are numerous, some I do with Duke include having him target his two front feet to a circular small exercise ball and balance on it. You can also have Voodoo practice targeting his two front feet to bricks, and then eventually his two back feet to bricks.

It may be that physically he is slow in maturing and therefore doesn't have as much control over his body as you would like, either way rear end awareness work and core strength building can go a long way for alot of dogs to begin teaching more spartial awareness.

Kayla
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:28 PM
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Thanks! I think I'll try that. I've already taught Voodoo how to target, and we have plenty of spare pieces of wood around. I knew that agility and "dog dancing" people did something to increase rear end awareness, but I had no clue how they did it.
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Old 01-08-2009, 03:02 PM
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Bella's like that too. She'll be 2 in Feb... She's done the rearend awarness thing, and can do it amazingly in agility, but put her in the house and she still runs head first into things... She doesn't do it on purpose. She's just goofy.

Good luck, I don't know if you can train it out, but it's worth a shot.
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Old 01-08-2009, 03:11 PM
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If you figure out how, let me know.

Milo turned a corner too fast, slipped, when across the floor on his belly, legs splayed, into a stack of boxes which promptly crashed on top of him.
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Old 01-08-2009, 05:06 PM
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Great ideas! It is nice that he's so enthusiastic. LOL.

Am I just a stick-in-the-mud? I never allowed running in the house except with the Chi's. If the big dogs ran, I'd right away open the door and let them outside. So they just sort of got the idea that running in the house just never materialized. Of course, I have a very small house and that is just too much commotion for me. Good luck.
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Old 01-08-2009, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doberluv View Post
Great ideas! It is nice that he's so enthusiastic. LOL.

Am I just a stick-in-the-mud? I never allowed running in the house except with the Chi's. If the big dogs ran, I'd right away open the door and let them outside. So they just sort of got the idea that running in the house just never materialized. Of course, I have a very small house and that is just too much commotion for me. Good luck.
Enthusiasm---that's one way to put it. Voodoo only does things two ways: the slow, dragging, "Oh, this is pure torture and cruelty" or the completely enthusiastic "HOORAY! THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!!"

The boys know not to roughhouse inside, but I never stopped them from running. It was never a problem with any of my other large dogs. It's only Voodoo who's so uncoordinated. Either that, or it's only Voodoo who realizes that if he charges fast enough, the furniture will give 'way.
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Old 01-08-2009, 05:41 PM
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LOL! I think he sounds like personality plus!
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