First day at puppy school

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First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Sat Sep 09 2017, 22:40

The canine club reopened after the summer holidays and I could finally take Nifty as all her vaccinations are done.

There was one other staffy in the class, a lovely brindle girlie about the same age as Nifty. Discussed briefly with owner who firstly asked what the hell had happened to her tail Straight Face  Nifty was born with a deformed tail (which I read is fairly common) so it's shorter and has a kink in it. Purely cosmetic and I don't care about confirming her as will not breed (that's a job in itself and not for us). He then went on to say how stocky she is ... She is not overweight at all, maybe slightly lighter than she could be, so I was already feeling a bit Sad
In Nifty's defence, the other staffy had a very dull coat, total opposite to my girl Tongues

So alternated free run with other pups and few exercises. She went through all of the puppy obstacles as if she'd been doing them all of her life. Tunnel with dangling bottles, call through cross tunnel, suspended bridge, wobble bridge, see-saw. Only thing she was really bad at was recall, but I think it was too many distractions.
She definitely prefers people to other canines too thinking

Met a couple of lovely owners though, a lady with a lovely sheltie and one with a 3 month old beagle who really wanted to play with Nifty. They say that staffies like to play rough but this little lad !
Have been told that it can take a few sessions for them to come out of their shell.

Been a big day, she's been whacked out all evening, bless.
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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by LizP on Sun Sep 10 2017, 08:09

That sounds overall very positive, although maybe not the other staffie owner commenting on her tail and 'stockiness'. How rude! Nifty, if it makes you feel any better Millie doesn't have a tail at all!

It sounds like a good class, with a mix of interaction and learning, with lots of confidence building things too. Good stuff!


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by -Ian- on Sun Sep 10 2017, 10:26

Sounds like overall you both had a great time. I take it the other Staffy owner is an expert in all things Staffy then Rolling Eyes that would wind me up a tad too. Thankfully there were others there that enjoyed the session like you guys did Big Grin


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by sir_dudley-dingdong on Sun Sep 10 2017, 10:42

Never comment on a girls weight! Everyone knows that I dont want to s

This sounds amazing the obstacles would be so much fun, I am going to have the check my local area to see if there is anything like that around here.

She looks perfect in the picture if its any consolation.
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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Paris1990 on Sun Sep 10 2017, 11:02

Sounds liked a good class Smile nifty will love the weeks to come and so will you watching her thrive! I didn't know how clever Stafford were Until we took hank to his and he was getting everything straight away and the other "posh dogs" weren't Laughing I could see the fury in the other owners eyes as the trainer was praising him at every class Big Grin so I imagine you will get this too!
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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Sun Sep 10 2017, 12:56

Thanks to you all for your support.

The good points by far outweigh the bad and as for other staffy owner, not only does he not appear to know about staffy solidarity but I wasn't the one who turned up with an extendible dog lead Tongues


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Paris1990 on Sun Sep 10 2017, 13:29

Oh god! Were you all giving specific instructions before attending the class? we had to have a training lead or we couldn't attend the class.. which is common sense anyway with what we were doing even if she hadn't told us we had to bring one
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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Sun Sep 10 2017, 14:17

Well I believe it's a bit of common sense and research beforehand.

Even though I know a couple of instructors there, I went to watch a couple of sessions to see how they were run and to see what other canines would be in the class.
I asked questions and was told about the necessity of a short lead and definitely no extendibles as some exercises require the dog to run with lead attached.


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Sat Sep 16 2017, 18:30

Ah, Staffy solidarity does exist ! thumbs up

This week there were alot more puppies in the class, and 2 more staffies. Brother (blue brindle) and sister (blue). Discussed with the brother's owner who also owns mum. He did ask if Nifty's tail was birth defect and then went on to say that she's a lovely colour and he likes her build. Smile

These 2 blues are a month older but much much finer than Nifty - she's definitely bully compared to them. But these staffy owners were lovely.

Nifty wasn't really in her element today, one of those "down" days. Exercises were more-or-less well executed but she went into timid meltdown mode during freetime socialization.
One other lady had brought her 7 yr old son and Nifty promptly adopted him for all socialization sessions Laughing That's a real nanny dog !

Trainers told me not to worry, that the aim was to produce balanced and sociable dogs. They said that Nifty was a nice pup with a good character - an afternoon full of compliments !


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Tue Feb 20 2018, 17:23

Hello Nifty staffy! It’s been a few months since your post and I was wondering how your pup is doing with socialization? I’m a first time puppy mom, I’ve had small adult dogs before but about a month ago I ended up adopting a staffy, german shepherd, husky mix. I found this out after I did a DNA test. When I adopted her they said she was a lab/shepherd mix and didn’t realize she was a staff/shepherd mix. As a first time owner I feel overwhelmed with how much socialization this mixed breed needs and I am nervous about the challenges ahead. I am reading books, started puppy classes at 10 weeks, took her to puppy play time as soon as she could after her shots and try to be the pack leader even though I don’t completely understand what that means yet. When I first took her to puppy play time she was terrified, sat in the corner and when the dog approached her she was so scared she started showing her teeth. They immediately took her to a separate space and wasn’t able to play very much that day. The next day I took her again and she played! She was more excited as long as she was dominated and she definitely played rough, they had to stop her a couple of times since she got on top of the other puppy. I was hoping to have a pup I could take to dog parks but after what i have been reading about both breeds (amstaff/gsd) I’m afraid I won’t be able to. I love my pup so much and would do anything for her! I leave her at doggy day care with a sweet couple I found on Rover, I play with her and her toys, I take her on 3 walks minimim, run a bit until she gets tired, crate teain her at night and when I leave for short amounts of time i.e. grocery shopping. I make her sit before meals, practice what’s been taught in puppy school. She currently only responds to treats, does not do well with distractions. I also spoil her though, we love cuddling in the couch, especially when she naps and I carry her sometimes when she’s scared, I’m afraid I’m treating her more like a human baby than a pup.
Do you guys recommend that I also get a personal trainer as well as puppy school? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

-overwhelmed 1st time puppy mom

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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Tue Feb 20 2018, 18:39

Hi & welcome to the forum  wave

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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Tue Feb 20 2018, 19:12

Hello and welcome !
Good on you for adopting your pup.
Very important - do read as much as you can but don’t think that all stereotypes apply to your pup. Also please forget this pack leader idea, it’s a partnership you want to build with your pup Wink

Thanks for asking about Nifty, she is 10 months old now. With socialisation, she is doing very well and is pretty easy to do. She likes everyone (canine or human !) and greets all with a very waggy tail. She’s not aggressive or dominant at all, can just be a little wary if other dog is too big and boisterous.

Why can’t you take yours to dog parks ? Just because of her breeding ?
Be confident that you are providing the balanced environment your pup needs to blossom and you’re already half way there.
How old is your pup btw ?
Do be careful not to overdo things, little and often is what a pup needs. Smile


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Tue Feb 20 2018, 19:34

Thank you so much for your support! I did check out the links after posting and they have a lot of helpful information. My pup - Sam short for Samantha showed signs of fearful aggression, ears back, tail between her legs, showing teeth, the first time she felt cornered by the other puppy but then started playing on their second play date. She’s only 12 weeks old and I’ve only had her for a month tomorrow, she was 8 weeks when I adopted her. You are right, I may be over doing it if I get a personal trainer. So far we go to puppy school for one hour every Saturday and puppy play time 2 times a week for 30 mins. We started that this weekend because she finally got her 3rd round of shots. The couple that takes care of her during the day while I work full time will no longer be able to do so. I have arranged a meet and greet with a girl that works from home and has 2 older grey hounds. She’s currently takining care of a 4 months old puppy so we will see if they get along on the meet and greet. I think this is better than leaving her in a bigger facility with more dogs, that will be overwhelming for her. I don’t want to leave her home for such a long period of time, I am out of the house from 7am to 5pm and that’s just too long for a 3 months old puppy.

Thanks again for your quick reply, this forum is so helpful!

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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Tue Feb 20 2018, 19:37

Oh and yes, I’m afraid of dog parks due to the breed and I’m afraid if she gets fearful aggression they might get the wrong idea of her. Maybe start with puppy play dates with less dogs first? How did you socialise Nifty? Just take her to the dog park or little by little?

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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by -Ian- on Tue Feb 20 2018, 19:39

Hi & Welcome to the Forum from Flo and me Big Grin

I agree, forget the pack leader thing it's pretty much been dismissed by most trainers these days.

The thing with Staffies is that they do play rough which to the uninitiated can look aggressive, it usually isn't at all, however, training should be given so that your pup will leave the play when asked to do so.

Recall is a must, a well trained dog will be a happy dog, also, socialisation is key to build confidence and to learn doggy manners. A lot of reaction from Staffies is fear which is usually down to lack of socialisation.

Going to the puppy classes is great, both of you will learn loads and I can't see why you won't be able to go to the park and enjoy healthy interactions.

You sound like a sensible owner & have clearly thought through day care, which will also help with the social side of things. Remember, Sam is still very young but will do most of her learning in these early months Big Grin


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Tue Feb 20 2018, 19:41

Oh and this is my Sam ❤️


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Tue Feb 20 2018, 19:49

Nifty’s socialisation is pretty much based on canine club. She started in weekly puppy school and “graduated” to obedience at 6 months old. Otherwise she’s an only dog at home, I have cats and horses too.

You’ve probably read that I’m also a first time pup owner but what I have noticed at canine club is that there’s a huge difference between those owners who have a relationship with their dog and those who don’t. Make sure your pup feels confident around you and you’ll be able to guide them through most situations.

Sam is just Love Struck


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Tue Feb 20 2018, 19:54

Ian that makes so much sense. I didn’t even think that if Sam responds to recall, if she starts playing rough I can just call her name for her to stop. I will practice recall more and try it with distractions as well. Thank you also for the pack leader information, I was afraid I was not going to be able to do it because my style is more of a partnership anyway so It gives me relief that I don’t necessarily have to learn how to be a pack leader.

Thank you so much Nifty, at puppy school, they want Sam to be a bit more obedient before they let her socialise with the other puppies which I understand so I will continue to go, we have 3 more saturdays left before she gratudates and keep taking her to puppy play time at the pet store. It’s completely supervised and only with 2 or 3 puppies at a time. I’ll hold off on dog parks until she feels more confident and she does better at recall with distractions.

Thank you again guys, can’t thank you enough for the support!

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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Tue Feb 20 2018, 19:58

Maybe you can go to the dog park but keep her on a lead if necessary at first. I have a 5m line as well as a standard dog lead so Nifty can have a little more freedom whilst staying under control.
If you do go, just be vigilant on other dogs, especially those who are loose and run up to yours. You can call out to owner to help you introduce politely to give Sam more confidence.


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by -Ian- on Tue Feb 20 2018, 21:07

Great advice above about the long line, they really do give some freedom whilst giving you control.

This will be a big learning curve for the both of you, you won't get it right all the time and neither will Sam, patience and consistency is the key.

Great pics too Big Grin


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Tue Feb 20 2018, 22:27

As Ian said, you’re clearly someone who gives alot of thought to make sure Sam has the best of everything, including minders whilst you're at work. She’s very lucky to have found you.

The key to training anything, especially a younger one, is to ensure everything you do sets them up to succeed. A 5 minute game can be so much more benefit than insisting on lasting the 30 mins, for example.
Continue to keep it short and sweet where Sam gets it right and you’ll see huge progress quickly as you build up her confidence.
And never forget to reward, reward and reward. It doesn’t always have to be food but can be a toy, a short game, a cuddle or even oral praise. You are much more motivated to work when your boss pays you a wage, this is the same thing for her. Wink


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Wed Feb 21 2018, 15:06

Thank you guys again, great advise on the leash and rewards. This is a learning curve for sure but it’s so worth it! The bond we are forming is already so strong and I’ve only had her for a month today! Oficial adoption pic

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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Wed Feb 21 2018, 20:07

What a lovely photo.
I bet she brings out that huge smile every day, despite a bad day at work.


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by gillybrent on Thu Feb 22 2018, 19:52

What a brilliant photo!

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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Wed Feb 28 2018, 16:58

Thank you everyone! I need to take an updated one so you see how much she’s grown. So a quick update, she’s doing wonderful! I took her to the small dog park yesterday for the first time and she loved it! At first I was holding her as the other dogs were small poodles but the pup mom’s told me to let her go and were so supportive! They said she did great for her first time. We only stayed for a little bit, like you guys said, short and sweet is best for pups. There was one aggressive poodle that tried to pick a fight with her. She backed off and showed teeth and then I grabbed her as the poodle kept growling at her. Then he picked a fight with another poodle too! And the owner did nothing. Anyway, great advances in such a short period of time!

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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Paris1990 on Wed Feb 28 2018, 18:25

That’s great, I personally wouldn’t keep picking her up when she gets into abit of bother like that. do some training to get her attention onto you, our word is “look at me” or “this way” and reward with a treat when she does just that and ignoring the other dog. I think if you keep picking her up now she’s tiny it will stick and I think it might cause problems when she’s older.. some might disagree but that’s just my opinion on it.
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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Wed Feb 28 2018, 20:11

Thanks Paris1990, I actually wanted some advise on that. Not sure what to do if the other dog keeps bothering her though, even if she comes to me? I’ll take treats next time for sure and try it out and won’t intervene unless absolutely necessary.

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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Paris1990 on Wed Feb 28 2018, 21:36

Yes that’s the best way, I just wouldn’t want her to be reliant on you picking her up it could make her fearful towards all dog, I only say that as there’s a little dog on our street that barks and snaps at every dog and the owner used to pick her up with she was a pup whenever any dog care towards her even if it was a positive encounter. With the other dogs still bothering her when she ignores them and comes to you, that’s when you need to ask the other owner to get their dog, don’t be afraid to have this kind of confrontation because you will come across other dog owners that think their dog is good as gold so they don’t need to watch them when it can be quite the opposite.
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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Tue Mar 06 2018, 16:17

Hi guys! Me again. I’m feeling defeated. I took Sam to the small dog park and she got attacked by a chihuaha who was like half her size. Thank goodness she didn’t have a wound but she is now terrified. Won’t even go on walks with me outside my apartment long enough for me to dispose of her waste. She is only comfortable in my small apartment and I don’t know how to exert her energy. The trainer at the pet store suggested puzzle toys and that only hyper estimulated her so much that she was running madly around my apartment and wanting to hump my leg. She calmed down after I ignored her for like 5 mins but I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried treats and excited voice and everything and she just won’t walk. It’s such a daily struggle. As I work, I found a dog sitter with a Golden retriever who is wonderful with her and she loves it once she gets there. But every morning leaving my apartment is also a struggle, like she just wants to stay at home. Would it be better to leave her by herself? She’s only 15 weeks so I don’t know anymore. I think it’s time to hire a special dog behaviorist and they are so expensive. Any advise?

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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Tue Mar 06 2018, 17:57

Woah there, no panic Smile

Sounds as if things are going a bit too quickly for her and she’s having trouble coping. I would go back to basics to build up her confidence.

(Typing probably long post)


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Tue Mar 06 2018, 18:35

Key principle - do little often and always set her up to succeed.

In your home set up (appartment), do you have a garden or a park nearby ?
Is she house trained and clean ?
Do you have a fairly fixed routine in terms of what you do together and when ?

I can only comment on my experience and set up but before deciding to show Nifty the world (whilst waiting for all injections to be done), I wanted to set up a routine so Nifty had her references. Outside her numerous naps, trips to the garden for toilet breaks were always accompanied with the same vocabulary and positive praise for everything.

When Sam won’t go on walks, what does she do ?
At that age, most pups have the follow-me reflex so there shouldn’t be the need for collars or harnesses, though you can introduce them for the educational side.
I spent alot of time sat in the garden, throwing toys for Nifty. She’d fetch them and I was at her (ground) level so she would come back for cuddles.
I would honestly say that you need to proceed as you intend to continue. What could be cute for a pup isn’t necessarily so with adult dog. We don’t play much in the house here as I wanted a calm Nifty indoors. However we do play outside where there’s ample room for zoomies !

Dog sitter is really great if you find someone you can trust, which you have. How is Sam with the golden retriever ?
I would try to continue as much as possible with yours as you say yourself, Sam is happy once she gets there.

I can’t really blame her for being wary of chihuahuas, they don’t exactly have the best reputation concerning their social skills (my sister has 5 ...). When you introduce her to other canines, try to select them if you can in terms of them being calmer and not too numerous at once. Maybe try to avoid the yappy pocket-sized ones. Nifty is the smallest in her canine club group, (she’s with huskies and belgian shepherds and retrievers and australian collies), but she’s happy and well socialized among them.

If it can reassure you, I also work full time but have found a routine for Nifty so it’s possible for anyone.


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by 1sttimepupmom on Wed Mar 07 2018, 20:46

Thanks so much Nifty Staffy, I was definitely in panic mode yesterday. I felt like an unfit mom that couldn’t satisfy Sam’s needs and no matter how much I tried it’s not enough. Sam is a super smart puppy, she is potty trained, will only go #1 in a puppy pad if she’s had too much water in a short amount of time. She sleeps in her crate and has no accidents and doesn’t cry. I have even been able to leave her inside the apartment (room & bathroom doors closed) with no accidents or destructiona at all up to 3 hours. She’s an awesome puppy and I love her so much.

Our daily routine consists on us waking up, going potty outside the apartment, me giving her breakfast and while she eats I get ready. Then I put her lead back on and we go either to my mom’s house or to the girl with Paco (golden retriever). That’s the hardest part, she lays down outside the door of my apt when we are walking to the car. I try to use treats and reasurance but after she takes a few steps she just sits down. Looks at me and won’t budge. This morning I stopped when she did and tried to reassure her with touch and positive reinforcement but she only takes a few steps and sits again. It makes it a painful routine until she realizes I am not going back and she finally starts walking. It’s like she doesn’t want to go anywhere, maybe it would be best to leave her at the apartment?

When she gets to my mom’s or Paco’s she’s super happy to greet them and plays wonderfully with Paco but looks at me intently like she doesn’t want me to go. I just say bye without making a big deal as I have heard that is worse. Then I pick her up after work and we go potty again outside my apartment. We do have a fenced dog park but she fits underneath the fence. There are always too many dogs out there and that’s way overwhelming to her so she escapes. I don’t have a place to exercise with her other than maybe driving to a nearby park but doing that every day takes a toll. I wish I could at least take long walks around the apartment for the days that she doesn’t play with Paco because my mom doesn’t have a yard either.

On the weekends we go to puppy class and I had been taking her to the dog park but I won’t do that anymore. I desperatley need to find someone with a yard but it’s hard to find.

How do you recommend I play with her?


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Re: First day at puppy school

Post by Nifty staffy on Thu Mar 08 2018, 05:46

So we all have days with and without so you’re a true member of the club Wink  You feel like an unfit mum because you are continually questioning yourself instead of resting on what has been achieved. To me, this is good because it shows that you only have the best intentions at heart.

Remember that there is no one right way but a compromise of what’s best for and what works in your situation. Trial and error.

In your position, I would continue with the doggie sitters (family or friends) as this is socialization for Sam. I’m sure Paco is good for her too and in some ways, he’s also teaching her about life.
Just gotta find a way for her to enjoy the trip there.

Is potty outside appartment and exit to car the same route and same routine ? Does Sam travel well in the car and how does she travel ? (On back seat, in crate, etc ).
Stupid question but are you using enough treats and varying the ones you use ? To get her to move even a few steps at the time, I would treat lots and only then reduce once you’re both confident that she can do it.

Is your lead on a collar or harness ? Personally I prefer harness especially on pup as you won’t get thoracic damage when she pulls.
In dog park, are there hours you can go when it’s quieter ? Early morning or late evening, for example ?
There is the 5 minute exercise rule for each month of age so you don’t need to walk her for hours literally !
Maybe stay in a corner of the dog park and use a long lead to give her more room to move away from you but you keep control.

You can start to walk around appartment but keep it short at first. Walk away for 5-10 mins and head home (make a loop or turn back by walking around a tree or lamp post if not possible). Then adventure a little further when she’s happy and motivated. Does she like toys or balls ? Use them to distract and focus on you when walking out, especially when leaving appartment.
At dog sitters, leave her with one of her toys from home, or cushion, or blanket that you take back when you fetch her. She’ll always have part of you/home with her in your absence.

Play can be at home but I would not encourage her to run about too much inside (my personal preference).
Play seek and fetch with her toys or with treats hidden in boxes. You can set up obstacle courses at home - move to one corner of room and sit for treat. Pass under blanket or onto a cushion and wait, fetch empty water bottles, tidy toys back into a box. No need to look for conventional exercises, be inventive and vary to keep her busy and educate at same time.
Could be a good time to teach the commands like leave it, watch me. LizP has posted some great information on teaching these types of command here so you might just need to do a quick search.
What about inventing a “safe” command where she comes to your feet when scared instead of running off ?

You don’t need garden or luxury park, just have to make the best of what you have at hand Smile


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Re: First day at puppy school

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