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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone.

I got a new puppy Ella around 6 weeks ago. She's around 12 weeks old and a Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd Cross.

Ella has been pretty good so far. So far she loves big and fetch and is extremely smart. We also take her on short walks twice a day and dog friendly places to socialize her. She isn't afraid of anything so far. She already knows sit, down, stay, shake, and touch. We are also working on some tracking training and starting puppy class this week. Bitting is getting better, but she still loves bitting hair. But she's starting to like her toys more than hands for bitting. She's also going great on crate training and sleeps through the night.

I was wondering if anyone had fun games that I could play with her. Or any activities I should be doing to help her be a better citizen.

I've been working on mat training with Dr. Karen Overall’s Relaxation Protocol and we just finished day 4. She's done great and only got up a few times. Is she too young for mat training?

Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions.

Some Pics from today.





And last week


When I first got her at around 8 weeks.


 

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With a high drive breed like that, what my puppy class calls 'doggy zen' will probably be helpful. You place some food in your hand, if they go to take it you close your hand and withdraw, when they look up at you for permission you mark and say 'go get it' and allow them to have the treat... then you progress to doing it on the floor, closer and closer, then you drop the food, throw it from farther away, make it rain kibble... I can put some meat on my puppy's paw and she stares at it for a few seconds while the gears turn then she looks to me. I've already got her doing decent fetch indoors ( outdoors she just goes and runs off to her 'yard spot' to chew) so I added zen to fetch and started making her stay and wait for a 'go get it' and having the kids run around while she stays too...anything to build their impulse control, mat training would probably fall into the same category and you can start them with that real young. If you want a therapy cert then they have to be able to disregard dropped objects/food w/out a prompt like that.

Make sure to work on 'come' while she is young too, pretty soon she'll be getting more aloof. I have an 'up' command to get back to sit (some people just say 'sit' again but that wasn't working for me) and a 'stand' command, which makes drilling her commands easier, roll over is easy (unless the dog is excited). You can fork the paw/shake command into 'high five', 'wave', and even hitting a light switch or ringing a bell. Speak took me almost a week and got her very frustrated and amped up every time but now she has it. You can also lookup the AKC trick dog sheets and then youtube videos on how to train them... You could start working on the dreaded heel... Disc catching... balance and spot training... puppy sized hurdles... Guess it depends on what you want the dog to do?

Also they make some neat dog puzzles boards now that you can load up with one or two good stankin' treats and a bunch of kibble and it'll keep em mentally stimulated while they eat/take a break. I bought two 'level 2' boards and she cracked them rather fast, gonna have to get some harder ones.

Lastly you have to re-train everything in a bunch of new places and around various distractions. Go to the dog park and do obedience, go train at the far end of the parking lot, in the home improvement store, by that flock of geese, playground...etc. Heck the only reason I'm paying for puppy classes at this point is so I can have access to ~10 other highly distracting dogs weekly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much for the suggestions. Those are all very helpful. I'll defiantly try those and look for a puzzle board I hadn't heard of them only puzzle toys.
 

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I have another question about my puppy. I was watching her walk a few days ago and noticed that she seems a little stiff when walking. The vet has never mentioned anything or the trainer at puppy classes. She loves to jump, run and go on walks and tear up anything she can so I don't think she is in pain.

She had an appointment on Monday for her last set of shots but if it seems bad I could bring her in earlier. I haven't had a puppy in a long time and I was't sure. Here are two videos I just took.

https://youtu.be/LLo-Kw-YDFE
https://youtu.be/rfMRf7zkVi0
 

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I'm not seeing any stiffness, either. A little bit of stalking behavior in the first one, and some pretty typical loosey-goosey GSD hind quarters in both.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your help. That makes me feel so much better.

Any exercises to strengthen her hindquarters?
 

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Lots of regular puppy play and body awareness exercises will help, but depending on how much influence the GSD has (she's got quite a lot of angulation, as opposed to a straighter Malinois), she could either "tighten up" as she matures, or she could stay kind of loose. I'm not a fan of the more extreme show types of GSD for that very reason.
 
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