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Hi!

I'm the proud owner of a 15 week show line puppy named Ripley, from Goodfield Goldens. My eventual goal with her is to compete in obedience and rally, and eventual-eventual goal is for her to be a therapy dog. I am located in Los Angeles county, California.

I currently have her in Petco puppy classes and have a private trainer who works mostly with working dogs (narcotics and detection) - she worked wonders with my older dog who had mild behavioral issues (overexcited greeter) so I hired her for puppy basics as well.

Our local obedience club is unfortunately still closed due to covid. I have looked into a training facility where the trainers have show ring experience and am waiting for them to get back to me.

Any advice on how to set a good foundation, or local clubs/trainers I should contact? Engagement is what I'm drilling at the moment, so far her engagement is solid at home, good at parks where we can choose the distance, and a mess in stores lol.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi! Not sure what type of engagement you're looking for, but our puppy around your dog's age was in puppy obedience/socialization with the Hollywood Dog Obedience Club, and they are mostly/fully open. It was a hoot -- it's pretty basic stuff with some other not-so basic stuff, but the hardest part is to get your dog to focus being only 6 feet from another rambunctious puppy. They're also open for other classes as well. Good luck!
 

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When I bring a baby pup home, I start working on position changes (sit, down, stand), focus walking (pup is walking in heel position on the left side and looking up at me), gaiting (for conformation), stacking (training feet/positioning so pup builds up muscle memory), taking/hold/give as foundation for retrieves, sits and down stays - basically anything my dog needs to do down the road, I start building the foundation when he's a puppy.

Personal opinion here, but training clubs are shooting themselves in the foot when they shut down completely for covid.... while petstore classes continue like normal.
 

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I don’t usually recommend pet store classes but in your case it’s what’s available. I hear that Matthew Twitty has some heeling videos out there you can watch for free. Just keep working on what they are teaching right now until you can get into a club class.
 

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Now is the time to develop the muscle memory for tuck-up sits, fold-back downs, pop-up stands, etc.
Matt Twitty has been posting the steps to his heeling program on the Lakeland Canine Academy Facebook page. They are numbered and then there are live videos posted the following day where he answers questions.
 

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I like the classes by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy a lot. Courses are well laid out, the instructors are supportive, and you can choose your involvement level.

There is a class opening on June 1st that would be great for foundations : FE485:All the sports:Building on the Basics
You could buy the pre-requisite class (available on May 18, lectures & video demonstrations) to start with and get ready :FE370:All the sports:Foundations for the Cross-training Canine

Another class that might interest you as far as engagement is concerned is : FE205:Focus Games. It also opens on June 1st.
 
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Try the "Tricks that Transition" free course from Connie Cleveland. If you like that, there the Performance Puppy Primer ($97).
Connie Cleveland has a ton of practical advice. She shows goldens and labs in field and obedience and has trained people to train their dogs for decades.

Kelly
 
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