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Does anyone take their poodles to dog park areas? I have been taking Niko to a field by my house where dogs are allowed off leash and people seem to go to let the dogs play. He has so much fun and loves playing with the other dogs. He is still terrible on a leash and this seems to be a good way other than fetch to get his energy out right now. My senior girl will not play at all, and just growls every time he tries to play with her.
 

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Hi Jenna,
I plan to start, but I do not pick my puppy up until the beginning of November. Let me know how your puppy likes it. How old is your puppy?
He is almost 4 months old. He has had his second set of shots so the vet said it was fine to take him pretty much everywhere now. He loves other dogs and I really hope to keep it that way. My little dog doesn't like strange dogs much so it is always a bit stressful taking her out ( she doesn't come with us this, it is too hard managing them both. He loves playing and gets nice and tired afterwards
 

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That's so nice. I can't wait to pick up my baby. The breeder I'm getting her from likes keeping the pups with their mother until the pup are 12 weeks.
 

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There is no such thing as a dog park around here, but I would strongly encourage you to take your puppy to places like the dog food store or any big box store that allows dogs. Puppies who are exposed to new places become confident adults. Be sure to expose him/her to different surfaces - grass, concrete, asphalt, tile, etc. and to stairs, especially "open" stairs (the kind where you can see down to the ground between the steps). Get a board about 4 inches wide and let the pup learn to walk on it. You can eventually put that board up on bricks, then on concrete blocks - this really develops sure-footedness as well as confidence.

If you have a dog training club that has puppy classes, that would be great - people there are more likely to control their dogs than folks at a dog park. The puppy classes at our training club include having the pup get on a wobble board (a 4 foot square piece of plywood that has a ball secured underneath so it wobbles), walk boards elevated on concrete blocks, walk through "ladders" made from plastic pipe (that helps the pup figure out that s/he has back legs as well as front legs!), little 4 inch jumps, a puppy-sized teeter-totter, and so on.

You can come up with more ideas of things to make or do that will help your puppy develop.
 

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There is no such thing as a dog park around here, but I would strongly encourage you to take your puppy to places like the dog food store or any big box store that allows dogs. Puppies who are exposed to new places become confident adults. Be sure to expose him/her to different surfaces - grass, concrete, asphalt, tile, etc. and to stairs, especially "open" stairs (the kind where you can see down to the ground between the steps). Get a board about 4 inches wide and let the pup learn to walk on it. You can eventually put that board up on bricks, then on concrete blocks - this really develops sure-footedness as well as confidence.

If you have a dog training club that has puppy classes, that would be great - people there are more likely to control their dogs than folks at a dog park. The puppy classes at our training club include having the pup get on a wobble board (a 4 foot square piece of plywood that has a ball secured underneath so it wobbles), walk boards elevated on concrete blocks, walk through "ladders" made from plastic pipe (that helps the pup figure out that s/he has back legs as well as front legs!), little 4 inch jumps, a puppy-sized teeter-totter, and so on.

You can come up with more ideas of things to make or do that will help your puppy develop.
Thank you so much. This helps a lot! How do I look for a dog training club. What would I google? The only thing I'm finding when googling dog training, is Pet Smart, but I don't think they do all of what you stated.
 

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There is no such thing as a dog park around here, but I would strongly encourage you to take your puppy to places like the dog food store or any big box store that allows dogs. Puppies who are exposed to new places become confident adults. Be sure to expose him/her to different surfaces - grass, concrete, asphalt, tile, etc. and to stairs, especially "open" stairs (the kind where you can see down to the ground between the steps). Get a board about 4 inches wide and let the pup learn to walk on it. You can eventually put that board up on bricks, then on concrete blocks - this really develops sure-footedness as well as confidence.

If you have a dog training club that has puppy classes, that would be great - people there are more likely to control their dogs than folks at a dog park. The puppy classes at our training club include having the pup get on a wobble board (a 4 foot square piece of plywood that has a ball secured underneath so it wobbles), walk boards elevated on concrete blocks, walk through "ladders" made from plastic pipe (that helps the pup figure out that s/he has back legs as well as front legs!), little 4 inch jumps, a puppy-sized teeter-totter, and so on.

You can come up with more ideas of things to make or do that will help your puppy develop.
We are starting puppy classes this Saturday, and it's a good thing because right now he pulls so much on a leash I don't walk him much, just take him to areas where he can run. I am struggling with most training to be honest.
 

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There is no such thing as a dog park around here, but I would strongly encourage you to take your puppy to places like the dog food store or any big box store that allows dogs. Puppies who are exposed to new places become confident adults. Be sure to expose him/her to different surfaces - grass, concrete, asphalt, tile, etc. and to stairs, especially "open" stairs (the kind where you can see down to the ground between the steps). Get a board about 4 inches wide and let the pup learn to walk on it. You can eventually put that board up on bricks, then on concrete blocks - this really develops sure-footedness as well as confidence.

If you have a dog training club that has puppy classes, that would be great - people there are more likely to control their dogs than folks at a dog park. The puppy classes at our training club include having the pup get on a wobble board (a 4 foot square piece of plywood that has a ball secured underneath so it wobbles), walk boards elevated on concrete blocks, walk through "ladders" made from plastic pipe (that helps the pup figure out that s/he has back legs as well as front legs!), little 4 inch jumps, a puppy-sized teeter-totter, and so on.

You can come up with more ideas of things to make or do that will help your puppy develop.
Our puppy classes always started with a little obstacle course, with lots of textures and many of the items you've described. It was always so tedious, because the puppies were all a little nuts and wanting to say hi to each other, and we were trying to work on leash skills, and juggling treats, and on it went. I always worked up a nice sweat!

But just this past weekend, we took Peggy (who's now 16 months old) on a picnic by the water, and there was a long metal dock made of narrow metal slats. They were totally safe for her paws, but you could see the choppy water through them. The dock was floating and rocked side to side.

And guess what?

She marched right out onto that thing like she was back at puppy class!! Zero worries.

I know early positive socialization is extremely important, but seeing it pay off in such a tangible way is always such a thrill. For that reason, I encourage everyone to be careful of dog parks. You can definitely get lucky, especially if you get to know the people and dogs that are there at a certain time. But those places tend to be magnets for under-socialized dogs and their owners who just want to stand around and chat. Very bad habits can easily develop at dog parks, and negative interactions can happen in the blink of an eye. If that happens (especially during a fear period), it can have lifelong consequences for your puppy.

Peggy's early puppy play looked like this: Play! Pause. Play! Pause. Play! Pause...

And it lasted about 20 minutes, with all owners actively watching and intervening as necessary to give little breathers. We were especially careful to watch for "mirroring," where the puppies took turns pouncing and being pounced on, chasing and being chased, etc.
 

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Try searching for dog agility classes. Most facilities that offer agility also offer the foundation classes - puppy socialization, basic manners, off leash recall - needed before an agility dog is ready to start working on obstacle courses.
 

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Thank you so much. This helps a lot! How do I look for a dog training club. What would I google? The only thing I'm finding when googling dog training, is Pet Smart, but I don't think they do all of what you stated.
Here is how to locate a dog training club near you:
On the internet, go to akc.org (the American Kennel Club web site)
Click on the down arrow for "Clubs and Delegates"
On the left side, click on "Training Classes"
On the next screen, click on your state - you'll get a list of dog training clubs in your state with contact information for each one.
Dog training clubs are pretty much guaranteed to be better than Petsmart!

Johanna
 

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Skip Google and use this link to the search tool for finding AKC sanctioned clubs of all types. American Kennel Club - Club Search and Directory

Personally I never go to dog parks since most of the ones near me are populated by any number of dogs with sketchy behaviored dogs and even more clueless owners who are mostly there to talk to each other and drink their lattes. I also would not go to any off leash place with a dog that doesn't have a rock solid recall that will be heeded even if playing with the best other dog in the world.
 
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How long are the classes? The closest one I found is an hour away, but their website is closed so not sure if they moved their website or no longer giving the classes.
 

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I do. You have to be careful and sensible about it and very aware of play dynamics/body language, but I would have gone insane without the local very good dog park at several points in Annie's adolescence.
 

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How long are the classes? The closest one I found is an hour away, but their website is closed so not sure if they moved their website or no longer giving the classes.
Are you asking me about particular classes? At my club it depends on the level of the class. I privately sent you info about my club, but not sure if it will do much for you since I don't know where you are located.
 

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Are you asking me about particular classes? At my club it depends on the level of the class. I privately sent you info about my club, but not sure if it will do much for you since I don't know where you are located.
I received it. Thank you, but you are 4 hours away. It's the first class a puppy would take. She will be about 10 to 12 weeks when she comes home.
 

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I have started each of my poodles at a "Puppy class". I like the idea of taking the dog to friendly stores too. Once I am confident about recall, I will take them to a dog park. There is one about 20 minutes from me. Rockett does well there. Nero never did. Mocha was a mini but a hunting dog at heart. I would take him with my father in law (man lived to hunt) on trials. He always performed well.

I will be getting my next dog in 2 weeks. No dog park for him until his shots are all done and he has finished at least one level of training. In the meantime, hardware store, lumber store and tool store. Oh and of course the locally owned pet food store!
 

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