Well, first, I really appreciate you taking the time to advise me (everyone?) on this.
I am just now figuring out how to get her to play with me. Instead of walking her so much I just play with her in the field. Since I'm starting to learn her personality and how she likes to play, I have only been walking her a few days a week, usually in the mornings, and not for more than about 30 minutes or so at a time.
I've been looking for puppy play stuff on meetup and on craigslist. No luck so far but I'm gonna keep trying. The breeder has two puppies she is starting to train in French Ring. If I could ever get a hold of her I bet she'd let me bring Gwen over to play with them.
I'm not familiar with Ellis or Leerburg. I'm doing basic obedience stuff (sit, down, stand etc.) using a book Cristine Dahl wrote (
http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FGood-Dog-101-Lessons-Healthy%2Fdp%2F1570615179&tag=5336432754-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325) for this. Regarding the trainer, I don't know what method he uses. I do know he is very anti-compulsion/anti-traditional/anti-military style training and absolutely hates Cesar Millan. He has titled a few dogs on the national level and several on the west coast in French Ring and his dogs and his students' dogs appear to be supremely happy and excited, especially when it's their turn to get out and do some training.
Our puppy, when she is old enough and has a good obedience foundation, will be trained in French Ring so long as I can continue to make the training classes. I don't intend to title her or really even push her that hard. I'd consider myself quite fortunate if she even makes it to the brevet level. I'll take her as far as she seems happy going I suppose. As long as she'll defend my wife and our home then I'm good.
I tend to be something of a hypochrondiac with my own life and have been applying that to my puppy. lol Logically, I know that there isn't really anything to worry about, but there is always that nagging concern that because things haven't gone perfectly
, something will go wrong.
No problem then - trust me, you'll appreciate that! :-)
I guess that stuff is region specific, but try googling puppy play classes in your area. You may want to try area-specific web forums also. Alternately you can also stalk popular dog-walk areas - parks etc.
Charging marker words sounds like Ellis/Leerburg stuff :-) I really like Ellis system (I'm not really into aversives, but apart from that I think Ellis is really great). Is your trainer using his system?
To be honest, I'm not sure. It's something about growth plates and the way joints develop, but if you want a more professional answer, you'll have to talk to a vet - that goes for the x-ray stuff as well (although I'm pretty sure x-rays aren't needed). A lot of people over-exercise their dogs and they go on to work out just fine - AFAIK
it simply increases the likelihood of damage, it's not a sure thing by any means. Unless you've noticed any irregularities with her, I wouldn't be too concerned (but again, consult a vet if in doubt) :-)