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Last week I adopted Eli, one of the special needs pups from Tennessee. he is 17 weeks old and I would like to take him to training classes, however .... Eli can walk (well bunnyhop) a few yards, but is still fairly weak in his hindlimbs, falling and then pulling himself round on his front legs. As such I don't know how much use a conventional puppy class would be? I have a great trainer locally who will work with Eli and me, I just don't know what the most appropriate activities for him would be at this time.

Joanne, Spirit and Eli
 

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As a trainer, if you came to me with Eli, I would start surface desensitization/introductions. For example, tile floors, carpet, gravel, grass, etc. Have him get used to walking as best he can on these surfaces. I would still do the puppy handleing exercises and really get him accustomed to "vet" type exams as he will be having many I am sure. With lots of treats and calm praise. I would get out the clicker and start teaching him learning is fun and to offer/show me what he can do and not focus on what he cant do because of physical disabilities.

I would limit playtime with other puppies as he probably would not be able to hold his own very well, but I would introduce to other puppies with protection from you. Clicking and feeding attention to you both around other puppies/distractions and to teach attention in general.

If the puppy class offers obstacles like tunnels etc, I would encourage him to explore and try but not force any issue.

At this age, just lots of positive experiences in lots of different places. Socialization is key as always. Take him everywhere you can. I think classes would be a good idea and just see what he'll offer for you!

Good luck and Kudos to you for adopting him!
 
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