So last night was Bella’s second time at puppy kindergarten. She is one of the bigger dogs in class with the exception of a golden retriever. We did the basic commands such as sit, down, touch, name recognition, etc. The newest task was “puppy push-ups” which has them laying down, standing and sitting (in any combination) in one fluid motion. It was her first time mastering this as well as laying down. She is getting it but still needs some practice. They also had play time for socialization skills. She did wonderful in that area! She was paired up with a lab/pit bull mix named Pixel. It was Pixel’s first time so she did not quite know what to think of everything. Bella was very polite when Pixel sent body signals to Bella that she was not ready to accept Bella. Bella backed off until Pixel was ready. Bella was also paired up with the Golden Retriever. They were a great match. They wrestled to their hearts content.

Once play time was over it was time for my dreaded event — socialization with other people in a calming environment. (Yeah right!) We all sat in a circle and each owner had to pass their puppy around the circle. Each person was to hold the puppy and try to calm them down and sit quietly with them. The purpose of this is to help the puppy get familiar with being held by someone else outside their owner as well as knowing how to behave. Well…my little sweet Bella showed her true colors last night! Not only was she NOT calm, but she also tried to nip the person holding her. She was howling and yapping as if someone was killing her. I felt sorry for each person that had to hold her. 😦 All the other dogs sat quietly for each owner. Well, the passing of the puppies came full circle and now it was my time to sit with Bella. By now she was pretty worked up. She was wiggling and nipping and yapping all the time the dog trainer was speaking. The key to calming a puppy down when they act like this is to hold firm onto the puppy and not say a word to him/her until they calm down and praise them when they do. Well eventually Bella calmed down (well sort of). By then it was time to go home. Bella was exhausted from all the activity and all the energy she expended being feisty!

Bruce and I worked with Bella on the whole calming down thing while being held both last night and this morning. She already has shown great improvement!

Now we know why her breeder nicknames Bella Pistol Pete! But she wouldn’t be Bella if it she was any other way.

We love our Bella! And we are having a great time with her!

Her next puppy class in next Wednesday (Halloween). I will be posting a report of her progress next week. Until them, we will be practicing, practicing, practicing! 🙂