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Old 10-05-2006, 02:16 PM
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otch1 otch1 is offline
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Default Children in your obedience class?!!

As promissed Dr2, I thought I'd try to get an interesting debate going. This is more for pet owners verses trainers, but I'm sure trainers will reply! How do you feel about children being allowed in your group obedience class? Do you feel that's an unnessecary distraction, would prefer they not be allowed? Or do you feel it's a good experience for your puppy/dog? If so, at what age do you think it's appropriate for a trainer to allow a family with children to bring a child to class?
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Old 10-05-2006, 02:25 PM
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I'm assuming you're talking about young kids?

In every obedience class I've ever taken my dogs to, there have been young kids. It only bothers me if the child is in the area where the dogs are training, as they do tend to get in the way of everybody, including their parents. If the class has chairs on the side of the room, out of the way and simply there for guests (as in children, a friend or a spouse just there to watch) I don't have a problem with it. That way, they're out of the way and not bothering people or other dogs. that being said, the child should be at an age where they don't make a nuisance of themselves and are capable of sitting patiently, quietly, and are able to just watch...which would probably put them at about 4yrs old or more depending on the individual. I don't believe children should be handling/training the dog in the class until they're around 13 years of age. The parents should handle the dog in class up until that point, and then if the child wants to train the dog, they can practice different commands and such at home. I don't mind at all if teens are handling their dog in the class.

All of that being said, yes, there are some kids younger than 13 who would be able to train a dog just as well as an adult but as a general rule, I don't think anyone younger than 13 should be handlnig a dog in class.

Hopefully that all made sense..
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Last edited by Toller_08; 10-05-2006 at 02:59 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 10-05-2006, 02:28 PM
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omg there was a girl at my class who was driving me crazy, she thought she knew it all and she had the Jack russel and she was like, SIT, SIT and then wen it stud up she yelled at it, i cnt stand little kids like tht,

i dnt mind them in the class as long as they do it right, i mean who cares if there younger they can still learn how to train a dog, just the same as a adult can
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Old 10-05-2006, 02:49 PM
PoodleMommy PoodleMommy is offline
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It depends, I can think of some kids on here who are 13 and could probably have been training dogs for years. In that case, I dont really care.

But I went to one class (PetSmart) and this parent brought three very young kids (all under 8 or so) with her. They stayed right in the ring (which is small enough as it is) and they screamed at the dog, stepped on other dogs, sprayed water in the dogs face, screamed, yelled, etc. They were very distracting and not a good kind of distracting. Those kids should not have been allowed in class.

But, again, if it had been a young child who was very well behaved and sat quiety and watched that would have been fine too. So it all depends.

Elissa
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:24 PM
casablanca1 casablanca1 is offline
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I've never had this issue with small children, though I was ready to throttle an extremely immature adolescent girl in one class. I don't think I'd appreciate kids in my class, whether or not they were well-behaved, and I don't think they belong in a confined area filled with strange dogs. I very much disagree with the popular feeling that group classes are/should be exclusively for dogs who are essentially stolid in nature - the type who don't jump at a slammed door, say. And if there are more nervy, untrained dogs in the group, having an unpredictable small child around is asking for trouble. I have more than enough trouble riding herd on my dog in re: to other dogs, without having to keep an eye out for a kid who thinks he's Dennis the Menace Redux.

As to the question - "Or do you feel it's a good experience for your puppy/dog?" - It's very common in my experience that a trainer will claim that all sorts of bad behaviors, from screaming kids to lunging dogs, are 'good work on distractions' and it drives me nuts. Distractions are fine - when your dog is ready for them. I think that for beginner classes in any discipline, it's asking too much of many dogs that they learn X and that they learn to cope with a lot of distractions. Some distractions are inevitable, but some distractions are too much and the source should be addressed as a problem instead of glossed over as a 'bonus.' A terrier seeing a squirrel in an outdoor class is one thing; the trainer's 10-year-old son bringing his guinea pigs to the class to play with beside the ring is another story altogether.
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:34 PM
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I have been training with my dogs since I was eight. If the child is actually in the training class training the dog, I don't see a problem with it. Though, I do believe 9-10 years old is probably the youngest you should let any child actually train a dog. I have seen parents handing their agility dogs off to 6-8 year olds to play with a bit in agility, but to actually train a dog, I believe they should be at least 9-10..preferably older than 11. But, this is only speaking from my own experience. There are ALOT of kids in my training classes, ranging from ages 9-18 and you really don't see the kids being able to focus and be more willing to train, in my observations, until about 12 years old.

Now, as for the kids just standing around.. well, if they can sit patiently, good for them. I can't see a problem with them staying. But, if they are running around obnoxiously, wandering, or somehow getting in the way, they should be left at home.
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:50 PM
Char_06 Char_06 is offline
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I've been doing basic training with dogs since i was 7..never messed around/shouted at a dog or done anything so i guess i wasnt any bother now i just turned 15 im going more into the agility side of things..youngest in my group..but aslong as kids dont shout or anything i think they should be allowed because at the end of the day they might achieve something really good.
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:51 PM
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we had a child in one of our classes....he was worst then the puppies....
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:58 PM
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Otch1 - I think it's great that you directed this question specifically towards owners, I'd love to know what they think.
As you knew would happen, I'd like to share with owners, and maybe even other trainers what my policy is with regards to kids in class...and why, feedback would be great.

I do not allow kids under 14 to attend a growl class.

First, I have to say that I am very thorough and honest with parents over the phone when they register for class. I let them know that I while I welcome all WELL BEHAVED children from 4 years of age and up, they must stay close to their parents at all times, create little added distraction and remain as quiet as possible while puppies/dogs are "performing". That all out of the way, I will tell them up front that while I truly love having kids in class, they will be asked to make alternate plans for them (a sitter) if the above stipulations are not met. I have only ever had to ask one family to leave their adorable 4 year old little "monster" child at home. I have had to give the odd head tilt and wink to a few parents, but as they are for warned, it's always gone very smoothly.

I also have nothing but positive feedback from owners without kids, particularly in puppy class as the kids presence allows otherwise unavailable opportunities for thier pups to interact with gentle "little people". This has really proven to be a consistent win/win situation.

There are so many reasons that I allow/encourage parents to bring their children to classes but I think that the most important reason is consistency. I find that when the whole family attends and all are given first hand information from the trainer, they are more successful puppy/dog guradians and trainers. It's much more manageable at home once the ground rules have been set in class and a "take home" routine for training has been laid out with everyone included in some way. Parents have often told me that their kids have reminded them of what "the trainer said"...

**It's also very interresting what kids will tell you that their parents may choose to leave out..
I always start each class with a group discussion on how the previous week went...kids will ALWAYS be honest.."Rover pooped on my bed" or "Dad fed Duke from his plate"..good for a laugh if nothing else, but a trainer always get's the goods from the kids..

I also include lots of games/competitions for prizes. It's amazing how much a family will practice behaviors set out for the week with their dogs if they know they could win a plush squeek toy in the next weeks class. This makes for a great family activity and of course the REAL bonus is...they practice..practice..practice.

As far as handling goes, I find that kids as young as 7 or 8 can make terrific trainers. Often times their timing and understanding is better than that of the adults and they don't seem to over think things too much. Of course I insist on the one hadler/dog at a time rule but everyone can take a turn and be involved in each class.
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  #10  
Old 10-05-2006, 07:05 PM
opokki opokki is offline
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For the family companion obedience classes, the entire family is encouraged to come as well as to participate. So far, all the children have been very well behaved and seem to enjoy participating in the training.
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