Children in your obedience class?!!

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by otch1, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. otch1

    otch1 New Member

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    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?
     
  2. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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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..
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2006
  3. stevinski

    stevinski Int CH - $uperBitch

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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
     
  4. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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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
     
  5. casablanca1

    casablanca1 Happy

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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.
     
  6. tessa_s212

    tessa_s212 Guest

    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.
     
  7. Char_06

    Char_06 Milo*Shady*&NaNuks*Mum

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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.
     
  8. musky hunter

    musky hunter Looking for a dog !

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    we had a child in one of our classes....he was worst then the puppies.... :(
     
  9. dr2little

    dr2little Moderator

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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..:D

    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.
     
  10. opokki

    opokki New Member

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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.
     
  11. sourjayne

    sourjayne New Member

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    I know this isn't exactly what you asked, but if it's a puppy socialization class, I say the more kids the better. A lot of us don't get many opportunities to socialize our puppies to children. I wish there were more kids in the puppy class Louie and I went to! He is terrified of children.
     
  12. IliamnasQuest

    IliamnasQuest Loves off-leash training!

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    We have a variety of classes - kids are welcome at some as active participants, but at others they need to chill out and sit on the sidelines quietly.

    By "kids" I mean younger ones (not teens).

    Puppy classes and our "family dog" class - these are good places for kids. Dogs need to learn how to behave around children, too, and kids need to learn to behave around dogs. As an instructor, I always take it upon myself to teach the kids too (and I started out teaching in the school district, so I have a background with kids .. *L*).

    But if it's a competition class or an advanced class where they're working on more specific things, then a noisy child is a detriment to the class.

    My dogs love it when kids come to class. The faces are low enough to be kissed a lot, and kids tend to drop goodies.

    Melanie and the gang in Alaska
     
  13. Ashlea

    Ashlea New Member

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    I hated having kids come to my training class. The amount of time that I had to stop a class to wait for some parent indulgin Johnnys out burst was infuriating. The kids would also ask their parent what I had just said, why I said it etc. The parents would actually stop the class and explain. It was then that I banned children under 14 from all my classes.
     
  14. GSDlover_4ever

    GSDlover_4ever New Member

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    YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! All trained :D kids are welcome to pet training, they have to live with the dog as well. If your dog cant focus with little kids then your dog is not fully trained. At Schutzhund training the age limit is 14 and they have to be MATURE. Too many things can happen if there are kids running around acting stupid when these dogs are in prey, and defense drive.
     
  15. Roxy's CD

    Roxy's CD New Member

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    I have never been in a group class where children were allowed to be in the building at all.

    There are classes though, more like, "Family Pet classes" where the whole family is involved with training though at my school.

    One of Roxy's group lessons was after one of these classes. The children were very loud, all over the place. I know this is how children are, but I for one, would not be pleased AT ALL if children came to either Roxy or Hades obedience classes.

    Both of them are far beyond "pet family training" and while I do think, that children would be a great distraction, while practicing, every lesson, I wouldn't want our training time to be interrupted.

    So, personally, NO, I would be very upset if dog owners brought their children to class. BUT it has never happened, and I doubt that it ever would. THe type of classes my dogs are in, are with "serious" dog trainers/show people.

    I do think that trainers should have a variety of classes though as my trainer does.

    Classes that do involve the whole family, for "family pets".
     
  16. StillandSilent

    StillandSilent New Member

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    I was Lilly's primary trainer for both basic and advanced obedienceat 11. I attended all classes and handled her for the entire time. However, I was mature enough to listin to the trainer. There was another girl there the same age who spent her time running around distracting the dogs and the trainer. Depends more on the kid I guess.
     
  17. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    Well-behaved, focused children I welcome. Children that need leashes and harnesses of their own are urged to stay at home with a babysitter. I haven't set an age limit on classes yet, because there was one 6 year old who was all about the classes, and did better than her mother did at following directions. Plus I was training my first dog at the age of 10.

    There is a huge difference between distraction for the dog and distraction for the rest of the class.
     
  18. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

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    I think kids that are there to get the job done and understand are fine! Heck, I started training at 9 years old, and we beat everyone in the class in the final round :D.
    It really depends on the kid.

    ~Tucker
     
  19. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    I love seeing children learn and interact with their dogs in a happy, learning, appropriate way. However it is frustrating and distracting when parents bring their 3/4yr olds (and younger) to class... because it's not developmentally appropriate to expect a child of this age to sit still and be quiet for an hour. Some children are more 'mature' and can do it, but most this age simply don't have the attention span. That's when they get bored, and find something to do that is either distracting to the dog, getting underfoot of the handlers, or downright annoying. It irritates me when parents are training the dog and yelling at they're children for messing around or complaining they're bored, tired, hungry, want to go home (lol). This is when the kids are brought simply because there's no one else to watch them, because no one is encouraging them to learn/work with the dogs. It's pointless

    On the other hand, older children are often very good handlers; they don't have to be 'un-learned' of training methods adults have grown up used to using. You probably won't see more enthusiastic, open minded handler than an older child who's totally into what their doing :D
     
  20. Vylula

    Vylula New Member

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    I don't think young children should be allowed in the training class. I think my puppy would have done much better if the distraction of children wasn't there. It is up to the parents of these kids to "train" the kids at home with what they have learned in class. One thing that really bothered me during Obedience class is during play time, the kids would always want to hold my puppy and wouldn't let her down to play. I felt like I spent more time telling the kids to let the puppy down to play than monitoring my dog with the other dogs. Just my opinion.....

    Vy
     

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