Newbie Question - Multiple Handlers? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie Question - Multiple Handlers?

In brief - is it possible to have multiple handlers (such as family members) for a dog in Schutzhund? Or would it confuse or lessen the bond that is needed for this sport?

I'm asking as my son (12 yrs old) is interested in Schutzhund for our new pup. I'm willing as well, but am also aware that a fair bit of the training will fall on my shoulders as well as my son's.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 10:03 PM
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If you are just doing the sport for "fun" I would think as long as you are both consistant in the methods, it won't screw up the pup. But if you join a club, I would go with their suggestions. Personally, I would get my son his own dog to work and I'd work my own.
This would be beneficial as he would be more commited and proud when he sees the progress he and his dog make as a team.
Has your son watched

That may encourage him all the more! This link may be another way to learn for him:

Kept by
Gambit zu Treuen Handen

Guinness auf der Marquis...Karlo son!

Always in my heart
Karlo aka Gideon vom Wildhaus
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Last edited by onyx'girl; 07-16-2010 at 10:07 PM. Reason: added link
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 10:39 PM
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There should be a primary handler who will be the one to trial the dog and do most of the training. The "leader" if you will because when you are training your dog there are SO many subtle body cues you give that can mess the dog up. Maybe when you say sit you give a slight head nod, but your son doesn't...without the head nod (which you might not have known you are doing) the dog doesn't sit because it incorporates that as part of the command. Actually funny thing we were working through the other day with motion exercises, Anka would sit sometimes and not others, when we really looked at it we noticed that she would do a beautiful sit in motion only when DH was looking at her. Without the look she didn't sit. He'd been looking at her for so long that for her it became part of the command. Generally the dog will perform the behaviors best with the one who taught it the behavior.

However, that said, DH and I switch handling on our dogs sometimes. He's generally better with the obedience and I like the tracking. While we are each primary handlers on our dogs...we will start things with each others dogs so they are primed. For example...I've been having trouble with the stand on DH did it for me. Once he was started on the cues and showed me how to do it I could start working it for myself. Anka was having trouble with her articles and slightly too in tune with her I took her for tracking for awhile to work on straightening it out.

As long as you are on the same page and consistent, if your dog is good it shouldn't make too much difference.

Bianka vom Eisernen Loewen IPO3, CGC, TC 1-3-08
Cade vom Eisernen Loewen IPO1, CGC 3-25-09
D'Artagnan (Tag) vom Eisernen Loewen BH 2-2-10
G Aiko von Burkndeiros SchH 3, IPO3, FH, TC, KKL2 9-17-02 (Retired)

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 09:25 AM
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I think it depends on the dog. I think ALL dogs need a primary handler. Whether or not a dog will work at the same level for someone else depends on the dog. My Nikon absolutely will not work the same way for anyone else. When he was younger it didn't matter as much, my TD would often take the leash and demonstrate something for me and it usually looked better than me, lol. But now that everything is so much farther along and more polished, it just doesn't work with anyone else, not even my husband. Also he will not take corrections from other people. But, we have one older, titled dog in our club that once you play with him a bit, he will pretty much work like you could enter a trial the next day for any handler as long as you give the commands correctly.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 05:27 PM
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I have known quite a few dogs that did fine with 2 experienced handler/trainers. But I would not recommend that a dog have *two* inexperienced handlers (twice the mistakes?).
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