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Discussion Starter #1
I've got two (human) kids, ages almost 11 and almost 13...we're getting a new puppy later this year and I wondered about getting them involved in training with the new addition. When we got our first GSDS, my children were still in diapers, so having them participate in classes wasn't an option.

What do y'all think? Is 11/12 too young? Should I go to class solely, then teach what I've learned to the rest of the family?
 

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I think it is a perfect age! especially for pre teens........You may even find one of them has a real passion for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Betsy,

My 10 yr old daughter has been doing as much research on this pup as I have!
I came home from work the other day to find that she'd signed on to the internet using my account and sent one of the breeders we're looking at an email saying how excited she was, etc., etc., etc. I'm hopeful that all the information she's learning now will help her when she's an adult looking for her first dog, regardless of breed.

Thankfully, the breeder took it all in stride (huge kudos). I think my daughter would disown me if I didn't keep her involved, but I just wasn't sure if she was too young to be an active participant in the classes. I bet a lot depends on who's providing the training, too - another thing to ask as I make phone calls to prospective facilities.
 

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I think it depends on the kid, I only have one of my own (tons of nieces and nephews), and she was involved with animals since she could walk, a real affinity with them too brought home animals she rescued all the time (she once brought a lizard home when she was 6 because she said it was pregnant....yeah right, I'll be darned if I didnt wake up the next morning to baby lizards....I had not even know then that lizards could give live birth....uncanny), my step-daughter has no interest at all, other than to pet them when they are being "good". I dont think its too young especially since she has shown such an interest....you never know, she could weasel a pup of her very own out of you in a couple of years **wink**
 

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They are absolutely not too young. Age is unimportant as long as they have the desire! You cannot FORCE it on them. If they have no desire, just leave it be. But since one has the desire, get her as involved as she want's to be.

I started doing dog 4-H when I was 9. I got my first registered GSD when I was 12. I did obedience and protection training with her. And showed her in our club trials in obedience and protection. I did ALL of the handling and training of this dog from the time I got her at 7 weeks. That includes practicing at home EVERYDAY, and going to classes and club practices 3 times a week!
When I was 13, the trainer gave he his Standard Schnauzer. She was already obedience trained and had been shown in 4 fun matches. She got 3 scores of 200!! (For those that don't know, 200 is a perfect score) I showed in AKC obedience with her. We even took High In Trail with a 198 1/2. At another trial we won the class with a 198 1/2 but were only second High In Trail.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. The point is, YES, get your daughter involved. Being involved with dogs also keeps kids out of trouble!
 

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Excellent idea IF the kids are interested. 4-H starts even younger so your youngest isn't too young.

If both kids showed a huge interest in training then it would probably work best if all three of you go to the class, but you do all the training in the class. Nothing more confusing to a dog than to have 3 people giving it commands at a time. They can listen, watch and learn. If one of the kids shows more interest and the other is only mildly interested, maybe let the one handle the pup in class. It depends on the kids if this can work. In one of our classes there is a couple with 4 kids. I noticed that 2 of the kids really watched and listened during the class. One was too young and he fidgeted a lot and the other played games and paid no attention at all.
 

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If they are really serious about it, why not.
But I haven't had the best experience, after my daughter -after some time- didn't take it all too serious anymore and had basically ruined alot of commands and I had to start all over again.
 

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If they are into it I would bring them to the training classes so they can also learn from the trainer and not mistakenly "ruin" commands. I'm not sure how other facilities work, but at ours, the entire family is welcome as long as the kids behave. The trainer often uses kids as helpers (for crowds, teaching the dogs to sit for petting, desensitizing to visual distractions like cartwheels, etc).
 

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I started training when I was 14, so a little older, but I loved it.

When I was an instructor, I really enjoyed having kid handlers in my classes because - unlike some of my adult handlers - the kids really listened and actually followed advice. They also have good praise voices. As long as your instructor enjoys working with children and your children are into it, it can be great.

Also, I think it helps kids be enthusiastic when they actually get to demonstrate mastery of the techniques and show them off (and even correct!) their parents. Kids spend so much time being talked down to and told what to do and how to do it, feeling like they actually know MORE about something than some grown ups can be really nice for them.

Kids do especially well with clicker training and other force-free conceptual methods. It's new to many of their parents, so they get to be "experts" and it doesn't matter if the dogs are bigger or stronger than they are.

Clicker training can be a little tricky for some people but I don't find that teenagers at least have any more trouble mastering the timing than adults, and significantly less trouble than many.
 

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I think it's fantastic when children get involved with animals. It provides a much more wholesome hobby than many children might get involved in, teaches them responsibility, kindness, and can build their confidence. But of course, no kid should be forced into it. If they want to be involved though, by all means let them.

We have a 3yo girl who is an (un)official member of our SchH club. She's been in SchH pretty much since birth and comes to most training sessions. She shows confidence, self control and wisdom around animals that is far beyond her years. She loves being involved, knows when it's ok to pet the dogs and when it's not, understands to stay to the sidelines while training is going on, even helps us set up and take down equipment for training, and at only 3 I think she understands more about how to work with dogs than many adults I've known. I fully expect to see her trialing one of her mom's older SchH dogs in a few years.
 

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Never too young. My daughter is 3 and jumps right in the middle of my working with Morgan. Her twin brother - not at all interested- he always sits and helps himself to the flatmeat container!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the link - really enjoyed the pictures and I'm going to try the techniques with my male, Zeus!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Jenn...I think my son will be like yours. He's interested, but not too interested... and not just with training the pup, but with almost everything - the life of a pre-teen rearing it's ugly head!!
I'm getting more and more afraid of the teen years....

If I can keep my daughter involved in training, at least we'll have ONE thing to keep us together while she goes through puberty!
 

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Originally Posted By: MaxGunnarTry as I might and no matter how much ice cream I promised I could not get them to wear a bite sleeve
Well that was mighty narrow minded of them.


I was helping be a "helper" as a teenager. Thou only with a couple of the police K9s. Afterall, there ARE teenages criminals, as well as "girl" criminals. So having a teenaged girl that was willing, was a good way to find out wether or not the dogs had an aversion to biting a "youngster" or a girl.
 
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