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We are going to be getting a lab puppy this summer, and I would love for my 7yr old to be her trainer at the puppy obedience class. I will be there too, but would like for him to be the one giving her commands.
Has anyone on here ever had experience with kids training their dogs?
Thanks!
 

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She is probably too young to be the handler in class. 7 year olds often require different delivery of instructions than other class members. Most instructors won't allow it. I would take the class and then teach my 7 year old to handle at home.
 

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It Really does depend on the instructor. I work at a kennel and we've had a young girl (No older then 10) Come in with there parents and their Huge Newf puppy to doobedience. Was quite the site to see the little girl handling the dog but its something she will have with her the rest of her life. Clearly, The parents have to put the work into the puppy aswell in order for this to work out.

I would call around and talk to the trainers and see if any are willing to let your kid work with the dog as well.
 

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It depends entirely on the maturity of your 7 year old. When I was 9 I was the trainer at puppy classes with Neeka and (my mother tells me) I handled it well. One of my parents was always present and often right beside me, but I was the one doing the training. I then did agility with Neeka when I was 10 or 11. I would say that you should ask the teacher of the obedience class what they think. They probably won't let your 7 year old be the main trainer, but they will probably let them accompany and if your child shows that they are competent and can do the training, the teacher might let them.

Personally, I think 7 is a bit young. I think they may have trouble following instructions intended for adults. However- it doesn't hurt to try.

Also, a lab puppy is going to be high energy and will get large and strong very quickly. Your 7 year old needs to be able to physically control your puppy.
 

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We don't have puppy classes available, but I do have a few kids and my 5 yr old is actually the best with the puppy! She is no nonsense and we started "training" the kids before the puppy arrived. The key with my little ones is treats, if the pup knows the small people are treat machines, she will sit so nicely and do what they say! While she jumps on my older kids who spend more time at school. If your 7 yr old is really into it, and can behave, it could be ok, but probably better to let him/her come and be there, but the adult be in charge. Sometimes the puppy is too excited to listen to a little voice like that, and kids tend to repeat cues over and over, also may not treat at the right time. I think a lot can be done at home, getting the whole family on the same page with training. Good lucky with a wiggly lab and your kiddo!
 

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I've had several youngsters in class and they listen and learn quicker than most adults. However, I've seldom seen a child under 9 or 10 who is mature enough to be the primary trainer. They can, of course help their parents. It's also a big question whether it is the child's idea or the parent's.
 

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We are going to be getting a lab puppy this summer, and I would love for my 7yr old to be her trainer at the puppy obedience class. I will be there too, but would like for him to be the one giving her commands.
Has anyone on here ever had experience with kids training their dogs?
Thanks!
Both 4H and AKC allow Junior Handlers at nine years or older. UKC allows younger (I believe five years old). Junior Handling requires more skill than basic obedience, so I would not see a problem with your seven year old handling a dog just based on his age, especially if you are there to step in as needed.

Obviously, it all depends on your son's maturity level and on the trainer you are going to use. Some trainers prefer not to have children in group classes. You should discuss this with the trainer you intend to work with.

Now for the bad news. Labs are not that easy to work with as puppies, and then they have an extended adolescence as well where they can be a real handful to control. Not aggressive, just over-exuberant. And they tend to be that way until they settle down, which for many of them isn't until two or older. Remember the book/movie "Marley and Me"? Well, not too far from real life with a Lab. If you've never had a Lab puppy, it's going to be an enlightening experience. I think just on the physical size of a seven year old and a Lab, she may simply be just too much dog for a small child. Not trying to discourage you - just being realistic.
 

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Now for the bad news. Labs are not that easy to work with as puppies, and then they have an extended adolescence as well where they can be a real handful to control. Not aggressive, just over-exuberant. And they tend to be that way until they settle down, which for many of them isn't until two or older. Remember the book/movie "Marley and Me"? Well, not too far from real life with a Lab. If you've never had a Lab puppy, it's going to be an enlightening experience. I think just on the physical size of a seven year old and a Lab, she may simply be just too much dog for a small child. Not trying to discourage you - just being realistic.
Is my lab a freak of nature? I got him at 5 months of age,his owner was getting ready to walk in the pound with him. He had lived his life with them on an Apt. balcony,no training at all. He was a wonderful puppy, he used a crate 2 days and he is almost 3yrs old now and has 1 accident in the house and that was my fault he wanted to go out,and I got busy and forgot about him he asked again and the phone rang. So he couldn't hold it,not his fault. He has never ever chewed anything,he doesn't jump,bark,bite,or spaz out. My daughter who is now 10 walked him on a leash at almost 8yrs old and he walked by her side like she was a grown adult. He learned his commands very quickly and I really wish I had the skills to get him his field or hunt title because I took classes with him and the trainer said he was a natural,I on the other hand don't think I'm best trainer for him,if he was with someone that had more training experience I really think he could get his title. His only down fall is he will eat every loaf of bread or anything bread related that he can get ahold of. I don't know why but he goes crazy for bread.
 

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I would say 7 is a bit young. Of course, you know your child best, but, as a teacher, my experience with the majority of 7 year olds is that their responses to any given situation will be those of a, well, 7 year old. For instance, lots of training is kind of subtle. And, trying to illicit certain behaviors, in the beginning, can take some creativity, even in a class situation. Of course, you would be there to give pointers and advice to your child. But, often times, if you aren't explicitly clear with dogs in training class, it's confusing to the puppy, and the end result is that it could take longer for the puppy to learn the task or behavior.
 

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Training wise josefina was a great puppy she was a breeze to house train, she never made a peep when she went in there, she only made a noise of she needed to use the restroom during the night. She also rode well in the car from day one & was always good on leash. She was just a very laid back puppy.

Like they say, having puppies is a crapshoot. :/
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Great points to consider! Thanks for your responses.

I thought the class would be a good learning experience for my son and would help bond him to our girl, in turn giving him confidence and a sense of responsibility. I think he would do good, but size/strength might be an issue. I don't want to go into it with him expecting to be the one training her, it not work out for one reason or another and my son become discouraged. I want to have realistic expectations. Also we live pretty far away from any puppy classes, so It is going to be a big (exciting) deal for us. I think first of all I'll talk to the trainer and see what they say, then I'll go from there. Thanks again!
 

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@momof3 - yes, your lab is a freak of nature :) At a minimum, most labs are chewing machines. However, there are always a few that get the mutated Calm genes that express early :) [I've even seen sweet and gentle Jack Russel Terriers... wish someone would find that Calm gene] :)

As far as training, keep training him whatever you can. I believe that the more you train, the easier it will be to train other things down the line... and you may eventually find someone who trains gun/hunting dogs.
 

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I'd see what the trainer says, and really prepare your child for what to expect with a group of puppies. We go to puppy playgroup with our trainer once a week, and there was a new puppy who came with its owner and her child who was probably about 7, and the poor kid was on the verge of tears the entire time, worrying his puppy would get hurt because of how the pups were wrasslin' around. (Didn't help that his pup was a total drama queen!!) I tried to explain that they were just playing, and kept a hand on my 12 lbs brute when it was rolling around with his little guy so I could grab him quick if it got too rough, but the kid kept asking if they could take the dog home because he didn't want him fighting. I felt really bad for him he was so anxious!
 
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