Too many trainers spoil the trick?


New Member
Hello all,

I've been a member of the academy for a little while and have very much enjoyed the forums, videos and training tips, but this is my first post.

I am getting a new Vizsla pup -- he will be 6 months old when I get him from the breeder on Jan 16. I want to do AKC obedience trials with him, but this is a whole new ballgame for me. I've trained some tricks and such before, but nothing too extreme.

My 8-year-old granddaughter will also be messing with the new pup and I know she'd love to teach some tricks. Is there any problem with letting more than one person teach different things and still having the dog be successful in Obedience trials?

Jean Cote

Staff member
I do not personally see any problems letting other members of the family train the dog, if anything, it will just create a stronger bond between them and the dog.

But you might want them to work on specific behaviors which are not part of your obedience trials, like tricks. I would start by teaching your granddaughter how to shape behaviors and let her the freedom that she wants to train anything, it would probably be best to start with simple things like touching objects with the nose or sitting up on a chair.


Experienced Member
exposure to kids will be critical for any dog if they are going to be around crowds. i do suggest that the kids use different verbal and/or hand cues than you do and teach different things at least until you establish what you need done precisely. a nice sit for obedience is very different from a floppy puppy sit for example so maybe reserve that for you for a while until he gets the right way.

AKC obedience the requirements are pretty strict and poisoning your cues with incorrectly delivered ones or heel in the wrong position will knock points off quickly. 8 years old is a good age where kids can appropriately interact too. know the work you'll need to do before your granddaughter embarks on any teaching so as not so short circuit it. your come is very important so don't train with the same word as the kids use because they can't as effectively re-enforce or understand the nuance esp at 6 mos he'll start testing limits soon. maybe they can say "here." obedience is fairly standard with commands so get them all down before instructing the kids with their commands.

I would be sure the kids know how to act around puppy and how to ignore a jumpy bitey puppy and never yell commands. the kids in our puppy kindergarten class were actually better at this than the adults. I strongly suggest getting into an interactive puppy play group with an AKC background that monitors the play and intervenes appropriately when puppies get to rough. take your grand daughter to as many classes as she enjoys. she'll learn a lot.

get into beginning puppy obedience class next and stay in class. don't wait until 4 mos when completely vaccinated. if you go to a school where vacs are required and stay out of dog parks and places unknown dogs have been your chances of diseases are less than the bad aspects of little socialization during those crucial weeks esp for a competing dog. Patricia McConnell explains this very well in her Puppy Primer. Short and cheap but great info and methods.

I would always supervise this training if I were you to be sure that puppy isn't worked to the point of boredom or distraction. i might reserve the clicker for you since timing is very important. she can do things like roll over and shake and targeting which are very different from your positional work. it is often confusing for a dog to have two handlers for the same command as I found in trading dogs at agility class with my husband. when we both stuck to the same dog our teamwork solidified.

If you are supervising you'll also be able to see if some part of your training breaks down where it may have occurred. I know my hubby lets the dogs run wide before going to potty box because they started doing this on our large patio and not going straight to the box and pottying on cue. I watched when I suspected and sure enough. I was able to stop this by making them wait at the door then releasing them and body blocking back to the box. When it's icy and snowy I want precision since they are service dogs and I can't physically go out and wrangle them if there are deer or elk or coyotes outside the fence. Just an easy example. Good luck and have fun :dogbiggrin:


New Member

I appreciate the responses. I'll probably just have her stick to the fun stuff, tricks and finding the remote and hide and seek -- save the obedience commands for me.

Maybe I'll let her try a kazoo instead of a clicker for her training.