Policy on Children in Class

TCOTC encourages your whole family to participate in the enriching experience of training your dog.  The level of participation and amount of responsibility a child can accept is highly variable.  The following guidelines have been developed with the safety of children as the primary concern and to ensure both the handler and the dog benefit from our curriculum.

Youth ages 16 – 17

May enroll in obedience classes with written parental approval.

Children ages 12-15

Prior to the beginning of the class an instructor must evaluate children in this age group. Complete this form to request a youth handler evaluation. You will be contacted within seven days to schedule an evaluation.

Before you enroll you child please consider the following:

  • Your child’s age and maturity level
  • Your child’s interest in dog training
  • Your child’s attention span.
  • Your child’s physical ability to handle your dog
  • Your child’s ability to keep your dog from interacting with other people and dogs when necessary
  • TCOTC is not responsible for any injury to dog or handler.

The evaluating instructor will determine whether the class setting is appropriate for your child and recommend a class instructor. If your child is not ready for this responsibility, you will be asked to train your dog during the class session or for any remaining classes.

If your child is approved for obedience class participation, we ask that you, the parents, observe carefully from outside of the training ring and that you watch, listen and learn along with your child. You must be nearby during class time, should you need to take over or assist your child. We ask that parents help their child train at home between classes.

Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to train without a parent or legal guardian on the premises.

Children under the age of 12

  • Children in this age group are not allowed to handle a dog in obedience classes for the following reasons:
  • The risk of injury to children in this age group is too great.
  • The amount of information taught each week is often overwhelming for your children.
  • Instructors may not be able to provide the individual attention a child under 12 would need, due to the number of students in the class.
  • One hour class sessions are often too long for young children.

We recommend parents attend class and learn to train the family dog and then engage the child in training sessions at home. Children are welcome to observe classes outside of the training ring provided they are well behaved and under adult supervision.