TV Dog Trainers Exposed

The Resource for Everything About Dogs


TV Dog Trainers Exposed

by Aidan Bindoff


Who could fail to be impressed by the extraordinary results of TV celebrity dog trainers? In minutes they can turn anxious, aggressive, "dominant" mutts into angelic pooches who never set a paw wrong... or can they?

The wonderful thing about television is it's value as an entertainment medium. TV producers (with some very limited exceptions) are not there to disseminate important information, they are there to sell advertising time or subscriptions. And nothing sells like a story of transformation that inspires hope, particularly if that story is about a beloved pet. It's something any pet-lover can relate to. Particularly if you are like the majority of pet owners and struggle with training, obedience and doggy manners.

As a dog trainer I am often amazed at the remarkable success stories I see on TV programs about dog training. In minutes, these gifted individuals can turn a problem dog (or dog owner) around. Sure, I've had a few remarkable success stories myself, but I know they are the exception, not the rule. Big changes to serious problems tend to take more time than TV producers allow for.

The truth is that TV producers will only show the best stories, and even then they won't show you the whole story. What gets left on the cutting room floor? Why do we rarely see follow-up? I know a local TV dog trainer has a string of unsuccessful cases that appeared to be successful on television. Those certainly haven't been followed up and aired!

I also know that it's easy to impress a client by asking their dog to do something very specific in a situation which sets that dog up for success. With a little knowledge and experience I don't tend to make the same mistakes my clients will make, yet even my own dogs are far from perfect. The real world sets us up to make a few mistakes along the way. A 5 minute slot on a highly edited TV program is about as far removed from the real world as possible.

So what can we believe about TV celebrity dog trainers? Everything - with a grain of salt. Watching your favourite dog trainer on television may entertain you, but it's value as an education medium is somewhat limited. Sure, remarkable success stories are possible. Experienced and knowledgeable trainers will get faster results than the general public. But the laws of learning do not change, and it pays to read, discuss and practise them. Getting your information from a multitude of sources would be a wise investment, as would seeking help from a competent 'real live' dog trainer if you have a dog behavior problem you need to solve.

Aidan Bindoff is Editor of http://www.PositivePetzine.com, a free resource for people training their own dog. Each edition is packed with helpful tips for training your dog using the latest pet-friendly methods that work fast and don't require a degree in animal behavior to use.

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