Why You Should Never Train a Dog Like You See on TV | There are more than 43 million pet owners in the U.S., and together they own about 70 million dogs! This statistic wasn’t lost on television networks, which set about producing a variety of shows aimed at “helping” pet owners train their dogs. Instead of leaning to local pet trainers, who are both trained and experienced in handling and teaching dogs, many dog owners instead turn to the advice doled out by popular shows like Dog Whisperer, It’s Me or the Dog, Good Dog U, and Celebrity Dog School.
While each of the stars of these shows has their own techniques, theories, and qualifications, it’s important to understand that these shows are more “reality show” entertainment than actual dog training. In fact, the shows all come with their own disclaimers, stating in one way or another, not to try these techniques at home, especially without the guidance of a dog training professional.
What’s wrong with trying to use the techniques we see used with such incredible success with the likes of Cesar Millan and Victoria Stilwell on their shows? Well, like any reality show, what you see on screen is a very abbreviated, and not at all accurate, picture of the overall process.
For example, these professionals begin a 30-minute show with a dog experiencing sometimes serious behavioral problems — biting, food guarding, excessive barking, fear, and even outright dangerous aggression. At the end of half an hour, the dog and its family are seemingly in blissful happiness, all the deep-rooted issues all but disappeared.
In reality, countless hours, spent by knowledgeable and experienced professionals, went into any changes you see. It takes months or longer to achieve real progress when significant behavioral issues are present. And there are instances in which dogs are never fully able to overcome serious issues that were rooted in them since puppyhood. The time, expertise, and effort involved in the changes are grotesquely underplayed, while the results are often overblown, at the least. If you listen carefully, even the TV stars sometimes admit they worked with the animals for weeks, sometimes months, to bring about any progress.
Like all reality shows, when it comes down to it, you’re seeing anything but true reality.
It’s impossible, even for a regular viewer paying close attention, to get the full scope of what went into the training and behavioral changes. Again, each of these TV dog experts comes from different ideologies — some placing more emphasis on the owner’s behaviors than the dog’s. Others focusing more on environment or feeding routines or socialization than on actual “dog training”. Some of these TV “experts” have even fallen under harsh criticism from animal activist groups, who claim their techniques are cruel and abusive.
Before you get reported to the police for animal cruelty, it’s important to know that no harsh treatment, certainly no abuse, is at all necessary to train a dog and foster good behavior. Even owners whose pets are experiencing behavioral issues can relax knowing that a good dog trainer can help their pet learn to “be a good boy” without hitting, dominating, or denying affection. But it does take a trainer who is himself or herself trained in the act of dog training, and an owner who is willing to bring their dog to training regularly and learn what they can do to help their dog become a better member of society, or at least the family.
There are several types of training to choose from. You can go to a seminar and learn the basics, which you can then apply your interactions with your dog at home. Or, you can bring your pet to regular sessions with a trainer who can both teach the dog good behavior and help the owner learn the best way to handle the dog. For those who want the ultimate dog training experience, doggie camps immerse the dog in a wholesome training environment for several weeks. The dog learns to obey common commands, socialize with people and other animals, and to overcome any bad habits he picked up before. These doggie “resort” camps are ideal for new puppies just learning the ropes, as well as for rescue dogs or those who have developed some unhealthy ways of coping.
At Just Happy Hounds, we love ’em like you do, bad habits and all AND we make sit happen! We believe that underneath every grumpy dog is a loving, happy, healthy pup just dying to get out. We help them find the best inner-dog they can be.
Contact Just Happy Hounds to schedule the ideal dog training option for you and your beloved pet today!
Just Happy Hounds, LLC – Midtown located at 2222 5th Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35233
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