The Good, The Bad and the Expensive: Dog training fads, programs, and you

28 Apr

Let’s face it kids, the RDP are some gullible sons (mostly daughters) of bitches. 


We buy matching  leash and collar combinations for dogs who don’t care- and our outfits must coordinate too or the sky will collapse. We attend courses and seminars based upon the biggest training trends of the moment that don’t actually fix issues we really have. We spend thousands of dollars on books and DVDs destined to show us a better (More expensive) way to do things we’ve done pretty much the right way from the beginning thanks to those who’ve come before us… and we do it all with a grimace that if you squint could be considered a smile for someone giving birth to a bowling ball. It’s so common now, it’s expected- we are hardly immune but we think we lack some serious critical thinking skills when it comes to the consequences beyond just the financial with every new fad or program we toss at our ever-willing canines. So here’s a few things to consider before you shell out the big bucks to learn how to pet your own dog.


  1. What do I expect to improve by attending/participating/purchasing this?Achieve

All the courses and DVDs in the world cannot change basic facts of any scenario. They cannot make up for a bad match, a bad temperament (Dog or owner) or a bad attitude. They mostly can’t give you practical experience, they can’t teach you know your dog better,  and they 100% absolutely do not make you an expert in anything. Sometimes you just need to face facts. Your dog is what it is, you are what you are and at a certain point you need to be okay with the fact that there is no magical cure or fast forward button. Buying the latest in harness/leash/collar/equipment won’t suddenly make your dog Lassie on a leash. Spending time with agility gurus is not going to get your Basset Hound to be the NAC any more than a 2 week online behavior course does makes you a professional trainer no matter what your PDF certificate says.


2 What’s the ripple effect going to look like?


So this is more for training your dog than yourself. It comes down to how well you know your dog and your dog’s proclivities. How will these approaches hit further down the line. If you have a dog who could be prone to obsessive behavior, looping or anxiety, teaching them crates are THE safe place from stress will be more hindrance than help. If you have a dog who is head-shy, maybe taking them somewhere to be hit with a soft flying projectile to the head isn’t the best move. Are you helping big issues or are you feeding smaller issues? Those smaller issues rapidly become big issues if you let them. Just because it’s worked for others doesn’t mean it’ll work for you and vice versa. Know when it’s starting to go off the rails and have an idea of how to reverse it if it does.



3. Am I really going to follow-through with this?



A weekend seminar is one thing, a multi-thousand dollar course is another. It’s the difference from volunteering at a church soup kitchen and joining Scientology. Why would you spend the cash if you weren’t prepared to go full Tom Cruise? If you’re not ready to jump on a couch with your PVC creation or your puppy checklist isn’t it in your best interest to learn about it before you flash out the big cash?



Really there’s something out there to suit every temperament and need, but be a smart consumer and more importantly, be a realist. Don’t put yourself on a trajectory you can’t pull out of without considering the full repercussions. Now we’re certainly not the types to crap on dog-fancy entrepreneurs- there are plenty of good ideas lodged in each new fad program, DVD series, my puppy will be more awesome than yours-type seminars etc, but don’t let the hype derail sense. You’re better than that- or at least pretend you are. 

Safety First! (Yes, weak- but also you’re welcome)


One Response to “The Good, The Bad and the Expensive: Dog training fads, programs, and you”

  1. mizpah1957 May 3, 2017 at 4:49 am #

    I might add there is no one magic treat that you can just wave in front of the dog which will always grab their attention and therefore eliminate training for a behavior problem.

    (Thank you. I almost sprayed the keyboard with coffee when I started the part about blame and gold eyelids.)

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