Can I Train My Dog Just Like They Do On TV?

Real Life vs. Reality TV

Have you seen the program  “The Biggest Loser”? It is a TV show where overweight people try to lose the most weight and win cash prizes.  The program depicts the competitors running, lifting, sweating, and pushing away from the dinner table, with each episode ending at a weigh-in to see what progress was made. Many of us can relate to them as they carefully consider everything they do and its impact on their goals.  No one would expect it to take less effort than they put in to get the amazing results they get.


So why do some people believe that dog training can be done in a single television episode?

Gone In 60 Seconds?

The reality is that good training takes work, time, a lot of consistency, and tons of commitment. As with any other program, it takes some effort to practice the behaviors to fluency in order to get the lofty results.

Some problems can be improved with only a few sessions, most training and behavior modifications take a lot of effort. You’ll see many TV dog training programs where very intense problems are “cured” in just a few minutes. But in the real world, long-term training and behavior problems are just not going to go away in minutes (or a trick of the camera)!

Dog With a Ball

Do Some Critical Thinking

Every TV dog training program has some good points and silly ones too. You’ll have to wade through and see what you can use from the show. Here are a few points to consider as you evaluate each episode:

Don’t Try This At Home.
If your TV dog-training program starts out with a disclaimer, watch out! Some TV trainers have skills that may not show through the airwaves, so you’re not going to be able to replicate their results at home. Do you feel comfortable doing it? Is it safe. If the people on TV are being bitten, this is NOT a technique you’ll want to try on your own.

One Size Does Not Fit All!
The same problem may have different causes, so you can’t assume that the miracle trick you observed on TV will work for your dog, and you can’t assume that the technique will be as effective as what you observed on the (edited) TV show. You don’t get that many ‘takes’ in real life.

Sounds of Silence.
As you watch the TV program, try turning off the sound so you’re not over influenced by the narration and dramatic music. Just watch the dogs. Do they seem willing participants in the process or are they stressed, frightened, or being hurt? Is the end result a happy, engaged, and friendly dog or has the dog just shut down and “given up?” You can make some better decisions about whether this method you’re watching is the one for you.


It’s All About Me!
People are amazed at how much their dog’s behavior is influenced by their own behavior. Watch your TV dog-training program carefully to see how much training the dog’s owners are getting. With proper instructions, whatever results are achieved can be maintained once the trainer has left and the credits roll. Embarrassing and reprimanding the humans doesn’t count, either! A good trainer or behavior consultant will educate the humans in a judgment-free environment without engendering guilt or other bad feelings.

There’s Some Good Stuff in There!
Most dogs don’t get enough exercise, so anything that gets us and our dogs to do more activities is a good thing.

Many dogs don’t have enough structure in their lives either, at least not in a way they can comprehend. When a dog doesn’t know where he belongs in your family, he will act out. Working with a trainer, you can understand how to communicate with your dog in a way that he understands.

Bulldog Training

Remember the TV shows are meant to be entertaining. Watching National Geographic Channel or PBS isn’t a good substitute for a solid education for you and your kids, and so it goes with TV dog training. Watch TV programs with a critical eye and make sure to discuss what you see with your dog trainer; you and your dog will be happy you did.

Posted with permission from the APDT site: http://www.apdt.com/


K9Katelynn Trains Dogs Valley Wide!

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