Your Questions: Is the information given on dog-training programmes correct?

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The Independent Online

Q. I love watching the various dog-training programmes on television, but I’m a bit concerned about some of the methods they use. Is the information they give correct and is it a good idea for people to try the training themselves? Caroline, via e-mail

A. At the beginning of all these TV programmes there is a disclaimer, so if you do try the training at home and it goes wrong the TV companies are covered. The good thing about these shows is that they make dog owners interested in training and aware that a problem that they might have with their dog can be dealt with.

In the early Eighties, one of the first dog-training shows was hosted by the notorious Barbara Woodhouse and many trainers of that era said that the day after her shows, they would be flooded with new clients. Be cautious when you see a method on television. What you see on TV will have been rehearsed beforehand, with many takes, but the impression likely to be given is that the pooch is immediately cured, which can be very dangerous.

Some of the trainers get very physical with the dogs, and if an owner tries to do this they can get hurt. Also, some of the equipment they use – ie. spray collars, water bottles and choke chains – should only be used by a specialist (I personally do not agree with using this type of equipment).

The thing to learn from these programmes is that you can do dog training, but it’s best to look for your local club, or a specialised trainer. Remember that any new training regime takes time and patience and you should consult an expert before starting out. To find out where your local dog-training club is, contact the Kennel Club (

Remember that if an animal shows signs |of distress or discomfort an early visit to the vet is always recommended