Sony Music // 2004 // 70 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 14th, 2005
Not to be confused with the animal rescue placement program for celebrities.
The popular "Dummies" series extends its reach into the digital world with this 70-minute guide to selecting and training the dog of your dreams. Hosted by Jenny Taylor, a so-called holistic veterinarian, the program will take you, the hopeful canine owner, through the various steps of raising your pooch.
The program kicks off with "selecting your dog," where we learn such helpful tidbits like "Dogs come in all shapes and sizes." This introductory stretch may prove to be helpful in selecting the appropriate size breed for people unfamiliar with dogs, though a lot of the pros and cons -- for example, large dogs are more durable, are more active, and take bigger dumps than smaller dogs -- seem to be geared toward folks completely ignorant about the existence of canines, for example, Martians.
We continue with basic dog maintenance, starting with puppy handling and rudimentary training techniques. This isn't a training program, so don't expect in-depth tactics to transform your nippy poodle into the best in show at the Westminster using this disc.
The most practical, and interesting info, that I gleaned from this disc is the section on house training. What element of dog ownership, besides intense shedding and maybe rabies, is more irritating than wanton urination and pooping on your dining room rug? Jenny Taylor offers some pragmatic tips on training your dog to either hold it or let the poop fly outdoors. For example, you'll learn how a crated dog will refuse to drop anchor in the same spot he sleeps, so crating your pooch will minimize desecration of your floors. And if you're unsure of how long to keep your dog in his crate, Taylor offer a complex formula to figure it out: however many months old your dog is, that's how many hours to keep the little darling crated. Again, not a supremely thorough handbook, but more of an introductory lesson to housetraining. Plus you'll get some good shopping advice when looking for cleaning products following the inevitable housetraining failure.
Finally, you'll get a handful of behavioral hints, like showing the dog who's boss without smacking it with a blunt instrument and learning how to walk it effectively.
Three bonus materials offer even more resources for choosing the ideal dog. "Sizing Up a Puppy's Personality" shows some little tests you can take with you into the puppy corral to determine if you're getting a fussy, friendly, or laid-back little guy. "Understanding Breed Types" is a text-only run-through of the physical and personality characteristics of a variety of breeds, and "Must-See Doggie Websites" provides a kennel-load of links.
The disc looks fine, with a clean full-frame transfer and a sufficient Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio track.
Overall, Dogs for Dummies is a nice little resource for the first-time dog owner. Advice is practical, if sometimes obvious, and the tips are helpful. Don't expect an advanced treatise on the intricacies of dog ownership and training, however; we're talking Cliffs Note here...or is it Clifford's Notes?
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Sony Music
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 70 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Sizing Up a Puppy's Personality
* Must-See Dog Websites
* Understanding Breed Types
* Website for Dummies