“Dogs in the City” better than expected
I didn’t tune in to the first couple of episodes of “Dogs in the City.”
Another “Dog Whisperer” ripoff, I assumed; another show that makes transforming a poorly behaving dog appear, through the wonders of editing, magical and instantaneous. Then there was the pretty boy star of the CBS show — far too good looking to have been hired for his dog training skills, I figured.
But, based on the episode that aired last week, I like it, and, so far, him.
Here’s why. Justin Silver, the New York City trainer who’s the star of the show, went straight to the core of the behavioral problems of the three dogs featured — humans, of course, in every case.
Last week’s episode looked at a young couple on the verge of marriage whose dogs didn’t get along, an overly rambunctious family golden doodle, and a lonely woman who complained that two of her dogs, dachschunds both, were manhandling her third, a pampered celebrity Yorkie.
In each case the solution boiled down to three words, or less:
To the doting Yorkie owner whose world revolves entirely around her dogs, “Get a life.”
To the woman who saw her husband’s pit bulls as threatening to her Chihuahua — when actually it was the Chihuahua who was doing all the threatening – ”Chill out.”
And to the husband who encouraged rough play between his two young children and the golden doodle, “You’re an ass.”
He didn’t put it quite that bluntly, but almost, suggesting the husband release his pent-up energies by joining an “over 40 basketball league” rather than allowing and encouraging his children to “play” with the dog in a manner that came across as both cruel and harassing.
True, they were simple, obvious anwers — the kind everyone can see, except maybe the dogs’ owners.
A dog raised with no rules, in a chaotic environment, is most likely to become a chaotic sort, as seemed the case with the golden doodle. Beings that are idle, hardly ever get outdoor exercise and lack any socialization, like the dachshunds, and prison inmates, are going to come up with their own forms of stimulation, appropriate or not. Nervous and fearful dogs most often have a nervous and fearful owner at the other end of the leash.
It was neither rocket science nor miracle working, and while such shows always make canine transormations appear more instant thay they really are, Silver seems adept at getting to the root of the problem, coming up with a plan to address it, and dispensing both brutal honesty and compassion along the way.
Silver explained to the Yorkie owner, who admitted to spending 99 percent of her time in the house, that her dogs were acting out because they got little exercise. Minus stimulation, they created their own, albeit it at the expense of the Yorkie who seemed humped, licked and bitten to no end. He insisted the dogs started getting some walks, and he took their owner to a meet-up group, where she and her dogs had a chance to socialize.
With the Chihuahua owner, it was clear from the start that she had issues with pit bulls — and thus her Chihuahua did, too. The Chihuahua was picking up on her nervousness, and growling and snarling at the mellow pair of pitties. Silver worked to put her at ease around her husband-to-be’s dogs.
And with the golden doodle, it was a mainly matter of teaching the husband and two children that their dog wasn’t a punching bag, and setting some boundaries — for the dog, and kids, and dad.
“Dogs in the City” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, cbs, chihuahuas, dachshunds, dog training, dogs, dogs in the city, golden doodles, justin silver, pets, pit bulls, problems, review, television, trainer, tv, yorkshire terrier