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Perfect Paws in 5 Days (DVD)
Perfect Paws Productions, 2007, Runtime 2 hours 35 minutes; $34.95

When all the pieces of a puzzle snap together, it’s a pleasure to behold. In this instance, the “puzzle” is the pet dog training DVD, Perfect Paws in 5 Days. The pieces include terrific production quality, jazzy dog-themed music and an engaging supporting cast cleverly bound together by Jean Donaldson, an upbeat and innovative dog training expert.

The DVD covers essential training commands: “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “come” and “watch me.” Jean’s entertaining chapter introductions teach dog training theory in small, interesting nuggets. After Jean demonstrates each exercise—assisted by her enthusiastic demo dog, Buffy—you join her and five dog-training teams for classes at the Perfect Paws training academy. With lavish praise and gentle corrections, Jean and her teams demonstrate the right, and wrong, way to practice each behavior. “Push, stick, drop” are among Jean’s unique cues to successful training; your dog will love her signature approach to teaching come/recall.
 
After mastering the basics in Lesson One, you move on Lesson Two, where you and your dog become more confident in your skills. In Lesson Three, Jean introduces the Zen of dog training, in which your pup must give up a treat to get it. Lesson Four raises the bar with training’s three Ds: Distance, Duration and Distractions. Finally, in Lesson Five, you learn how to develop your own training plan for future tricks and behaviors. For those who prefer to read rather than watch, the DVD offers 25-plus pages of lesson plans, a trainer glossary and “The Science (and Tools) Behind Dog Training.”

While this DVD is top-notch, it’s not perfect. First, the DVD menu lists the classes as Lessons One through Five, which doesn’t explain what they include. The extensive bonus material didn’t print from the DVD menu on either a Mac or a Windows PC, but was accessible directly from the disk on both platforms. Those small mechanical complaints aside, Perfect Paws in 5 Days highlights Jean’s original dog-training techniques. Let’s hope it’s the first in a series of equally creative DVDs covering other tricky training challenges.

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 48: May/Jun 2008
Jo Haraf competes in dog events in the San Francisco area and is working on a book showing how dog training and business management are more similar than you might think.
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