Fact or Fiction: Debunking the dog myths

Like humans, dogs have certain needs that you must fulfill for them to be balanced and well-rounded.

NOTE:  This workshop is no longer occurring.

by Guest Blogger Joshua Spiert

Like humans, dogs have certain needs that you must fulfill for them to be balanced and well-rounded.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the classic theory explaining the multiple levels of human needs, says that utilitarian needs must come first.  Physical needs like food, water, and shelter take precedence over the mental and emotional ones.  If you can’t eat, nothing else matters.

Once these necessities have been met, however, the more abstract needs become much more important.  This fact holds for our canine companions as well.  Your dog probably gets enough food and has a good roof over its head, but if it doesn’t get any fulfillment after that, it cannot be a truly happy, balanced dog.  That’s where Acme’s unique program, Fact or Fiction (formerly called Doggie 101), can help many dog owners.

Fact or Fiction focuses on helping people understand why their dog acts a certain way and seeks to inform owners of the most up-to-date techniques for improving all aspects of the dog’s life. It’s a great class for new dog owners, owners with children, or people who are just getting a dog after being without one for years.

The class offers tidbits of knowledge that may be difficult to find otherwise.  “It lets owner in on things that are not something you’d probably read in a book,” says owner Laura Pakis.  It’s designed in part as a sort of “Myth Busters” class.  The trainer will bring owners up to speed by correcting old, widely-held ideas on dog training and behavior in the sessions.

Fact or Fiction is unique among Acme and other training facilities classes in that the dog is not actually required even to be present.  This isn’t a normal lesson where you bring your dog in and work on one or two specific commands for an hour.  Rather, in this class, you come in (dog or no dog) and learn one-on-one with a trainer about a wide swath of information concerning a certain aspect of your dog’s life.

There are four sessions that each focus on separate parts of a dog’s life.  They include those utilitarian needs like nutrition and health but include ways for owners to improve their dog’s quality of life and fulfillment.  This differs from most programs, which build upon the previous classes.  With Fact or Fiction, you can come to all the classes, some of them, or even just one particular aspect that you think sounds useful or interesting.

The first session is called “Nourished Dog.” This class teaches how to understand better the best ways to make sure your dog gets the best nutrition.  “People don’t always know the details about reading food labels.  It can lead to having a healthier dog,” says Laura. Participants of this class will learn, among other things, why some simpler, natural food can be healthier for their dog than high-tech, high-priced, chemically synthesized food.

The next session is “Athletic Dog” and is geared toward keeping your dog physically and mentally stimulated.  Obviously, dogs need to be physically stimulated to stay healthy, but many people do not take the time to keep their minds at work.  A lot of games and puzzles can do the trick quite well.  Deciding the best way to keep a dog challenged all depends on each dog’s personality.

The third session is “Handsome Dog.”  This is exactly what it sounds like.  Here you learn the most effective ways of trimming nails, brushing teeth, and grooming the rest of your dog’s body.  The trainers also show owners some useful secrets, such as gauge your dog’s health by checking its nails.

The final session is “Healthy Dog.”  This one is designed to provide owners with great ways to keep their dogs in top shape.  Trainers go over ways to perform examinations and detect signs that your dog may need to see a veterinarian.

These revolving Monday evening classes are usually kept to six or fewer, but families are always welcome to come to learn and benefit as well.  The cost is $100 for all four classes or $35 per individual class.   Fact or Fiction goes past the usual lessons about specific obedience or commands and offers more classroom settings.  It gives owners a chance to actually gain in-depth knowledge that can help their dogs become happier, healthier, and more well-rounded.