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Razor & Tie presents

Dogs for Dummies (2004)

"As you take this unique journey together, you and your dog will learn to love and respect each other in a very special way."- Dr. Jenny Taylor, DVM

Stars: Dr. Jenny Taylor, DVM
Director: Carol Mathews

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:12m:12s
Release Date: 2005-08-16
Genre: educational

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ C+BC+ D


DVD Review

The purpose of Dogs for Dummies, hosted by veterinarian Dr. Jenny Taylor, is to acquaint those unfamiliar with dogs with the basic fundamental knowledge of owning a dog. I've owned dogs all my life (currently I have an English Springer spaniel and a Brittany spaniel) so it is difficult for me to judge how successful it is in this pursuit. The material covered here is very basic, as one might expect from the video's title.

Dr. Taylor's guided tour is broken into six sections, consisting of how to select a dog or puppy, the pangs of housetraining, and tips on how to enrich your relationship with your pet. Topics range from simple lessons on how to teach your dog to sit to how to clean up pet stains. Many different products are discussed for cleaning up stains during potty training, though I doubt most dog owners (dummies or otherwise) will bother buying a black light in order to scour every inch of their carpet. Other areas of discussion range from how to decide what kind of dog is best for you, based on activity levels and the size of your living quarters. Even the rationale behind neutering and spaying is outlined. Much of what Dr. Taylor covers will come across as common sense even to people who have limited experience with dogs. However, the video hammers home the point that people who buy a puppy need to be willing to spend time training and raising him, treating him as a family member—something new dog owners might not fully appreciate.

From an aesthetic standpoint, Dogs for Dummies is on par with all the other household instruction videos you've likely seen. The main reason for watching this DVD, as opposed to reading its printed counterpart, seems most likely to be an excuse to see dogs play around, so I wish there had been more of that. Those rascally devils are always at their best when they misbehave and roughhouse with one another. This is a typical video lesson and it doesn't surprise or disappoint in that regard.

The ultimate question about Dogs for Dummies is whether it succeeds at educating someone on how to buy, train, and live with a dog. To be sure, Dr. Taylor mentions the advantages of larger dogs and smaller dogs and briefly touches upon fundamental training commands. My suggestion is that a potential dog owner is should talk to a friend who owns a dog for more detailed information.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: The 1.33:1 image transfer is rather dull, though this is due to the source material. The flat video image is harsh and colors are of no greater quality than anything shot with a consumer mini-DV camera. Yet none of this can be held against the transfer. It's not a nice image, but it's as good as you could expect.

Image Transfer Grade: B

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Stereo 2.0 mix is crisp and clean, with only a few occasions in which Dr. Taylor's voice is too loud and causes a bit of audio distortion (though this is likely attributable to the original recording). The music occupies the surround speakers when played in Pro Logic, but there's no dynamic interaction in the mix. Everything stays put, with no sound separation or directionality.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+ 

Disc Extras

Animated menu
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Must-See Doggie Web Sitesa list of different websites containing a variety of information about dogs.
  2. Understanding Breed Typesa list of different groups of dogs and what their personality types are.
Extras Review: The brief featurette, Sizing Up a Puppy's Personality (01m:42s) contains a cute puppy and gives some detailed information about how to determine a puppy's personality when you go to pick one out of a litter. This should be of use to people who are not familiar with the process, but usually a reputable breeder will tell you exactly the same thing when you're at the site anyway. There's also a list of 25 "Must-See Doggie Web Sites." The DVD does not offer any link to them when you put it in your computer, so you'll have to access them separately. Finally, Understanding Breed Types gives a written introduction to the seven main groups of dogs and lists a few specific breeds of each group.

Extras Grade: D

Final Comments

If you're contemplating buying a canine pet, then Dogs for Dummies could theoretically be of value to you. However, a long chat with a breeder or dog owner is more likely to assist you in your decision. Regarding your decision to buy a dog: make it a spaniel.

Nate Meyers 2005-08-24